Round 16 – Gold Coast Suns v Richmond: The Tigerland Theme Park



When you travel to watch your team play outside Victoria you get the full immersive experience. My wife and I were waiting for our plane at Melbourne Airport on the day before Richmond took on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium. Our son texted to inform us that the Tiger contingent was about to board its flight north on a rival airline.


“That’s good,” I informed my wife. “We’ll catch them at Coolangatta.”


Sure enough, after we disembarked we spotted our heroes and their support staff waiting for their baggage at the carousel. There were already a number of travelling supporters taking selfies with their favourites.


Sydney Stack chatted animatedly to a group of teammates.  My wife waited for a break in their conversation before politely asking Sydney whether she could photograph him on her phone.


“Yeah, no worries,” he replied.


He gave an enthusiastic thumbs up and smiled for the photo. It’s still a novelty for the boy from the West. Damien Hardwick watched on with an amused expression. Sydney had been one of around five players in the cluster and the middle-aged fans had honed in on the exciting rookie.


The picture was duly texted home to our son with a ‘look who we ran into at the airport’ message. We picked up the hire car, crossed the border into New South Wales and drove to our accommodation at Cabarita Beach.


There were plenty of visiting Richmond fans in yellow and black at the Carrara Markets and the Pacific Fair shopping complex on the following morning.


It cost $20 to park the car at the golf club, which still leaves us with a 15-minute walk to Metricon Stadium. There’s only one designated crossing point for pedestrians outside the stadium on the busy Nerang-Broadbeach Road. It’s our first match at Metricon Stadium, although I took a stroll through what was then an undeveloped venue back in 2006 when we holidayed with the kids.


After making a promising start to the season, the Suns languish at the bottom of the ladder and have lost their last ten games. They have also suffered some narrow losses. I feel sorry for them, but  Richmond needs a serious percentage boost to ensure they finish as high as possible to give themselves a chance in September.


The weather is chilly with the forecast of rain. All of the beaches are closed to swimmers. We have general admission seats and sit in the back row behind the goals. This provides shelter for us under the ledge of the upper stand and the pillar at our backs shields us from the freezing wind.


Former Suns skipper Tom Lynch makes his return to Metricon in Richmond colours. He is interviewed In the Gold Coast Bulletin and says he is ready for any rough treatment dished out to him by disgruntled former teammates. You sense, however, that he is hoping for a friendlier reception. He takes a strong contested mark and kicks the first goal of the game. There is no abuse at all from the home fans.


Richmond launches a five-goal-to-nil blitz in the first nine minutes to set the tone for the afternoon. It’s as if the Tigers are playing the Mermaid Waters under-13s.  With Lynch adding a second and Castagna contributing three, the Tigers boot nine for the term and lead by 43 points at quarter time. They swarm all over their opponents, run hard to support each other and deliver the ball to leading targets. Cotchin, Prestia, Lambert, Martin, Edwards and Houli do as they please. They dominate the next quarter, Lambert adds three of his own and they streak to a mammoth 84-point break at half time. There’s no need to visit those cute tigers at Dreamworld. Metricon Stadium has become Tigerland Theme Park on the Gold Coast. We’re contemplating a rare triple-figure victory and a substantial renovation of our percentage.


But no-one in the AFL is that bad and it’s difficult for a team so far out in front to maintain that killing level of intensity for an entire game. Swallow, Witts, Weller and former Tiger Anthony Miles  provide a tiny spark for the Suns and they narrowly outscore the visitors in the third stanza.


You have to admire their spirit. Whenever the Suns score, disco music breaks out, the ground announcer triumphantly announces the goalkicker and a member of the cheer squad sounds his bugle. I know how deflating it can be to follow a team struggling to win.


I’m torn. There’s a McDonalds promotion coupon attached to the AFL Record promising a free Big Mac to the holder on the following day should the Suns finish with a score of ten goals or more. The percentage or the burger? In a first for Jason Castagna he brings up his fifth goal late in the game. The margin creeps out to 98 points until Miles scores before the siren to reduce the margin to 92, thus avoiding the indignity of a century defeat.


Gold Coast finish with nine goals only and I’m left with the healthier option for lunch tomorrow at the Byron Bay market. Richmond’s percentage receives a healthy boost as well.



GOLD COAST      2.1    3.1     7.2     9.4 (58)
RICHMOND        9.2   16.7   19.9   23.12 (150)


Gold Coast: MacPherson 2, Brodie, Witts, Swallow, Day, Weller, Martin, Miles
Richmond: Castagna 5, Lambert 3, Lynch 3, Cotchin 2, Bolton 2, Rioli 2, Chol, McIntosh, Prestia, Ellis, Stack, Soldo


Gold Coast: Witts, Joyce, Weller, Swallow, MacPherson
Richmond: Cotchin, Lambert, Castagna, Ellis, Bolton, Prestia, McIntosh


Gold Coast: Powell (knee)
Richmond: TBC


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Stephens, Whetton, Harris


Official crowd:  16,031 at Metricon Stadium



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  1. what a pity about the weather up there for an escape from Melbourne’s winter. We went last year (to see Jack kick 10) and it was a beautiful day. I really enjoyed the experience of visiting an interstate ground.

    I haven’t been to the footy much this year, but I finally got excited last week against St Kilda when we had the 7 inclusions to the team. I was equally excited watching the Gold Coast game on the TV this weekend. Maybe I’ll head to the ‘G this weekend.

  2. Thanks for the write up. Love it.

    I wanted to go myself as it would have been a good school holiday/ footy free weekend to go, but other commitments prevailed.

    Seems you got the Melbourne weather and we the mid winter Gold Coast temperatures.

    Next time.

    Instead I listened as I did some much needed ‘spring’ cleaning.

    Highlight of the game were Castagna’s five goals…Hopefully a massive percentage boost to his confidence in attacking the rest of this season with gusto (and accuracy in kicking).

    Go Tigers

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