Round 16 – Inside Game Day with Jason Castagna

In answer to your question, no, being in the limelight doesn’t bother me. Before Saturday’s game against the Suns, Dimma asked me to present to the group. He’s doing this more and more now and I’m happy to help out. I’m in the small forwards leadership group and enjoying the challenge. I’m the only one that hasn’t been dropped this year. Dan Butler’s taken it hard but I haven’t let it affect our relationship.


So the first thing I did was show that goal from the 2017 GF (if you’re looking on You Tube, it’s at 7:26 of the 3rd qtr). “This is what we have to get back to boys,” I explained, deconstructing how I willed Dusty into the one-on-one spoil that led to him finding me loose for the historic snap that broke Adelaide’s heart and ended the 37-year drought. As a leader, I’m big on empowering the younger guys, so I called our debutante Derek Eggmolesse-Smith to the front. I handed Eggy a piece of paper and asked him to read the poem out loud:


In this city full of danger, we lead our separate lives
And I was frightened by a stranger, with desperation in her eyes.
Someone turned the pressure on,
I called your name and you were gone;
And I was trapped like a prisoner in this lonely town.
I’m gonna let things slide, until the pressure comes down.
Oh the winner tells his story, the loser hides in shame.
The winner steals the glory, while the loser takes the pain.


“What’s the connection?” I had them discuss in pairs. They were probably nervous – I know I can be an intimidating presence and it’s something I need to work on – which explains why no-one spoke up, so I spelt it out to them. “The Camus-like figure depicted in Farnham’s verse is the lonely Suns player. He is frightened and alone, far from home. He hates the town he’s stuck in. The perceived pressure terrifies him. He will soon ‘let things slide’ and adopt the mantle of the loser. That’s when we steal the glory and he takes the pain.” I had them now. I paused for a few seconds, Churchill-like, eye-balling each man, including Dusty and Stacky, who were sharing headphones and a Samsung up the back. “And we, boys, we tell our story … while the loser hides in shame!” You could have heard a pin drop.


Eggy told me later he was prepared to run through a brick wall after that speech. I think it struck a chord with Tommy Lynch too, who’s still de-institutionalising from his years up north. He marked strongly in the opening minute and kicked it into the fun park outside the ground where a couple of Suns supporters had assembled, already deciding the game wasn’t worth watching.


From there, I took it on myself to dominate the opening stanza and show that words mean nothing if you don’t back it up with elite performance. I think I kicked 3 and gave a couple off but I wasn’t counting. Eggy said I kicked a reverse banana from the boundary but to be honest it’s all a blur. I was just happy to make my teammates better. That’s why I took the foot off the gas in the middle of the game and just kicked two more percentage boosters in the last to ice the 90-point margin. It’s about sharing and connection.


Yes it was nice to hear the crowd chanting “Georgie!” but you don’t play for individual accolades. I’ve even told the umpires not to give me Brownlow votes which explains why I rarely poll strongly. I was recognised by the public once and it actually left me cold – a telemarketer of all people. I guess it comes with the territory but fans shouldn’t be calling at dinner time.


The next step is definitely a move into the midfield where I can use my game sense and ball magnetism to bring the Prestias, Lamberts and Cotchins into the play more. Dimma’s onto me about it but still wants me to tutor Dan, Shai, Stacky et al. up forward. Well, you can’t be everywhere but I’ll do whatever it takes to make us better. I hate the term ‘role player’ because it diminishes what the other guys do around me. I’m 15 off the Coleman which is causing a bit of chatter on community radio but I’m keeping a lid on it.


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: Castagna, Cotchin, Lambert, Ellis, Bolton, Prestia, McIntosh


Official crowd:  16,031 at Metricon Stadium


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



Failed to get drafted out the Wallsend Swans in the early 80s Newcastle league. Joyrider on the Richmond karma bus.


  1. Joe De Petro says

    Love this, Ben.

    As Georgie would say, “It is not a lie if you believe it.”

  2. Excellent and entertaining..

    The thougt of Dusty and Stack sharing headphones, love it.

  3. Michael Nichols says

    You nailed it, Ben. Weren’t we just crying out for the inner life of our most enigmatic small forward. And you know why it’s great writing? Disciplined, on point, completely cohesive. That is to say no Egg jokes, which I know must have been a challenge.

  4. Ben Fenton-Smith says

    Thank you. Avoiding egg puns took a lot of discipline – I’m so glad you noticed. Like a good Archibald portrait one must do justice to the subject.

Leave a Comment