Round 14 – Carlton v Richmond: Everyone is “Doing a Richmond” this weekend (except Richmond)

 

 

As Round 14 progressed, we Richmond fans were consigned to steadily growing more and more nervous. Everybody seemed to be “doing a Richmond.” Like an old-fashioned, weekend-long Charlton Heston festival on Channel Ten, the classics just kept coming, albeit with other teams in the starring roles in this series of disaster films.

 

As seems to be the norm now, the round began on a Thursday night. Hawthorn, a team in somewhat of a decline, had been struggling to find consistency all season. They opened proceedings with a mugging.  Lurking in a dark corner of Hindley St, they jumped their prey, threatened them at knife-point and ran away with all the wallets before anyone in Adelaide was any the wiser!

 

It is well-known that we Tiger fans are no strangers to abject capitulations, where defeat is seemingly wrenched still-born from the jaws of victory. Even we were unprepared for the way Essendon took it to a whole new level on Friday night. They seemed to be meandering along, four goals or so behind for most of the game before, out of nowhere, kicking seven goals in a row to re-awaken their fans and “win” before losing in the most inept manner possible. Not even Richmond could concede so much, so quickly, so late, so meekly.  Kudos, Essendon! The Agony and the Ecstasy indeed.

 

Saturday night came along and it happened again- not once but twice. This time North Melbourne, admittedly another serial offender in this genre, and West Coast were caught out, going down on the last kicks of the game. Why does this keep happening, we wondered, and what delight is in store for the Tigers on Sunday afternoon? Oh boy!

 

Richmond were to play the second last game of the round, following the Geelong vs Fremantle early game on Sunday. As the final few minutes of that game played out on the scoreboard at the MCG and on our phone screens, it appeared that BOTH teams were somehow determined to lose, Fremantle eventually going down in a shootout of points.  Strange days indeed.

 

As well as wrestling with all manner of inner demons, mental disintegrations and perverse Footy Gods, the poor old Tigers had to confront a Carlton team reinvigorated in recent weeks. The previously much-maligned Liam Jones, whipping boy of Carlton fans for so long, had returned in a new starring role as their poor-man’s Alex Rance. He had become the catalyst that sparked his team, inspiring them to consecutive wins.

 

Carlton opened briskly, seemingly keen on continuing the carnage and jagged the opening two snags of the game. Josh Caddy’s first quarter contribution was to set up the easiest of goals (for the opposition) with the worst kick under no pressure seen since… since… well, since before I knew that words could fail me.

 

When Bachar Houli, a scrupulously-clean player, belted an opponent behind the play, this was the final proof that this round was not being played on any planet in the known universe. For sure, we were now delving into Charlton Heston’s 1970s Science Fiction back catalogue.

 

Matthew Kreuzer was dominant in the ruck early, giving his team first use. However, once they were given the ball, his team-mates chose to take it across the ground, backwards and sideways, very, very carefully, without actually advancing it forward. If the Laws of the Game committee decide in the off-season that they will place mini-goals on each wing, put your money on Carlton for the flag, they will smash it! Fortunately, under the current rules, sideways football will only take a team so far.

 

As is their wont, the young Tigers settled into playing their unique style of crazed forward pressure, high tackle count, small man syndrome, belligerent football. They locked the ball into their forward fifty for most of the second and third quarters, for not much reward.  On the odd occasion that Carlton managed to escape, the real Alex Rance and his band of defensive deputies were there to bang it back in, time and again. Richmond’s paltry return during this period of dominance was four goals and ten behinds. Not enough to settle our nerves, that’s for sure!

 

The three quarter time break was an unpleasant one. This game had lacked inspiration to this point and, more concerning, the Tigers were not yet safe. The possibility of “doing an Essendon” was still prominent in all our thoughts.

 

Enter Dustin Martin, the Omega Man, the Greatest Show on Earth, Greatest Story Ever Told, the Ben-Hur of his generation. The final stanza of the game was a flurry of don’t-argues, a bevy of broken tackles, a clutter of well-weighted passes and a laundromat of mopping up the mistakes of team-mates. In thirty minutes of glorious football, he changed the fortunes of his team’s weekend, setting up goals, kicking sublimely, shattering Carlton’s hopes of disruption and entertaining the loyal crowd of 64,448.

 

Just give the man his wad of dollars, Tigers. You will not regret it if you do.

 

RICHMOND     3.3       5.10     7.13     11.18 (84)
CARLTON        4.1       4.2       6.6       8.10 (58)

 

GOALS
Richmond:
Riewoldt 3, Butler 2, Castagna 2, Ellis, Lambert, Bolton, Nankervis
Carlton: Casboult 2, Kreuzer 2, Wright, Thomas, C.Curnow, Cripps

BEST
Richmond:
Rance, Houli, Martin, Lambert, Castagna, Riewoldt
Carlton: Kreuzer, Cripps, Docherty, Gibbs, Casboult, Jones

INJURIES
Richmond:
Nil
Carlton: Lamb (concussion), Ed Curnow (knee), Plowman (calf)

Reports: Houli (Richmond) for striking Lamb (Carlton) in the first quarter

Umpires: Stevic, Williamson, McInerney

Official crowd: 64,448 at the MCG

About Joe De Petro

My favourite period in history began with the Summer of Love and came to a sad end with the birth of Disco. It was from 1967 to 1975. What was not to like in those days? The Grateful Dead, Creedence, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond and the mighty Tigers won Premierships every other year. It was a magical time, much like the current period in history.

Comments

  1. Thanks again Joe. I am enjoying your very fresh and creative takes on the fortunes of Richmond both here and at the Balcony Banter page with the MCC. https://www.mcc.org.au/whats-on/blogs Richmond, for all that she is and means, can draw a crowd.

  2. This is terrific Joe, lovely wordcraft and a fantastic result against Le Filthe

  3. Joe De Petro says

    Thanks, John and Chris. I’m really enjoying writing nonsense about footy. Glad you liked it.

  4. Jamie Mason says

    I spent the entire game twirling my nine year old’s fidget spinner. Summed up the emotions of the weekend brilliantly

  5. Stainless says

    Good work Joe. If only the Tigers could convert as efficiently and as entertainingly as you write!

  6. John Butler says

    Nice work Joe. Richmond saved from themselves by Carlton doing a Carlton, perhaps?

    I’m pushing strenuously for ‘Richmondy” to be officially recognised as an adjective in all the dictionaries. A potential word of the year?

    Cheers

  7. Joe De Petro says

    Thanks again guys.

    John, that word is already in most dictionaries,filed under ” cheap shots lacking in imagination.” Of course, I am quite partial to the odd cheap shot myself so all good.

  8. John Butler says

    Joe, if you win a flag, it will have an entirely different connotation. #createyourownreality

    :)

  9. I loved this piece Joe. I had half a thought to write a piece about other clubs trying to be Richmondy, but when I read this I knew I could come nowhere near your wit and cleverness. I completely agree that Richmond should do whatever they can to keep Dusty.

  10. Joe De Petro says

    Thanks for the kind words, Gill.

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