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Round 15 – Richmond v Sydney: A test from the Tigers

Richmond v Sydney

7:20PM, Thursday June 28

Docklands Stadium, Melbourne


End of Financial Year is the time for audits. That one week of the year when Janice from accounts storms to your desk, in her grey cardigan, 47 times demanding answers about your shoddy bookkeeping. Can the Swans pass an audit after their match with the reigning premiers tonight?


Fifty minutes before the bounce, as players casually warm-up tight hamstrings with casual 30 metre set shots, George Hewett is by himself doing tackling drills with Dean Cox. The lonely life of a tagger. This tells me the young man may be introducing himself to Dustin Martin tonight.


I’m sitting smack-bang in the middle of the Swans Cheer Squad. I established a long time ago that I am not cheer squad material. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Swans, and have done so for decades, yet at 40 years of age the concept of bringing a tambourine to the game or painting my face is simply not my go. That being said a bit of Red and White Dulux would do a good job covering my receding hairline. I’ll workshop this with Mrs D.


Before I even settle into my seat Ronke kicks the first two goals. The first a brilliant crumbing effort at full speed. Could we be in for another seven-goal masterclass?


Old mate next to me is a professional looking type in his early thirties. After the second Ronke goal he rises to his feet like a man possessed and unleashes a clapping display that has to be seen to be believed. Seriously, the seals at Melbourne Zoo don’t clap with this type of zest when the sardines are up for grabs.


Yep, it is a different type of experience sitting in the cheer squad. I’m beginning to get worried that someone will text that 0400 anti-social spectator number soon unless I join in the relentless chanting.


The Tigers work themselves into the game. They are well-drilled and Riewoldt is very clean with his hands early. A sickening injury to Conca holds up play for 10 minutes. The poor bugger looks to be in a lot of pain.


Early in the second quarter Aliir finds himself on Dustin Martin in the goal square. To my surprise there is no ‘touch and feel’ and Aliir is giving him a metre’s grace. Reg Grundy would be horrified! Aliir is obviously backing himself to close the gap or maybe even has the audacity to contemplate zoning off the reigning Brownlow Medallist! I only ever have that type confidence at 3am with a dozen or so under my belt. Good luck to the young man.


It is a tight and tough battle in the first half. Two quality teams slugging it out. Space is at a premium and under pressure some of our disposal is found wanting. The tackling practice is paying off for Hewett as he is doing a first-class job on Martin. Kennedy is his predictable self, standing firm in the face of anything thrown at him.


We are proving we can take the fight to the reigning premier. Unfortunately, we have a few players not quite measuring up to the high standard set tonight. It only takes a few to make the difference. The Tigers pounce on their mistakes and open up a 22 point lead late in the third quarter.


I used to like the ‘Old Richmond’. That team whose supporters would burn memberships and dump chicken poo outside Punt Road after a 12 game losing streak. Remember when Richo would entertain with 24 marks, yet kick 2.8? That good old team that would always finish ninth. I guess we had a good run with ‘Old Richmond’ from 1983 to 2017. Unfortunately, ‘New Richmond’ are ultimate professionals.


With the game slipping away we hold firm. Hayward and Franklin goal late in the third. At the start of the last quarter Kennedy puts the ball out in front of Franklin, who then superbly outmarks Rance and converts to get us back to only 4 points. We are proving tonight that we can play with the big boys this season.


Things are at a frenzy in Cheer Squad HQ. I narrowly miss being poked in the eye by a guy waving a massive flag that would cover the Opera House. Old mate next to me must surely have blisters by now given his clapping ferocity. When the lass in the row behind me rises to her feet in a fit of rage at one of Razor Ray’s questionable calls and somehow manages to upend her Diet Coke everywhere into our row I decide to get out for some fresh air.


I settle for watching the last 10 minutes from behind the seats. I told you I wasn’t Cheer Squad material.


With all the marbles up for grabs it is the Tigers who stand firm. Riewoldt is superb in the air and the stand out player on the ground. In a flash we are cut open and unable to throw a counterpunch. Some poor disposal under pressure has really cost us tonight. We have bravely held pace with the reigning premier for 95% of the game, yet, have found ourselves slightly off the pace, when it mattered most.


Ultimately, we have failed the audit from the reigning premier tonight. That being said we did take it up to them for most of the night and proved to ourselves that we can be competitive at our best. It is not a bad thing to fail an audit occasionally (unless it’s from the Australia Taxation Office), it is what you learn from it that counts. Let’s hope we have banked some knowledge in preparation for another meeting with the Tigers in September.


RICHMOND     6.1       7.2       11.5     14.9 (93)

SYDNEY          3.1       5.1       10.1     11.1 (67)

 Riewoldt 3, Lambert 3, Short 2, Butler 2, Rioli, Vlastuin, Caddy, Edwards
Sydney: Franklin 4, Ronke 2, Florent 2, Parker 2, Hayward

Richmond: Riewoldt, Edwards, Lambert, Vlastuin, Cotchin, Nankervis, Astbury
Sydney: Kennedy, Franklin, Hewett, Parker, Lloyd

Crowd: 43,519


About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Keiran Croker says

    We failed the audit. From my vantage point on Level 3 the Tigers ran, carried and used the ball much more cleanly then we did. We struggled to hit targets and choose the right option. A few of the younger players ( no names) struggled with the high pressure, as did a couple of senior players (no names) who are clearly struggling. Horse is very loyal to players, however I think a couple of changes are needed.

    Having said all that we got within a few points and there were a couple of two goal turnarounds due to turnovers. We will be better next time.

    Despite the loss, I had an enjoyable night chatting to Jack and his wife Judy, Swans supporters who were over from north west Tassie for the game. Lovely bloke!

  2. craig dodson says

    Yes we did KC. Depth is starting to catch up with us I think. Always nice when you end up sitting next to someone who can enhance the experience of watching the game. Big game tomorrow night..

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