Round 10 – Richmond v Essendon: From Cork to the G


Richmond versus Essendon

7:25pm, Saturday 27 May
MCG, Melbourne

Tim Kemm

I’m high on the hill, looking over the bridge, to the emmmm seeeee geeeee. That’s Paul Kelly. Bloody Aussie legend. Kelly’s an Irish name though yeah? Maybe he’s a relation of yours. It’s not too much further. There are a lot of people aren’t there? It’s like a pilgrimage. Good thing the weather is pretty mild. I tell ya, you can’t get more Melbournian than this. Overcast autumn evening, and thousands of eager pilgrims, flocking to our local Colosseum to watch the football. The bloody football! I tell ya, it doesn’t get more Melbourne than that.

Hopeful yet riddled with doubt, dad and I were off to the footy. This time my girlfriend was accompanying us. She’s from Cork, Ireland and relatively unversed in the marvel that is Australian Rules football so I was keen to show her what all the fuss is about.

Dreamtime at the G, yeah they do it every year. Always the Bombers and the Tigers. It celebrates the contribution that Indigenous Australians have made to our game. It’s celebrated across the round, every club wears a special commemorative guernsey with Indigenous artwork on it. The best? I’d say Michael Long but of course I relentlessly biased. Farmer, Rioli, Wanganeen, Burgoyne. There have been some very famous names and some seriously talented players over the years.   

As an Essendon supporter it’s a great privilege to be involved in the Dreamtime game. Another great initiative of Sheedy, it’s incredible to see it grow over the years. The crowds outside the ground are immense and it was no surprise when the crackling loudspeaker informed us that the game was a sell out.

We’re right at the back, but don’t worry, there’s no such thing as a bad seat at the MCG. And hey, at least there’s no chance of anyone spilling beer on our heads. Yeah only once, but we were very apologetic. Quite a view eh? There’s gotta be at least 80,000 people here. Is that more than the population of Cork? Over half a million? You don’t say!

My eyes were now drawn to the coin toss and it was Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti representing the Bombers. Recruited as a rookie at age 22 he is now a walk-up selection on the senior list and one of the most exciting players of the competition.   

We kicked the first three goals in quick succession. Fantasia with agility, Daniher with accuracy and Goddard with class. For a few dizzying moments I basked in the warm, glowing fantasy that tonight would be a repeat performance of last week’s ten goal win against the Eagles. It wouldn’t last. Tigers responded with goals of their own and controlled the play for the rest of the quarter.

Nah we’re not playing very well. Too much bloody handballing to blokes under pressure. Tackles aren’t sticking, and we’re missing targets. It’s a fair dinkum miracle that we’re in front. Improve in the second half? Maybe…

We were very lucky to be in front at half time. Richmond had been fluffing their chances in front of goal and the Bombers’ hand and foot skills were very sloppy. The second half was largely played on Richmond’s terms. After three successive close defeats the Tigers looked determined not to make it a fourth and in the end ran away 15 point winners.

Racism? Yeah it was pretty bad. On and off the field. Nah it’s not completely gone. There are still incidents here and there. We’re not quite there yet. Nights like tonight are special though. I think we’re making progress.

The defeat left us at 5 wins and 5 losses, which I think is an accurate reflection of where the Bombers are at. Despite the ultimately disappointing performance there were positives to take away from the match. The improvement of our young players continues to encourage, particularly Andy McGrath, who amassed 26 disposals and played with poise in a defence that was under enormous pressure all night. It was a gloomy trudge back to Richmond station. I averted my eyes as we passed Punt Road Oval, which was doused in yellow and black.

They’ll pack us in like sardines. I usually don’t mind after a win, but I dread it after a loss. A fair chunk should clear out by the time we get to Camberwell , and then it’s only about twenty minutes til Mitcham.

We spent the trip home packed in like sardines. Dad and I debated where and why it all went wrong tonight. We spoke in hushed tones. The train cleared out by the time we got to Camberwell. Only twenty minutes until Mitcham. The Essendon Football Club had evened the ledger at 5 and 5. Only seven days until Greater Western Sydney.  

Richmond            4.4          6.9          9.12     11.15     (81)
Essendon             6.0          8.1           10.3     10.6     (66)

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

Richmond: Ellis, Martin, Cotchin, Houli, Rance
Essendon: Goddard, Zaharakis, Hurley

UMPIRES: Dalgleish, Stevic, Deboy

CROWD: 85,656

VOTES: Ellis (Rich) 3, Martin (Rich) 2, Zaharakis (Ess) 1

About Tim Kemm

25 years old. Red, black and nothing else. Masters Student at Australian National University, Canberra (where every week is an away game)

Leave a Comment