Round 17- Richmond v Fremantle. And Red Hill v Pearsdale: Bad Kicking is Bad Football (usually).

Instead of heading to the MCG on Saturday afternoon I headed down the peninsula to see Red Hill take on Pearsdale. On old mate of mine, Staf, is facilitating the Premiership and Great Club Program at Red Hill. Saturday was one of the few occasions he was able to see play for the season and he invited me to come along for a look. It was to be the Hillmen live and then the Tigers on the telly.

It was a cold and windy day down at Red Hill. Cars ringed the boundary, raffles tickets were sold and the beers were at hypothermic temperatures. The netball courts were indoor, which is a rare treat in the country leagues.
I met the coach Tony Blackford before the game. A relaxed sort of bloke Blackers has coached three premierships across different leagues. As with every coach he was more worried about who was in than who was out, but it was pretty clear that the ‘outs’ were going to leave Red Hill a bit undersized.

When the Hillman ran out they looked young and light. Would they have the run and skill to win? When the game got underway I set about enjoying a day at the footy. This involved providing useless analysis of the match and exploring all the catering options the club provides. I bought a hotdog from the volunteers at the canteen. Staf had a hot dog too. Then he had the last of the steamed dimmies before I could get a look in. Nothing has changed. We wandered across to the other side of the ground to a sacred spot in country footy clubs – the can bar. The can bar can tell a lot about a club. How warm’s the fire? How cheap’s the beer? Do they sell stubby holders? How about the banter? I’m glad to report that Red Hill passed with flying colours. But the game itself wasn’t raising to any great heights. Country footy.

We watched the second half back in front of the clubrooms. We were the odd men out not dressed in Red Hill gear. Knowing country footy, it would have been a fair bet to say the people around us were the committee and sponsors. It’s also fair to say that the banter ran even hotter than over at the can bar. The 3/4 time scores of Red Hill 3.12.30 to Pearsdale 5.4.32 was evidence as to why.

The last quarter brought the usual insanity that arrives with a close game of footy. As the scoreboard showed the Hillman hadn’t taken all of their opportunities. The trend continued. Some players blazed away when better options were clear and available. Eventually the ball ended up in the hands Jake Mold, Moldy. I had a yarn to Moldy after the game. He was a young man with a bit going on and a bit on his mind. I’m happy to report one of the things on his mind was kicking the ball through the middle of the big sticks to put the Hillmen in front. A couple of minutes later 17 year old Danny Allsop, who had played in the Country Vic development during the week, capped a big week by kicking a right foot snap to secure the win. I thought Lachy Chandler with his repeated second and third efforts was the best player for Red Hill.

They ain’t too many better feelings in sport than inside the warm clubrooms of a country footy team that’s just had a good win. It was great to be in that environment but my eye was continually drawn to the big screen in the corner. The Tigers were in action at the G.

I took in the game from the clubhouse telly, the car radio and my phone before landing on the couch at halftime. The second half contained all the psychological distress of barracking for the Tiges. The last quarter in particular did me some real damage. Cotchin’s miss, the free kick paid against Rance allowing Pavlich to goal, and of course Houli’s kick in to the opposition, all allowing the game to slip away from the Tigers.

After the siren sounded Matthew Pavlich helped Richmond defender Dylan Grimes off the ground. Staf reckons it was a real show of respect from the Dockers’ skipper and a sign that the Tigers were being taken seriously around the league. I hope he’s right, but the journey from respect to dominance is a long one.

There is a poem written by American self-help guru Marianne Williamson called A Return to Love. The poem is often falsely attributed to Nelson Mandela which has made it more famous than it may otherwise have been. One line of the poem is It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. I wonder if this is the case with the Tigers. Is anyone ready to take responsibility for the madness that will happen if the Tigers ever really get it together?

Raffle ticket B53 didn’t win either.

About Chris Daley

Tiger fan Chris Daley works in Community Nursing, which has taken him to Perth, Broome and now Dandenong. Being tall, he used to get a game in the ruck playing bush footy outside of Warrnambool.


  1. Jen Costello says

    Well done Chris–very heartwarming article amidst…yes I’ll say it.. the Goods debacle!

    Reminds me very much of following my brothers Simon and Tony Costello in the Amateur A Grade University the 70’s

    Takes me back to days at the sidelines, tooting car horns ,watching the game as a 19 year old, cracking jokes with a couple of ratbag Uni Blacks player mates ( both now Victorian Judges) watching the games at the serene University Oval with its all enveloping Uni colleges ( especially loved the Gothic architecture of Ormond ) and I still remember the deep winter chill intensifying as the games went into their final quarter!

    My brother Simon delighted us many a time by his unique ability to kick the ball a bloody mile!! How we laughed and clapped when he hoisted it from CHB to full forward, When he performed this feat we used to yell..”H A R R Y EEEEEEEEE”( Harry is his nickname) The ’74 year was magic…. culminating in a glorious premiership!

    The lovely hot cuppa tea and scones provided by my mum and her dedicated friends at half time and then the free flowing beers bought via tickets in the “Pavi” post game…which slid down that much better after a hard fought win! As I was a struggling Melbourne Uni student at the time, I really appreciated the many occasions when a wad of said beer tickets were slipped into my pocket by the generous brother and brilliant Blacks full back Tony Costello! (BOG in premiership win)
    Those were the days…special…thanks Chris for the reminder

  2. Phil Hill says

    Beer bought via tickets tastes better than beer bought by cash. Medical fact, much researched

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