Round 11 – Richmond v Adelaide: Anywhere they roam

The Victorian Government has placed its citizens under house arrest again. We breached the terms of our parole by allowing the virus to sneak back into the state through South Australia. With our contact tracing scheme about as reliable as a Rolex bought from out the back of the Preston Market, we’re locked down again. I had been looking forward to sitting in our reserved seats at the Richmond-Adelaide match at the MCG. And this after a pleasant stroll up Punt Road with a diversion to admire Dusty’s mural in Alfred Street on the side of the corner store. It’s not often that we play the Crows in Melbourne.

 

After an inconsistent first ten rounds, with five wins and a percentage slightly below 100 temporarily marooning us in ninth place on the table, Dimma sees our evacuation from Victoria in a positive light.

 

‘It’s a good little breather for us to get away and reconnect pretty strongly.’

 

Despite some off-field dramas it’s history now that we probably handled our enforced exile of last season better than any other club, culminating in that memorable October night at the Gabba. The Tigers are bounding along the open highway again, far away from the familiar confines of their MCG lair.

 

In the words of those old road dogs, Metallica, in Anywhere I Roam:

 

Rover, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will
But I’ll take my time anywhere
Free to speak my mind anywhere
Never find anywhere
Anywhere I may roam
Where I lay my head is home.

 

Another game in front of the TV. This time we’re meeting the Crows at Giants Stadium in western Sydney. My son and I draw the blinds to ward off the afternoon winter sunshine so that we can see the images on the screen clearly. Adelaide are coming off a stirring win in which they overcame Melbourne by a point, the first team to quell the Demons in 2021.

 

It’s a landmark game for Richmond. For the first time ever, the Tigers field two players with hyphenated names. Riley Collier-Dawkins and Callum Coleman-Jones. And that’s without Derek Eggmolesse-Smith. Hybrid names are common now, but they weren’t when Arthur Barr-Kemp wore the sash in the forties. He avoided the confusion by dropping the first part of his surname.

 

Cotchin, Prestia and Bolton are welcome returns to the Richmond line-up. It’s Cotchin who scores the first major of the afternoon when he receives a high tackle. But the Crows surge to a four-goal lead with a searing run of five in fifteen minutes. The resurgent Taylor Walker is at his bullocking best, booting two goals and setting up another. The Crows score at will after seizing the ball at stoppages. Adelaide like to play with an attacking, risk-taking style and when it succeeds it works very well indeed. For a moment I contemplate the awful possibility that Richmond could go down today in a game I assumed they would win.

 

But in the second quarter the Tigers dial up the pressure and the needle crosses into the red zone. The young Crows unravel with a litany of errors, turnovers and blast kicks. Cotchin and Prestia are prominent and the Tigers pounce. Coleman-Jones marks and scores his first senior goal. In the dying seconds of the quarter he receives a free for a deliberate-out-of-bounds and his second out near the 50-metre arc elevates us to two-point lead at the main break.

 

The third term is a continuation of the second. Adelaide regain the lead briefly before Coleman-Jones returns it to the Tigers with his third. Chol leapfrogs over O’Brien at the centre bounces. Bolton capitalises with his trademark scorching runs and incisive kicks to forward targets. Young Ralphsmith, our very own Hugo A-Go-Go, scores twice from sharp angles as part of a withering six-goal burst and the Tigers surge to a 33-point lead at the final turn. It’s enough, I think.

 

I still believe it’s enough, despite the fact that the Crows take flight again, scoring the first four goals of the last stanza and closing to within nine points at the 17-minute mark. Enter Jumping Jack Riewoldt. Jack runs with the flight of the ball into the jaws of the advancing pack, leaps, rides Jason Castagna, swivels and somehow lands with the ball in his hands. It is simply breathtaking. He coolly converts, adds his fourth and fifth a short time later and through this superb individual effort, makes the game safe for the Tigers.

 

The Richmond scoreline has a refreshing newness to it with four to Coleman-Jones, two to Chol and a couple to Ralphsmith.

 

Next stop Perth for the Dreamtime at the ‘G against the Bombers, only the match will need to be rebranded as Dreamtime at that new stadium they built down by the Swan River.

 

 

 

RICHMOND    3.1    8.3    14.6    17.9      (111)
ADELAIDE     6.3    7.7     8.9     12.11     (83)

GOALS  
Richmond: Riewoldt 5, Coleman-Jones 4, Chol, Ralphsmith 2, Cotchin, Bolton, Graham, Martin,
Adelaide: Walker 4, Fogarty 3, O’Brien, Berry, Thilthorpe, Rowe, Scholl

BEST  
Richmond: Riewoldt, Short, Cotchin, Martin, Coleman-Jones, Broad
Adelaide: Keays, Sloane, Walker, Doedee, Laird, McHenry

 

Crowd: 4,236

 

 

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE

 

 

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