Round 19 – Richmond v Collingwood (Floreat Pica Society)

by Paul McKay (in Bangkok)

 

I would start off with what is becoming usual FPS practice, which is to provide the writer’s environmental report. Morning has broken over this busy, humid, SE Asian metropolis. Orange robed monks are doing their morning rounds, with alms givers coming out from their houses in the early morning. Market vendors are preparing their wares, and food vendors (oh the food…!) cranking up their mobile kitchens. Much of the 12 million inhabitants are going about their Saturday morning routines, entirely oblivious to the gladiatorial contest about to take place 7,368kms away in Brunton avenue, Jolimont.
Despite the available local delicacies, I took the family out to a superb French bakery for breakfast, and toward the end, your writer was clearly getting fidgety, nervously looking at the time, not wanting to miss the 10.45am (local time) bounce. I got home with 15 minutes to spare, took in some of the pre-match banter and checked some iMessages from some very smug Richmond mates, one in particular, sent through the front & back page (Herald-Sun and The Age) snap shots, which looked more like Grand Final coverage, rather than Round 19.
The coverage starts, with the camera panning across the sacred turf, and its colossal, Colosseum-like stands, in fact it was difficult to see any empty seats at all, such was the build up for this game.
Q1 was full of drama, unfortunately with the Pies allowing the first two majors to Castagna and Higgins. After an arm wrestle, and several minutes of not the most precise footy, the next two majors went to Daicos and then Brown, with two coolly slotted set shots. The tackle of Daicos, which pinned his opponent’s right arm was superb, and a good signal of our intent. I imagine these two goals would have prompted the faithful to run for the history books to see when was the last time we had a game that commenced with goals to Daicos and Brown. One for you, Steve!
The Tigers soon took back the ascendancy with three goals before quarter time, including two almost identical goals to Jayden Short, who was left all alone to receive handballs from team mates who were clearly too far out to score. It was almost like a set play from a Bledisloe cup match. The commentators were scathing about our apparent inability to prevent lightning from striking in the same place twice. Of course we would have much preferred to see a different “Jaiyden” kicking goals from the 50m line, but sadly, it was to be a quiet day for him, aside from a searing 60m Stawell gift sprint against Broad & Grimes around the boundary in Q2. Had he managed to get another 5 metres across the 50m arc, it may well have been a famous goal, rivaling those of Manassa and McGuane.
The last thing Jeremy Howe had going through his head before the quarter time bell was, unfortunately, Darcy Moore’s right patella. Caught out of place with Townsend’s very gentlemanly shove in the back, Howe took the full impact in the middle of the forehead, and of course, took no further part. I would imagine the trainers needed to explain why he was dressed in strange clothes, long hose, funny boots, artful ink all over his arms, and what was with the assembly of 90-odd-thousand noisy people in tribal warfare outfits…?
Q2 commenced in positive fashion with quick goals to Thomas and Checkers. Caddy gets one back before Mason steps in with a straight set shot after a mark 40m out, and we are looking the goods. The Varcoe hit (perfectly legal this time) on Prestia just before the Cox goal was textbook hip and shoulder and it hurt. As much as we would all love Darcy Moore to simply smash Jack Riewoldt in all contests, he was caught out of position, to allow Jack an easy mark & goal. We bounce back beautifully with some clever play, and with goals to Cox and WHE, we are only two points down in the dying minutes of the first half. The Mihocek move of keeping the ball in play and flicking a check side 40m pass over to WHE in the square was, again, champagne football. We had chances in the final minutes of Q2 and when Dusty floored his nagging opponent Levi Greenwood to give away 50, we were a real chance. A goal would be the perfect way to go down the race, but sadly it goes the other way with Dusty getting his hands on it in the goal square and in a matter of minutes, erasing his previous error. Despite this, we all love Levi’s work!
The third quarter starts the same way the second quarter ended, with another D. Martin goal square goal, this one on the run, but we are not giving in. Josh Thomas starts what will be a superb quarter for him. In fact, Q3 contained some cracking footy from the Pies, yet the most frustrating thing is that each of our goals was followed by a very quick Richmond goal. Since Grundy & Cox were grinding their ruck opponents into the Jolimont turf, it was really up to our engine room of Adams, Pendles, to stop the Tigers from getting easy clearances and into the 50m. The goal for goal contest of the third quarter was the best footy of the day, and with seconds to go, our Jaiyden took a left foot snap which would have put us in front, but it curled through for a minor score just as the bell rang.
The three early goals to Richmond in Q4 basically put the nails into the coffin. Misses to Cox, Pendles, Stephenson also meant no Q4 rebound for us, and sadly, what could have been a great contest, going down to the wire, fizzled out to the inevitable. We had lost two key backs in Howe and Scharenberg to injustices (that’s Apple spell check working there… not a bad choice of words really, well done) er, injuries and we could never contain the Richmond mosquito fleet as they pushed into their forward line and on so many occasions, made their own luck to score goals.
I immediately niggled my Richmond buddies by concluding that they came very close to being beaten by a Collingwood B team. All in all a superb effort by the Pies, and we were in no way disgraced. The big question is; how would the result have been if we had had Treloar, de Goey, etc? Sadly, it looks like Elliott has done the hamstring again in the VFL, and Scharenberg’s never ending ACL woes continue.
Votes;
3. Grundy; the guy has an incredible engine and he dominated the ruck contests. It’s a pity our on ballers could not make more of the ruck domination.
2 – Mason Cox; really becoming a massive headache for opposing teams and his marking skills and even ground skills continue to grow each week.
1. Langdon; one of his better games, fierce tackling and keeping his head at critical moments.
Apologies to Pendles and Sidey, who both topped the possession count, but somehow did not seem to have the full impact as in recent weeks. Also to Josh Thomas, whose goal sneak skills in Q3 kept us in the game.
Coming up, we have a danger game in Sydney, then Lions, Port, Freo… all winnable! All eyes will be on our medical reports, which I desperately hope can turn positive from here on. Go Pies!

Comments

  1. Daniel Flesch says:

    Good stuff , Paul . At the time , I wondered why Townsend’s ” gentlemanly shove in the back” went unpenalised. And the subsequent unforgiveable milling around and provocative carry -on by Dusty and co. should have been stopped instantly. Four umpires . Four ! And they still miss so much. Not an easy job , so many say . But aren’t they thoroughly schooled , trained , monitored ? So how come they miss what the tv commentators and viewers can plainly see ? Mystery. The Pies are stuffed , with so many out injured. Richmond’s success in no small measure due to their lucky run with injuries compared to other teams I reckon.

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