Round 18 – Hawthorn v Richmond: Back in Yellow and Black

Hawthorn don’t get beaten. Point blank. If you beat Hawthorn in their current form, you sir, have earned yourself an extensive rap from fawning media. They haven’t got a great record against my Tigers in recent years, but after Houli’s “moment” last week (the tape has been cast into the Karmichael Hunt Goal file), Cap’n Cotch’s Chargers are expected to come out spitting fire.

The mindset of my Tiges is evident from before the bounce. Cotchin, criticised earlier in the year for his lack of aggression, has found Jakey King’s angry pills from the broom cupboard at Punt Road. And by the attitude of his mates, Cotch has shared said pills around. Every possession in the early part of the quarter is measured and accurate, and there’s 117 of them. It’s not often that the words “Hawthorn are finding it hard to get the ball” are put to print. Martin gathers the ball with ease and uses it with a cool head. The game is akin to watching the reclusive kid at school get the first few belts in while fighting with the schoolyard bully. These “unsociable” Hawks are being stood up to. They don’t like it too much, either. Each one of Deledio’s three goals is welcomed by a throaty and gruff roar from Dad, Ollie and me. Mum purses her lips and tends to the grumpy cat. Neither have seen scenes like this before.

Our boys are nine foot tall and growing. These Tigers are getting their wisdom teeth. But alas, Hawthorn is a team that is not easily rattled. Jack slots one before the Hawks grind their teeth, square their shoulders, and belt through four in a row, Gunston two. The Hawthorn muscle is beginning to clench around the struggling Tigers. But still, McIntosh snaps an improbable goal to regain the lead (to much confessing of wanting to have his children), and Bruce is growling “Miles” instead of “Cyyyrrril” due to the Tiger’s contested ball work. Ivvy is smacking and belting the ball like a bear slapping salmon out of water, Cotch is precise and Vlossy’s red hair doesn’t represent his cool head.

But Hawthorn keep coming.

F-bombs fly around the ‘G’, however, as Rioli cops a knock after slipping and gets a charitable free from who else but Ray Chamberlain. Cyril duly slots it due to much mirth from all of yellow and black. Dad leaves for the bedroom. Mum tuts. Hawks have a two point lead.

We are in this. Still in this.

Mum makes tea and heads off for a time machine trip to where a result is available. In other words, she gives up on our emotional well-being and heads to bed. Ollie comments on the slow-motion like gameplay early on. He’s right. Both clubs look a little sluggish to start. This excludes Shaun Grigg, who does his best John Deere impression and mows down Roughead in a goal-saving tackle. A retro Brian Lake brain-fade as he dumps Vickery into the fence results in a free to the Sideshow-Bob-Haircut forward. Belying his height and kicking prowess from the boundary, Ty nails it and celebrates accordingly. Grigg saves another goal as he intercepts a centring Hawthorn pass, while Cotch cleverly forces Hodge into the ball on the boundary, bouncing off his foot out of bounds on the full. Chaplin continues his great form, gathering and punching and handballing the ball carefully out of defence. Cometti describes a Lennon kick as “Hawthorn-like”. Maz has been huge, in stature and effect in the game. One of his opponents, Hale, is subbed out for the pace of Billy Hartung. Martin, dodging and weaving like a Roman taxi driver, pops the ball exquisitely to yesterday’s troubled soul, Bach Houli. He is mobbed after he slots a difficult set shot.

And now the Tiges are on top, but Jack drops a screamer and Vickery can’t capitalise on a Stratton drop. But Hartung is nimble. Hunt is quick. Hunt is nimbler. “Fox” spoils, runs, gathers, handballs, Lambert, delirium.

Delirium.

The siren sounds. The sound of assumption and murmuring fills the air. We couldn’t snatch this, could we?
This is Hawthorn. This is Richmond. It is not possible.

It is.

A trip to the bathroom cuts two-and-a-half minutes out of the final quarter heart attack. From my position in the toilet, two closed doors away from my father and brother, I’m listening hard for any noise, any clue.

Nothing. The cat wants out. I don’t blame her.

Conca misses on my arrival to the couch. Bruce and Dennis are groaning. They want us to win this. It is like a final, and the AFL world are right in it.

Yes, I believe it. We can do it.

We can do it.

Maric spoil. Deledio handball. Lennon loses it. Gets it. Deledio. Running from 45. Goal. Yes.

We can do it.

But Vlastuin gets crashed into. Rioli as well, frenetic, frenetic football. Miles gets roasted in front of Hawthorn goal. He’s pinned, very unfairly. Gunston gets his third. Lambert soccer is touched. 20 points.

Chaplin is fooled by Breust, but Breust is fooled by the bounce of a ball. Rance is jumped on by Rioli. His kick has Dad rising from his seat, ready for a walk. He misses. Dad sits back down.

Hunt gets Puopolo high. 13 points. He tries to miss it.

I’m out. Sorry. iPad and I depart to bedroom. Footy Live is open.

Goal: Sam Lloyd

What.

