Round 15: Carlton v Richmond – a day to forget

Mum and I have been tested a lot this year. Losing to the reigning wooden spooners, losing in the last minute against Port, travelling to the Gold Coast to witness a poor performance and worst of all, being thrashed by rivals Carlton, Essendon and St Kilda (Can’t wait till we play Collingwood).  Today may be our biggest test yet as supporters, as  the weather radar shows heavy rain, strong winds and a Richmond loss. I’m tipping many Tiger fans will settle for a delayed telecast from their homes.Our reserved seats are out in the open so we have no choice but to leave at twelve o’clock for the game. Undercover seats are going to be in high demand when the rain sets in.

We pick up mum’s friend Andy (Carlton) and her 13 year old daughter Zara (Richmond) along the way. Andy is all rugged up in jackets and beanies. Andy didn’t want to go today after she heard the forecast but Zara forced her to go with skillful use of the art of crying. It’s clear ‘fair weather ‘supporting that doesn’t  just get passed through by genes.

Zara’s arm is in a cast,and  she shows me that it’s been signed by Alex Rance. The inevitable then occurs. The three of them start discussing how ‘hot’ Rance is. After last week I’m sick of discussing players looks. I’m grateful mum can only distinguish players by their numbers so I don’t have to put up with it week in week out.

Mum drops us off outside the ‘G’ to find undercover seats while she finds a car park. I am  already  cold and I’m wearing three layers of clothing. On days like this I’m glad my Richmond jumper has sleeves.

We find seats undercover on the 50 metre line. The seats are pretty good, but I  don’t like having to sit in them for an hour in the freezing cold waiting for the game to start. Another problem with getting to the game early, is that the last time the two teams played against each other is played on the scoreboard. After that awful Thursday night I never wanted to watch that game again.

Mum arrives and I go to get food. Instead of eating the chips I just hold onto them. When the weather’s like this you need to do anything to stay warm.

Finally the umpires make there way out onto the ground.  I’ve been never been  so happy to see them. The Carlton banner is torn apart by the wind as the players run through it. “Good signs early,” mum says to me. The toss is won by Newman “Very good signs.” she says.The game starts with Judd taking the ball out of the middle and ends up with a Fisher goal. Looks like current form is the only telling sign.

Richmond respond quickly with a Deledio goal way outside fifty. I’m not sure if it’s terrific or pathetic that arguably our best player is 22 years old.

My most hated rule then comes into play and ends up with a Carlton goal. With Richmond in possesion on the goal line and clearly under pressure, the defenders (obviously confused about the rule) handballed to each other until being tackled and pinged for holding the ball. The players obviously still have no confidence that if they are under pressure and handball the ball through deliberately, the umpires will pay a rushed behind. I’m absolutely furious. I was hoping that the Richmond defence would be smart enough to understand the rule, obviously not.

My anger is soothed as Carlton do exaclty the same thing. While under pressure they choose to handball to each other instead of rushing the behind. As always, an attacking goal is a result of this stupid rule.

Both teams struggle with the wind. Carlton put together good runs, but the wind plays havoc with their kicks. Both teams supporters struggle too. Blankets are a neccesity for those out in the open. Fans aren’t as noisy today either. I think it’s because most people are standing up huddling near the bar. My other theory is that everybody knows that although Richmond may stick in  for a good while, Carlton will eventually run away with the game.

At quarter time the Tigers lead by a point. Fev’s struggled and is yet to kick a goal. I’m not sure whose stopping Fevola more, Thursfield or Fevola.The idea that Fevola is having a bad day is ruled out in the second term. Fev kicks four for the term. He’s terrific to watch – unless he’s against you. His fourth cements that he’s having a day out. While being tackled by ‘Thursty’ on the boundary line, Fev manages to get a kick away that dribbles in for a goal. When Fev starts kicking those sought of goals you know your in trouble.

Half time takes forever. It’s a harsh welcome back to Victroria after spending last week up at the Gold Coast. Fev kicks his fifth to start the quarter. If Carlton’s winning and Fev’s kicked five by early in the third ,  I think you can enforce the mercy rule. Richmond struggle to score ,while Fev continues to flourish. He kicks a goal over his head for his seventh. It’s party time for Carlton now.

Many Richmond fans head home after Fevola starts the  final quarter with another goal. Those fans miss a glimpse of the future as Morton shrugs a tackle bombing the ball into a contest with Vickery and Post getting involved  in a Tiger goal. The ‘dreadlocked draftee’ then takes another mark in a pack and finishes off nicely. It’s good to see we’ve finally got a key forward that converts(sorry Richo).

The Tigers continue to put good defensive pressure on Carlton. The Blues opt for Richmond’s handball-around-in-a-circle-until-we-get-tackled tactic that keeps Richmond in the game. With momentum all Richmond needs are two quick goals. This is shut down as (guess who) Fevola arrogantly strolls in to kick his ninth.

I havn’t shown a whole lot of sense today, getting to the game early and getting seats undercover even though it didnt rain, but I out trump this after the game. The four of us go have dinner in Lygon St and as I was only wearing shirts underneath I have no choice but to wear my Richmond jumper. Let’s forget this round and bring on North Melbourne. We’re a chance against them.

Carlton: 3.3  9.8  13.9  16.13 (109)

Richmond: 3.4  6.6  7.14  12.17 (89)


Carlton: Fevola, Judd, Carrazzo, Gibbs, Grigg

Richmond: Cousins, Jackson, Deledio, Riewoldt


Carlton: Fevola 9, Fisher, Betts, Gibbs, Murphy, Bentley, Carrazzo, Kreuzer

Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Nahas 2, Deledio 2, Vickery 2, Morton, Newman, King

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