Round 12 – Richmond v Gold Coast: We want to believe

The small crowd that has turned up to the MCG today belies the fact that this one of the most important fixtures on the Richmond calendar. It’s one of the rare occasions when a kid-friendly time coincides with the confidence to make one of the most sacred promises an aunt can make: we will sing the song at the end of the match. With this in mind, my nephew and I have brought my eight-year-old niece to the MCG to see the Tigers take on the Suns.

 

We find seats close to the Richmond race, and as Nick and Lexie position themselves to cheer the players onto the ground, I contemplate the meaning of life. What’s a good result from today’s match? A win, obviously. But what do the Richmond players need to bring to restore even a glimmer of hope to the Tiger faithful? Lexie will be happy with goals and has brought along a Tigers flag that her grandma found at a local op shop. But Nick, like me, wants to see promise for the future. We want to feel that, after the dismal first half of the season, things are looking up for the beleaguered Tigers. We want to believe.

 

We are not inspired. In the first half, apart from a few glimpses of what this team is capable of, the Richmond players seem afraid to take the game on. Their creativity is stifled by a fear of deviation from the game plan that Hardwick champions as the ‘Richmond way’ but no-one outside the inner sanctum actually understands. This robotic adherence to the team rules causes indecision that, in turn, causes the silly mistakes that make us despair for the future. Where are the sparks of brilliance that brought these players to the attention of the Richmond recruiters?

 

After a string of behinds in the second quarter, Martin goals after running nearly the whole length of the field to link up with team mates. Then, after a terrible miss from point-blank range by Riewoldt (who had not been allowed to play on after taking a mark), the half finishes with a flurry of goals from Cotchin, Delidio and Vickery. This is the Richmond we came to see. We go into the long break with what seems to be a healthy 16-point lead.

 

Half time brings warmth in the form of surprisingly un-soggy chips and an in-depth analysis of the extended family’s footy tipping competition. Lexie’s feeling quite chuffed that she was the only one to tip St Kilda over Carlton, and so far this round, Nick and I both caught up one on the competition leader.

 

After four straight goals to the Suns in the third quarter, Nick and I exchange worried looks. Surely the unthinkable can’t happen. Could our careful planning be all for naught? Will my sacred promise be broken? The only bright spot is Griffiths’ sensational mark and goal late in the quarter, but this is not enough to allay the feeling of impending doom.

 

The Suns are dominating with Ablett playing tirelessly and Lynch causing headaches for the Richmond backline, but half-way through the last quarter, Martin takes the game on and inspires the Richmond players and supporters as only he can. The three of us relax and revel in the moment. Nick and I channel our inner eight-year-old selves and celebrate goals with Lexie as if we were deep into September (whatever that feels like). The match ends and we sing the song – twice. It’s not quite the same as a win over a top-of-the-ladder side in front of a crowd three times as big, but for my niece, it’s all she wanted.

 

The stats that matter:

 

Flag-waving opportunities: 17

 

Renditions of the theme song: 3

 

Richmond                     4.2         8.7         9.9     17.12      (114)

Gold Coast                   3.2         6.3       11.7       15.7        (97)

 

Goals

Richmond: Edwards 3, Deledio 3, Martin 2, Lloyd 2, Griffiths 2, Vickery, Lambert, Hampson, Cotchin, Riewoldt

Gold Coast: Lynch 4, Wright 2, Davis 2, Sexton, Day, Rosa, Nicholls, May, Harbrow, Ablett

 

Best

Richmond: Martin, Cotchin, Edwards, Deledio

Gold Coast: Ablett, Lynch, Rischitelli

 

Crowd: 30,448

Votes: Martin (Richmond) 3, Ablett (Gold Coast) 2, Cotchin (Richmond) 1

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.

Comments

  1. Peter Warrington says:

    Good signs from Comca, Griffiths and grimes. Glimmers from Short and C Ellis

    Poor old b Ellis and batch. Chaplin for a day

    A win’s a win!

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