Round 14 – Richmond v Brisbane: 20 years ago today…

Twenty years ago I moved from Melbourne to just outside of Geelong. I’ve parked my car in Hawthorn not far from where I used to live all those years ago. I weigh up the advantages of walking to the G or catching the same tram I used to get to work (if I didn’t ride the bike). I reckon I can walk it from the Bridge Road bridge to the MCG in about 30 and there’s 35 minutes till the game starts. No point getting there too early anyway as there is no ‘reserves’ game – that must be more than 20 years ago.


There’s no tram coming so I just walk – the freeze of yesterday has turned into a pleasant sunny day to the point where I regret bringing a coat.


Brisk walking helps me to continue my reflection on the last 20 years. Two decades, things change, I’m older, my children are adults; the world is a far different place. Bridge Road is a far different place. Trendy cafes abound, with customers taking advantage of a big increase in culinary options; I never saw upmarket wedding dress shops or fine dress shops in the 1990’s. There’s even a couple of very nice looking suit shops. Alexanders on the corner of Church Street is long gone. Even the pubs have replaced their frontages with large glass windows to look more inviting.


I arrive just in time to see the first bounce from standing room. I notice a sticker from a bygone era on the railing: “Stop Hawthorn merger”. This must be about 20 years ago. Imagine the difference if the Melbourne Hawks had come about… I open the Footy Record and there is a big article on the 20 years since Fitzroy’s demise. Surely there is a theme developing here.


Brisbane, dressed in old Fitzroy are playing like old Fitzroy of 20 years ago. I attended the ‘Roys final Melbourne game – coincidentally against Richmond in 1996 when the Lions were beaten by well over 100 points. There were supporters crying in the stands that day, heads bowed, wondering what to do the next year without their club. Richmond are playing like, well, the Richmond of the last 20 years – periods of play that display great skills and wonderful teamwork followed by examples of woeful disposal and skills worse than in local football. Brisbane are not skilful enough to make the most of all of the Richmond errors so the Tigers hold sway for the majority of the afternoon. Supporters of both clubs feel like crying today as many of the errors in skill are frustrating.


In a sense, the least worst team won. Perhaps that undersells some of Richmond’s endeavour and some genuinely good play. The game as a contest appears to be over by quarter time, which is not something you can usually say about a Richmond win.


Both teams are where they should be on the ladder. Brisbane are really struggling – the endeavours of a few don’t make up for the lack of skill or footy nous of the majority. Richmond were good enough to beat an ordinary team but the turnovers within spitting distance of their opponent’s goal, the set shot misses from within 30 metres and the ability to make a certain goal into a free kick for the opposition would have been punished more severely by more serious finals aspirants/certainties.


Highlights of the game were ridiculous goals from Ty Vickery, which defied most laws of physics, and Sam Lloyd: each from opposite pockets at the Punt Road end. Jack Riewoldt’s endeavour, strong marking and goal kicking is key for the Tigers. The other major contributors are the old guard of Cotchin, Rance and Martin plus not so old of Vlastuin and Menadue. For Brisbane, Rockliff was solid but I did not recognise most of the newer brigade and Rich seems a shadow of his former self.


My final thoughts of the day are along the lines of how each club will be travelling in 2036.


Malarkey Votes:


3: Riewoldt 2: Martin 1: Vlastuin


RICHMOND 5.4 9.8 14.11 17.15 (117) BRISBANE LIONS 2.0 4.0 6.3 11.9 (75)


GOALS Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Edwards 2, Menadue 2, Lloyd 2, Vlastuin 2, Deledio, Cotchin, Vickery, Miles, Ellis Brisbane Lions: Hipwood 3, Taylor 2, Green, Walker, Schache, Jansen, Martin, Hanley


BEST Richmond: Martin, Riewoldt, Vlastuin, Menadue, Rance, Cotchin Brisbane Lions: Hipwood, Mayes, Rockliff, Jansen, Mathieson


Umpires:Fisher, Margetts, Dalgleish, Chamberlain


Official crowd:28,883 at the MCG

About Noel McPhee

Noel's background is in statistics including 13 years at the ABS. More recent employment has been at Deakin University. He enjoys working on the Census and elections. His weekly article, 'The Stats Bench' appears in the EFL's football record - The Eastern Footballer. Noel's legacy as a sportsman is that he tried hard; two cricket fielding trophies, a tennis premiership and boundary umpiring about 80 EFL senior games and a couple of underage grand finals.

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