Round 10 – Richmond v Essendon: Inevitability and non-inevitability


It’s Saturday afternoon. Gerard and Jake Niall are on the radio, talking continuity and contracts.

I am content. The calm before the inevitable storm at the ‘G’. The quiet before all hell breaks loose.

I am scrolling through the Almanac site. I find myself at Jack Banister’s article on last Saturday night and find myself at a loss.

How can you write after that? Most Tigers went for a stiff drink (or in my case, a rather strong cordial) after that abomination, but JB managed to find himself a computer and wrote.

That is amazing. Hats, or tired Tiger beanies, off. Hats off indeed.

But while I muse, talk on the radio inevitably finds its way to tonight. Richmondites worldwide await the capitulation. Jake Niall reckons there will be 90,000 at the MCG. Caty Price mentions the game’s importance.

Gerard Whateley, sneakily, joyfully: “last minute?”

“Hear that, Mr Anderson?” Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith whispers in my ear. “That is the sound of inevitability”.

Half time. The lead is a goal to Them.

Dad has called from the vicinity of Jolimont. He, and the footballing world it seems, aren’t exactly impressed with the final decision of the half.

Richmond haven’t kicked straight, belying their dominance. Josh Caddy has popped up, yet has kicked 1.3. Jack can’t kick straight. Shai Bolton is magnificent, Trent Cotchin is everywhere.

Yet, Brendan Goddard has leather poisoning and Dyson Heppell can’t stop accumulating. Yet, the Bombers lead.

I feel sick.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Shane Edwards’ songs of choice are on the telecast, and I find a calm thought in my whirlwind of emotions.

“Footy is a song to which we all can dance to”.

Oliver interrupts me with a single raised eyebrow and I turn hastily to the box.

Josh Caddy marks. And goals. Phew. And at the other end, Dave Astbury gets nervous on the goal-line, runs over the ball, and James Stewart gets a goal.

I wish to say something but I won’t. If anything, this deliberate behind thing will generate its fair share of debate.

Richmond are better, much better, but squander the football with malicious intent inside the 50m arc. Dusty and Cotch are having respective rippers, yet the Dons, doggedly, refuse the honourable loss. Zaharakis is always there. Young McGrath is exciting. Joe Daniher threatens, again and again, but can’t deliver.

And also – Shai Bolton is quick. And also – Todd Elton is not.

But still, the game is up and down. The Tigers are there, in it, but not there.

“Mr Anderson.”

Agent Smith is in our ears. The train is coming.

But Dusty snaps one and a game of football is still on. A potential top four spot awaits.

Final term and it’s three points to the infuriated maniacs at the Punt Road End. McDonald-Tipungwuti’s music is on, and though I’m not an Eminem fan I find comfort and quiet withLose Yourself.

“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

Don’t do it again Tigers. Let’s not do the time warp again.

The game is brilliant, with neither side giving an inch. Brandon Ellis has shown up after a two year hiatus, Alex Rance is Herculean but at the other end Michael Hurley has hands like vices and a will to win.

But heartbreak cannot be heartbreak unless you do it right. The Tiges work the game until it gets painfully close, painfully important.

My mother, who has seen this before – “be ready, boys, be ready.”

And yet Jack Riewoldt swings one home. The lead is a goal.

Hold the phones.

Some points. Some pain. Connor Menadue, somewhere in there, lays a tackle that has Richmondites sighing.

A sigh which acknowledges why the kid is here. Why he plays.

Toby Nankervis goals and marks at the other end and the clock hits zero and there is no score review and someone on the couch says “ah, we’ve won” but I don’t hear it because I’m rather excited and Dad’s on the phone from Jolimont and we’re happy again.

The Tiger train is a bastard of a thing – the inside is tatty, the seats are stained, the carriages haven’t seen a lick of paint since 1988 yet it still rolls along.


RICHMOND   4.4   6.9   9.12   11.15 (81)
ESSENDON   6.0   8.1   10.3     10.6 (66)

Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Edwards 2, Caddy 2, Lloyd, Elton, Martin, Ellis, Nankervis
Essendon: Daniher 3, Goddard 2, Fantasia, Heppell, Green, Stewart, Zaharakis

Richmond: Martin, Ellis, Cotchin, Rance, Grigg, Edwards, Bolton.
Essendon: Zaharakis, Hurley, Goddard, Heppell, McGrath, Merrett.


  1. Go TIges!

  2. JBanister says

    Haha, glad to get a mention Paddy.
    The release of tension was about as overdue as the rain in the last quarter. By God, we made hard work of it, though. Edwards was a huge tick and lots of decent little performances. Even Elton took a clean half-volley below his knees!

  3. rabid dog says

    Your thoughts on the DIABOLICAL ‘rushed behind’ free and the response from the AFL administration? Not heard such BS from them for at least 24 hours.

  4. Peter Warrington says

    i think that is one of the dumbest and worst decisions I have ever seen.

    I got a post deleted on the Guardian. I suggested the umpire was so stupid he should be playing for Richmond. I thought it was firm. but fair.

  5. John Butler says

    Paddy, I’m not sure most of what Richmond did inside 50 on Saturday night could be ascribed intent. But they got there in spite of themselves. And deserved it.


  6. E.regnans says

    You caught me with your portrayal of Mr Anderson, Paddy.
    Looming, threatening; displacing your ideas; rearranging what you thought was true.
    Seems entirely appropriate to come across him, awaiting the Richmond train.

    Who, then, is the One?

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