Round 12 – Richmond v West Coast: Disposal Efficiency

My brother Paul is the rarest of Daley males. He doesn’t barrack for Richmond. He’s an Eagle. At one stage he was playing footy for Unley in South Australia. The original West Coast supporting, Country Victorian, South Australian footballer.
Paul, Dad and our sisters’ husbands came up for Friday night’s Tigers v. Eagles game. I met them at The Cricketer’s Arms In Richmond. Paul’s there standing out like the proverbial in his Eagles jumper. He’s with his Tiger mate Zac. Brother-in-law Nick is a Bomber but played for the Mirboo North Tigers, so Dad and I have claimed him. Our other brother-in-law, Jerry, is singing the Eagles theme song: in his American accent. Jerry is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. He’s just completed his second year long tour of Afghanistan. He’s used to leading five man teams on the streets of Kabul and Kandahar. But I’m not sure he knew the danger he was inviting with this Punt Road pantomime. We left for the game.
Jerry had taken me to see the Yankees play a few years back. I’d enjoyed it so much a couple of days later we’d ended up at a minor league game between the Kansas City T-Bones and the Winnipeg Goldeneyes. The T-Bones’ mascot was the pessimistically named Sizzle. The crowd gave a couple of lame “Sizzle, Sizzle” chants. We did the seventh innings stretch and Elvis impersonators got in two-for-one.
Paul and Nick had taken Jerry to watch Test cricket years ago and he’d promptly fallen asleep. So, wanting to make sure he stayed awake, and enjoyed a match day experience worthy of the Yankees and Sizzle, I’d bought tickets for my favourite seats. Level two behind the goals. Considering myself a bit of a student of the game I love the view that is afforded from sitting there. The modern game has all players on the move all the time. The maintenance of team structure is everything. Right from the first bounce we were privy to a West Coast master class in disciplined and hard running team footy. The Eagles’ brilliant execution of their zone had the game being played on their terms. It was made worse for me by sitting next to Paul.
At half time Jerry headed off to the loo. The bloke standing next to him at the urinal commented on the terrible disposal efficiency. Now Jerry knows Australians are competitive but this was ridiculous. The start of the second half brought a few quick Eagle goals in succession and they weren’t really troubled from there. The telling stats were West Coast’s twenty three marks from Richmond kicks, and three butchered bananas from the Tigers when drop punts would have done.
Nic Naitanui was the best player on the ground. Nic Nat’s stats don’t always capture his influence on the game. His strengths aren’t always apparent in raw numbers. What we don’t really measure, but that he possesses in spades are, body size and positioning, and speed. If he doesn’t win the ball himself there’s a Brownlow medallist waiting at his feet. He capped a great game with a couple of goals of his own.
On the weekend I went and watched Paul run around in the ressies for the North Warrnambool Eagles against the Warrnambool Blues. The Blues got up by seven points. In the seniors the first placed Blues beat third placed North by a point to remain undefeated.
Heading into the depths of winter there’s a lot of interesting footy ahead. In the cities, and in the towns.

P.S. I’m giving the most unnecessary free kick of the year award to umpire Shaun Ryan. Shaun and I used play junior cricket together. He’s a talented bloke and showed so when he caught the throw from Alex Rance with ease. Fifty Metres! Come on mate, old Jakes McDonald used to throw harder to us at training!

About Chris Daley

Tiger fan Chris Daley works in Community Nursing, which has taken him to Perth, Broome and now Dandenong. Being tall, he used to get a game in the ruck playing bush footy outside of Warrnambool.

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