Round 10 – Richmond v Essendon: Saturday is Chaos


If Sunday is the day of rest, Saturday is the day of chaos.


There are university deadlines to be met. The Brunswick HC boys will be looking to make it six wins from six games (heaven help my coaching career if we get stuck on five wins for as long as the Tigers).


And then I will have to watch Richmond. I am compelled to do this. After results so far this month, this compulsion possibly deserves some sort of Freudian examination, involving a couch. No such reckoning has taken place.


I spend the morning feigning productivity, an art I have perfected. The Age’s crossword stumps me (again). Officeworks charges me $15 to print 150 pages of uni reading. This is progress.


I plan the Brunswick line-up, cross out our late withdrawals, and prepare myself to crap on about pressure, intensity and ‘the importance of our basic skills’ for the mandatory five minutes.


It’s the 200th game of club stalwart Max Kermonde, who is five years my senior.


He scores twice. We win 4-2.


Champion Data has nothing on my army of ring-in statisticians. We turn the ball over in our defensive half 18 times. They turn it over 28 times. I am pleased.


For good measure, the reserves get up and win 2-1, absorbing the kitchen sink and a couple of cows in the process.


I Uber myself to the ‘G, feeling content.


At the Essendon-Richmond game in 2007, amidst a crowd of 95,000 people, my mother, Kate, managed to run into Kate Thomas, an old friend from our Frankston days.


Kate Thomas has a son called Jack, who was one of the four Jacks in my Grade 1 class at the prestigious Kingsley Park Primary School. Mother and son are staunch Bombers fans.


Some 15 years on, we’re all at the MCG, a pair of Jacks and a pair of Kates.


The chatter, of course, is largely about football. Both parties propose motions of no confidence – in our teams, in the true meaning of the word ‘deliberate’, in Joe Daniher’s left foot, in Todd Elton, and in the heavens, which have been ready to burst for a while.


The fate of each of the four Jacks is discussed. There is some sadness that Messrs Burley and Dungan are unable to vouch for themselves.


Soon, we’re at it again, doing Tigerish things. Six minutes played. Three goals behind. This is Tigerish, if results so far in May are anything to go by.


Just as I start to ponder chess clubs and bird watching societies as alternate hobbies, the Tigers wake up, though they still seem a touch flustered. I suspect they need coffee.


We claw our way into the lead, but then surrender it again. We do this time and time again.


This game is frustrating. Our goal kicking is disgraceful. The Bombers’ skills are, at times, poor. Ours aren’t much better. And then there’s the deliberate rushed behind call against Jayden Short.


Now, in every situation, if we’re going to pay deliberate, or ‘insufficient intent’, surely, surely, it should only be paid if both teams are actually trying to get the ball.


If someone pulls up, doesn’t tackle to get a free kick and then the ball is rushed, the rule should be written in a way that means the free-kick isn’t paid.


Likewise, if the ball is kicked 60 metres and someone shepherds it out of bounds rather than picking it up, surely, although they haven’t touched the ball, they’ve demonstrated no intent to keep the ball in and therefore should not be awarded a free-kick.


Is it that hard to find a way of wording the rule to stop these ugly situations?


Then again, there might just be something more frustrating. Restlessness seems to have gripped our bay. Every two minutes someone is floating up the aisle to get a beer. The objective is noble, but how hard is it to wait for a ball up? Etiquette, comrades!


Mother may be short, but when she’s angry, you don’t want to be in the vicinity. She finally cracks in the third quarter, after the fourth person leaves the row in front of us in the space of thirty seconds. She exclaims loudly. Everyone hears her. People now think twice before moving. People are wise.


Despite our weekly indiscretions of late, I’m always sure that Richmond will see this one home. I am at a loss to understand how I can so easily ignore the building volume of evidence that suggests otherwise. But I figure at some point, we just have to kick straight enough. We could win by sheer weight of behinds, if all else fails.


Ellis seems to finally have found his boots. Cotchin provides a challenge to Dusty for the Home Hardware ‘Don’t Argue’ of the Year award. But overall, it’s a very even effort, which is pleasing.


The heavens have opened, releasing six hours of pent up rain.


Big Nank unleashes a long bomb which sails through the middle, icing the game, and releasing four weeks of tension.


All is well with the world. It’s been too long.
RICHMOND   4.4   6.9   9.12   11.15 (81)
ESSENDON   6.0   8.1   10.3     10.6 (66)



3. B Ellis (Rich)

2. A Rance (Rich)

1. S Edwards (Rich)


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, Rance, Cotchin, Houli, Nankervis, Grigg
Essendon: Zaharakis, Goddard, Hurley, McGrath, Parish, Watson

Richmond: Nil
Essendon: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Stevic, Deboy

Official crowd: 85,656 at the MCG

About Jack Banister

Journalism student @ Melbourne Uni, Brunswick Hockey Club Men's Coach, tortured Tigers fan.

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