Round 1 – Richmond v Carlton: Following the Tiges in the gleam and cold shadow of Nature’s sensational Aurora Borealis




Richmond v Carlton Round 1 2020


Weather -4 C feels likes minus 10 C , a gentle chinook from the west across the Richardson mountains. It’s Wednesday 10-30pm and the light has just faded to black outside in the Fort McPherson Northwest Territories Western Arctic sky.


I’m in two minds whether to stay up or go to sleep in my little Arctic furnace heated place of single man bachelor slumber – I give in to the temptation and fall asleep – the game starts Thursday morning 2-20 am approx. I’ll be right!!


Still fast asleep at 3-15am – I wake up because my aurora alert of my Phone app wakes me _ I grab the tripod, my camera, quickly put my snow pants over my pyjamas and go to venture outside and just before I do I remember …Oh O … the Footy’s on – I try in vain to find the online app – you’ve got to register that’s right! Finally I find and click on the ABC squiggle.


And then clear as a digital bell despite the 12085 km distance to the closest part of Australia from where I am …
I hear the dulcet tones of Mark Cellars MacClure talking about how fast and agile the Richmond midfield have been and so clinical – “yes that’s Ok to hear that …. Mark but what about the score !!” I mutter under my breath.


And then he says that Richmond deserve to be up by six goals or so – “Ah that’s great” I think – time to go outside and take some photos of the once in a lifetime Northern Lights that I have only seen on about 7 times in 8 months – Unfortunately the Arctic snow laden cloud cover here smashes the hopes of many a night for seeing them.


Richmond will go on to win handsomely I say to myself as I Crunch through the snow to get my first shots  in the silence … so off I go and wonder at the view that is already on display in the sky all around me….


Because its not that cold only about minus 10 C I was able to spend at least almost an hour outside getting photos proudly wearing my Tiges jumper over my t shirt and bib and brace snow pants but taking my jacket off occasionally – incredible to think that this acclimatised Queenslander is doing this in such a temperature.


I come back inside to my digs expecting that the Richmond versus the young Blue pups “clinic” has continued and I even took a celebratory photograph in advance of hearing the final quarter. Now I need to say (as a supporter of some 50 years give or take a year) that the old Richmond supporter would never tempt fate, but we are talking about the “new” power house filled with a transformed culture and values led by Benny and Peggy and put into practice with the wisdom of Dimma.


“Carlton are only trailing by 16” when McGovern kicks the goal Allister Nicolson says “that Carlton has a sniff” .. “wait a minute” I think in my sleep deprived shiver …what happened while I was outside enjoying the astronomical marvel which is the Aurora Borealis in all its heavenly glory .. but before I can start to really panic that the old Tiger is again rearing its old Gold ( not Yellow) and Black head in a flash the great name and legacy that is Daniel Rioli literally runs through the Blues defence and streaks away to put the icing on the cake – Richmond win and the song booms out over a silent cold wet MCG. Richo keeping his 3m away from Jack apparently ( that’s what the radio guys said) when doing his usual on field post match interview.


Having experienced all of that I need to say in the midst of the global pandemic that is occurring that I think it is a very bad look that the AFL and the NRL are playing at all…it will only take one case of COVID 19 to just shut the whole thing down and sensibility will prevail…. and  I thought that these sports were and are cultural leaders of our proud modern Australia.


Richmond for all its rejuvenation has an even bigger statement to make here if it is bold and strong enough to set an example – yes, “we want to play Footy” says Dimma but at what cost?


Isn’t sport like art meant to imitate society not the other way ‘round.


Still the paradox is I’m glad we (the Tiges that is ) won and I have a photo shot ( see the low res shot ) for the ages that will probably end up as a canvas on my wall whenever I get home ( now that is another story but not for now).



RICHMOND    7.2     11.3     14.5     16.9 (105)
        2.1      3.5       8.7       12.9 (81) 


Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Castagna 3, Bolton 3, Rioli 3, Edwards, Martin, Prestia, Lambert
Carlton: Martin 4, Cuningham 2, Casboult 2, Silvagni 2, McGovern, Newnes


Prestia, Martin, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Edwards, Lambert
Martin, Cripps, Weitering, Docherty, Murphy


Richmond: Vlastuin (concussion)
Kreuzer (foot)


Reports: Nil





Check out my Arctic adventure on my website


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About Richard Marlow

a humble middle-years teacher in a “middle of the road” private school in Brisbane having being a pastor, a youth worker, a school chaplain, a bank johnnie – 3 different banks, worked in Jails, driven a cab and been in bands amongst other things.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Fantastic read Richard. I don’t know whether I could stand the cold for too long but to experience the Northern Lights as you have would warm the cockles of anyone’s heart!

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