The delayed TV coverage shows me perfection. Sammy from the boundary. Too good, too strong. Lake can’t stop it. Bruce loves it.

Isaac Smith towards Puopolo. He has Hunt in a wonderful tackle. Taylor is done for. But umpy, certainly influenced by umpiring karma, pays an in-the-back free to Fox. Maric had been wonderful. Rance hasn’t let Roughead score.

Rioli’s reactions provide the portable ball of genius another shot at goal. He doesn’t miss twice in a row, but tonight isn’t that sort of night. He misses.

Jack gets a nice bounce. Ty in the goal. Ty dodges, weaves, and stuffs it up immensely. Oh God, here we go.
Vlastuin has been immense. They whirl it forward, out of play. Three minutes to go. 19 points. We. Can. Win. This.

Brendan Gale is on screen. He observes the ground like an Emperor. Newman, too old, too slow, lays a great tackle. Hunt is collared. Grimes stands over his mate, facing up to Hodge. In his face and confident. Dad is back. He looks shell-shocked. We just beat Hawthorn.

Houli, fittingly, has the ball in hand after courageously marking. He kicks to Cotchin. Game over.

The ladder says Richmond are in fourth. Damien Hardwick has rebuilt this club to top four.

And Bachar. How much does he deserve this after last week? Cotchin was brilliant, Maric better. Miles was breathtaking.

This was a final. We won it.

We are here. We are truly back.

HAWTHORN 0.3 5.6 5.8 7.11 (53)
RICHMOND 3.4 5.4 8.8 10.11 (71)

GOALS
Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Puopolo 2, Schoenmakers, Rioli
Richmond: Deledio 4, Riewoldt, McIntosh, Vickery, Houli, Lambert, Lloyd

BEST
Hawthorn: Lewis, Mitchell, Hodge, Smith, Burgoyne, Birchall
Richmond: Miles, Maric, Cotchin, Martin, Rance, Deledio, Vlastuin.

VOTES
Deledio (Rich) 1, Maric (Rich) 2, Miles (Rich) 3.

Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says:

    What a fantastic night for Tiger supporters! Not only season-defining but Richmond Football Club defining.
    It reminded me of the Bulldogs win against Sydney earlier this year. Every player cracked in for the whole match and there were no passengers, with the second and third-tier players matching it with the usual stars.
    The Tigers have shown the other final’s aspirants how to go about it.
    I just saw Damian Hardwick interviewed and I’ve never seen a man show such restraint. Holding back on all that joy, no wife jokes and just calmly congratulating his boys on the win.

  2. John Butler says:

    Great report Paddy. Snaps and crackles like the reader was in the room with you.

    14 eh? Might have timed your Tiger run very well. Enjoy the ride.

    Always remember one of football’s golden rules. A Hawthorn loss is GFF. :)

  3. Magnificent win by the Tiges. I thought the Hawks were playing very Hollywood football and it came back to bite them. The Tigers were just too tough.

  4. Enjoyable reading Paddy.

    I especially like the domestic anecdotes that frame your report. Tell your mum she missed a night of superb champagne football.

    I checked my fb feed from time to time throughout the game to see if any of my tiger Facebook friends had dared to cheer or revel as the game progressed… Nought! No one dared believe it was a victory til the very very end …there upon a flood of celebratory posts.

  5. Brilliant Paddy. One of the most entertaining and engaging match reports of the season to accompany one of the most entertaining and engaging matches of the season.
    Tigers and Grindlay – good for Footy (Almanac).
    Bloody Carlton – played Hawthorn into a slumber.
    Bloody Ricmond – played Hawthorn into a rage.
    Who do they play next week? Gulp.
    Maybe like the Australian cricket team at Edgbaston – Hodge, Mitchell, Lake (one of the genuinely most booable footballers), Burgoyne et al – have all reached pension age in the same week.
    Is Bradley Hill still out in the third row seats of the Ponsford Stand eating ice creams and hoping someone will kick the ball to him out there?
    See you in October Paddy. You are 40 right and that’s a misprint, and you are caring for your elderly parents while they wait for the nursing home bed?
    Wishful thinking about October? We Eagles and Tiges have to grab it while we can.
    Normal service will shortly resume.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Paddy good on you as a tiger but geez they are every bit as defensive as,freo .deep down I dont think any tiger supporter would be complaining about razor ray I am surprised he wasn’t in the tigers huddle singing

  7. Rick Kane says:

    Great win by the Tiges and great write up Paddy … now, if you don’t mind I want to be alone for a quiet sob.

    Cheers

  8. Paddy that was just exhilarating to read well done! I feel like I have just experienced the game all over again complete with the screams and the joys. I too thought our fate was sealed when I saw Ray Chamberlain run out….but as someone once said to me;”Never ever give up (believing), it might just happen!”.
    Go Tiges! Go Milesy!

  9. Jamie Mason says:

    Love your work Paddy. Go Tiges

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Great win and terrific report Paddy. Skies the limit for the Tigers in 2015!!

  11. Great report Paddy!
    Helping me believe it’s really possible for the Tiges
    You made me feel like I was there…….hope you washed your hands?

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