Round 1 – Richmond v Carlton: Setting 2017 free

I’m not ready to let go of the 2017 season.


I’m not ready to let go of the summer of contentment. The summer when, out of the blue – while walking the dogs or while hanging out the washing – I’ll smile as I remember the glorious Saturday at the end of September when we won the flag. Contentment.


I hit pause during the grand final celebrations. I didn’t want to move on; instead, I wanted to stay in the moment for as long as possible. Unlike every other post-season, I didn’t care about the trade period or the draft. I wasn’t eagerly looking to see which players the Tigers would pick up to hopefully take us to the promised land of premiership glory. We’d already won that lottery with Nankervis, Prestia and Caddy joining the younger recruits, Rioli, Graham, Broad, Castagna, Butler and Townsend, who were yet to realise their potential.


Luckily, Richmond don’t have the likes of me in their inner sanctum. The players and the club can’t afford to dwell on last September. They have a new season to prepare for: new recruits to welcome to the club, a pre-season program to build on and a tough draw ahead. In my preparation for the new season, I watched the Tigers’ 2017 final series again over the weekend – in reverse order this time – to re-live the unlikeliest rampage towards premiership glory.


But despite all my efforts to hang on to 2017, I’m at the MCG on a warm March evening to see the premiership flag being raised. And it is now that I realise that hoisting the flag on an absurdly short flag pole is an act of setting 2017 free. Like a full stop at the end of a sentence, raising the flag brings an end to the previous season and welcomes the new. I’m ready now.


The last three times I’ve seen Richmond play have been in the company of 94,000 to 100,000 people, so a crowd of 90,000 here tonight seems normal. And at the beginning of the first quarter Dusty’s long kick into attack seems normal, but I’m not ready for the five goals in 11 minutes onslaught from Carlton. This subdues the predominately Tiger crowd and it’s not until Townsend and Riewoldt kick goals in quick succession that we are able to relax a little and catch our breath. A late goal to Townsend is met with a quick reply from Carlton and the Tigers go into the first break just nine points down.


But it’s not the resurgent Carlton, the sluggish Richmond or the over-zealous umpires that has the crowd talking at quarter time, it’s the horrible grey shorts that look like the result of rookie laundry room error of mixing lights and darks in a hot wash. The shorts, most likely the idea of a clueless marketing committee, draws ridicule from fans of both teams.


During the second and third quarters, neither team can pull ahead. Carlton are gifted a few goals from dodgy 50 metre penalties, and Richmond’s inaccuracy and Carlton’s accuracy in front of goal keep the scores closer than they should be. With nine more scoring shots, Richmond should be further ahead – but they’re not. Both teams have a case of the early-season fumbles, which frustrates both sets of supporters.


At the beginning of the fourth quarter, an early goal to Carlton gives them a two-point lead. Three behinds to Richmond makes us wonder if this is to be a hard lesson in the importance of accuracy in front of goal. But then Dusty goals and the rest of the Richmond players become buoyed by the roar of the crowd and begin to believe. Butler follows up with a goal and Townsend kicks another two to finally give the Tigers some breathing space. Richmond and Carlton each kick another two to finish the game with a 26-point win to the Tigers.


This wasn’t the easy win to the Tigers that many had predicted.


Carlton have clearly done a lot of work in the pre-season. And with Charlie Curnow and Wright both kicking five goals, Carlton’s new attacking style should keep their fans happy. The Tigers have shown that they intend to maintain their exciting attack and relentless pressure, and with a little more accuracy and fewer fumbles, we have a lot to look forward to. Bring on the rest of 2018.



Richmond        4.4       6.11     11.14     17.19     (121)
Carlton             6.1        8.3      12.4      15.5        (95)

Richmond: Townsend 4, Riewoldt 4, Butler 3, Caddy 3, Castagna 2, Martin
Carlton: C. Curnow 5, Wright 5, Garlett 2, Fisher, Casboult, Petrevski-Seton

Richmond: Martin, Rance, Cotchin, Caddy, Riewoldt, Butler, Astbury
Carlton: Cripps, Simpson, C. Curnow, Murphy, Wright, Marchbank

3 Cripps (Carlton); 2 Martin (Richmond); Rance (Richmond)

Crowd: 90,151


About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.


  1. John Butler says

    Gill, I think most non-Richmond fans are quite ready to leave 2017 behind.

    A matter of perspective, I suppose. :)

  2. Good effort by your Lads JB. We spotted you a five goal start and took on the maggots to boot. With a good draw you should feature in September. And that’s gotta be GFF.

    And Gill, let go of Season 2017 and embrace season 2018. As Scarlett O’Hara famously said — tomorrow is another day.

  3. I’ll let go of 2017, but boy it was a great summer.

  4. stve todorovic says

    Summed it up superbly, Gill. It was those sublime moments throughout late spring and early summer, where you would zone out of conversations and take yourself back to the G in September, with the tens of thousands of Tiger fans as your best mates. I had one of those moments when sitting on the beach at Merimbula in January. Wife, two daughters and friends all busy on the beach or in the water and me just smiling, as I looked out to sea. I had them when mowing the lawns on blisteringly hot days and when waiting in a long line at the local Woolies. Amazing how those memories and emotions just drown out all the other senses. A good thing I guess, as long as you’re not piloting a plane or abseiling off Mt Arapilies at the time.

    And that sense of calm and serenity pervaded our group on Thursday night when we were all back, nice and early, in N4 at the G. Despite being 5 goals down after a blink, nobody was too perturbed or upset. There was none of the trash talk of previous years where we’d have already written off the season….after 10 minutes of footy. In it’s place, borne of those glorious summer days of reminiscing and re-watching countless replays, was a faith and trust in a playing group who we’d seen handle much greater pressures than being 30 points down versus the Blues. And so it proved. They again didn’t let us down and I’m convinced that despite us losing the inevitable games this year, they won’t let us down easily, for a long time to come..

  5. Aaah, someone else who gets it :)

    You’re right about the lack of panic in the crowd when we were five goals down. We have hard evidence that we can trust the Tigers to handle the pressure.

  6. Stainless says

    Gill and others
    Agree with all the sentiments about the last six months, but I’m old enough to remember similar feelings in 1980/81 and I don’t want to revisit the letdown that occurred back then.

    I wasn’t too panicked after those first five goals but I’m prepared to admit to being bloody frustrated when we surrendered the lead early in the last quarter from yet another stupid 50m penalty. The strong finish left you thinking “why were we ever worried” but I can tell you from long experience that the “calm and serenity” will soon disappear if we keep putting out wasteful performances like that.

    If there’s a silver lining from this fairly slipshod performance it’s that Carlton fans will actually believe that they’re making progress. Take away the start, the goals we gifted them from penalties and our own wasteful finishing and we probably win the game by 70-80 points. Cripps and Curnow aside, they ain’t got much.

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