Round 15 – Port Adelaide v Richmond: Going nowhere this year

By The Silver Bullet

At the start of Friday evening’s second stanza a drizzle started to descend upon the Adelaide Oval. It lasted long enough to also bring the curtain down on Richmond’s final aspirations.

 

In those 15 minutes Port kicked five goals and reversed their quarter time one goal deficit into a four goal lead that went on to become six before the Tigers had even registered a score for the term.

 

Indeed, Richmond did not enter their forward 50 for the first twenty minutes of that quarter; each time the ball was put aloft by the umpires, Port seized control of it and with long kicks pummeled and eventually punctured the Tiger defence.

 

Ironically, stand in ruckman Ivan Maric dominated the taps, indeed at the rate of two to one, only to see centre and general clearance stats go the other way by a similar proportion. Ironic also that this strong man, this quick fire iconic figure of the Punt Road faithful over recent seasons was such an underwhelming influence on his colleagues as well as the game in this rare but important 2016 appearance. Whatever desire and determination he may be summoning up and willing his body with this winter, the reality is that Ivan is yesterday’s man; his ungainly marking fails in the warm up replicated with precision in the fray.

 

Remarkably other than for this onslaught, the rest of the game was actually quite even – at least until the last 10 minutes or so. It said something for the Tigers resilience and reserves that they maintained such an effort in the light of such bad key stats, sustaining a poise and possession that numerically at least outshone their opponents. But none should conjure that as part of a belief that this result might have just been bad luck.

 

Richmond has played Port three times this year, including once in the pre-season. In each it has been manhandled without mercy; not even Dimma could get the game called off in that pre-season fixture when playing stocks were reduced to less than a full battalion. The impact of that game set the tone to the start of the Tiger season and the fact is it never improved; recent wins against the Dons and the Lions lacking a zeal that spoke to casting off those miserable losses in April to the likes of Collingwood and Melbourne.

 

In Round 6, the scores nearly exactly matched this game’s result. That Port, barely itself a mid field outfit, could complete that hat trick in that style suggests much thought is now required of the yellow and black brains trust.

 

Clearly Maric and Chaplin, its two moderately successful mid career recruits have passed their use by date. Query over whether Taylor Hunt has the real stuff and, as for stuff-ups, the Chris Yarran debacle will long rest in the craw of unsatisfied faithful. Queries must also hang over out-of-contract Ty Vickery who labours rather than laps up his role as a defender’s distraction for the magnificent Riewoldt. While Ben Griffiths, now sans his mercurial leaps thanks to increased bulk and incidence of injury, is yet to convince anyone he has what it takes either.

 

Mind you the Tiger game style doesn’t help them. Every time Richmond makes a break no one exists in position to lead up the ground to advance the foray. All possession is to be sustained by reversing runs, usually to the boundary, that require pin-point accuracy. No wonder then scores of less than ten goals populate half of the Tiger losses to date.

 

Throw in the issue of just how elite Cotchin really is as skipper and play maker and all up, that list of players alone makes obvious the problems Richmond has and the challenges ahead. A failure to remake this squad quickly could lead to many a year as under achievers after hopes seemed eternal following the past three seasons’ journeys into the finals.

 

As for Port, that sense that not all is right still lurks. Its form this season has been without consistency and often identity. A near precipitous decline in home game attendances this year (around 10-15% on the past two years) while not requiring anyone to unpack the infamous tarpaulins from Football Park (but neither should President Koch put them up for sale on eBay just yet), would also be of concern – are the fans on the hill also sensing something is amiss?

 

Whatever, the truth of this Round 15 clash, notwithstanding the decisive nature of the result, is that both these teams are going nowhere in 2016.  But now along with displaying the bruises to its players’ bodies and minds, Richmond at least (even if only til this Thursday evening) can go public about it.

Comments

  1. Rulebook says:

    The highlight of the night was people recognising the knackery S own,Jamie Mason via his write up on the Tigers website as the Richmond supporter of the week and selling the Silver Bullet a raffle kick for Down syndrome at the Queens Head it will be interesting to see how hard and fair dinkum the tiger rebuild is
    ( Jerk,Fos and A Lee aka B Robran at the head before the game a galaxy of stars )

  2. chrism76 says:

    Every team it seems has had a down turn in crowd numbers.

    Most concerning, but not surprisingly is the drop in numbers for Essendon, Richmond, Collingwood and hawthorn this year. All with at least 50,000 – 70,000 members yet less than half of those actually bother to turn up each week.

    It’s Adelaide Oval that has helped perhaps artificially inflate crowd numbers for the last 2 years with continued solid attendances.

  3. An unnervingly accurate summation Oh Bald One.
    At least play the tough nuts and mature agers with the kids from here to see what they have and bring out the broom for no less than 6 at seasons end.

  4. A fair summary indeed, I agree. Port cannot make claims of progress until we beat a top 8 team. We seem to me to have too many blokes who are physically smaller than their opponents when viewed thru my binoculars at the game anyway.

    Along with Rulebook, I see no need to be rid of Troy Chaplin, other teams need something to poke fun at. Indeed, along the lines of Swanee at Collywobbles, I would put him in charge of the club Twitter feed, he seems good on the text…

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Very incisive there Young. Hope you bought a round afterwards.

  6. Is this “The Silver Bullet” related to “Nasal Passages”? I detect a similarity. The Commentship seems familiar!

  7. Silver Bullet says:

    Damn that 6%, I’ve been sprung! To whom should accredit such a memory (and gall)?

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