Round 2 – Collingwood v Richmond: Do androids dream of electric crowd noises?

Collingwood v Richmond

7:40pm, Thursday June 11






There was movement on the stations for the word had passed around that FOOTY was BACK and LIVE. For weeks (months?) before these grand clubs had laced a boot in the rooms, slapped a bum on the race or crossed the white line from one of us (We’re all in this together™) to warriors on the hallowed turf, the medias social and traditional had been vociferous in their broadcasting that footy was once again on deck to comfort us in these trying times.



Despite – or perhaps more truthfully because of – the wall of sound/noise that preceded Round 2 of 2020, I was merely “whelmed” by the prospect of watching my beloved Tigers go round once more.



I awaited the soaring stirring of emotions that the yellow and black can bring like a bus that would never come…the gesture by the players to show support for BLM (which would be league-wide and also spread to the NRL) did raise my spirits though.



When the ball was bounced, the cresting wave of crowd build up felt sorely missing; its replacement canned zeroes and ones failed to replicate the melody of the masses that the players performances punctuate. At best I could say the effort provided a background hum that seemed more bug zapper than bayou bacchanal.



And so the action of the turf warriors became an open-mic a cappella show in my living room.



Sloppy skills by hand and foot, the wrong team putting the ball through the big sticks and misfiring star members of the 2019 premiership side struck some off notes.



I’d awaited the return of Bachar Houli and Jack Higgins with a warm sense of anticipation. When Houli started to collect the ball only to dish wayward handballs and skewed kicks I wondered if he’d also succumbed to the uncanny valley of fakery like the crowd – this surely wasn’t the almost-Norm Smith medallist who drove the Richmond unit from defence to attacking midfield so effortlessly.



So too Dusty, owner of Norms aplenty, whose occasional tendency to butcher the ball once in a while had turned into a slaughterhouse.



Who was this side? Why was Trent Cotchin the only one I could recognise from his deeds?



At least I had started to take interest, but more-so in a carnival of horrors fashion as Collingwood sealed the short quarter shut with a fourth major to none.



After the break, the tide turned and Richmond pulled some Richmond out of its back pocket – but only some. Frenetic, blitzkrieg swarms started to propel the ball forward and for a moment it seemed like the Tigers of pre-coronavirus had returned…only to fail when the ball reached the impassable wall of Collingwood defenders large and small. Brian Taylor willed the gold-logo adorned side to make good on the bargain that 1.6 million fans expected or dreaded when they tuned in; the ensuing nullification and coast-to-coast goal for the Pies put paid to his whims, but did nothing to quell his chatter…



Tom Lynch clawed back the margin in a very normal Tom Lynch fashion; that in itself seemed weird with the way things were playing out.



Higgins took a mark on the behind line (graciously padded out by the padding on the post) that surely had Tiger fans smiling and Pies scowling…as he made good on his fortune to kick a perfectly curved goal, memories of his improbable goal of the year (yes, you remember correctly – also against the Pies) and indeed his improbable return to the footy field had me up and about, punching the air like this was any old game.



But the ask was too much, the task too mighty…the players too stuffed; a solitary snag from the heroic Higgins does not a comeback make.



I can’t lump all players into the same category – the efforts of Ivan Soldo, Nick Vlaustin and Shai Bolton were commendable – but my sense of being “whelmed” seemed ingrained until the absurdity of the circus raised a laugh as the siren sounded, scores tied to the biggest cheer of the night from crowd-tron 2020.




COLLINGWOOD          4.1       5.3       5.4       5.6 (36)
RICHMOND                   0.1       3.1       5.2       5.6 (36)


Collingwood: Phillips 2, Adams, Sidebottom, C.Brown
Richmond: Lynch 3, Bolton, Higgins


Collingwood: Pendlebury, Howe, Sidebottom, Moore, Daicos, Phillips, Grundy.
Richmond: Cotchin, Vlastuin, Broad, Martin, Lynch, Higgins.


Crowd: Overwhelming numbers watched on the box, plastic fantastic at the ‘G




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A classic jack of all trades & master of a couple, Jarrod started his footy career as a gangly ruck after a growth spurt catapulted him to the lofty heights of 177cm as a 12-year-old. Forward pocket off the bench was where he ended up as he topped out at 178cm eight years later. The trajectory of a career in health fortunately didn't peak during the pre-teen years & a keen interest in footy has turned from playing to coaching, volunteering and writing.


  1. love the essence of your words
    The game I believe missed the mark and the opportunity to set the tone for post-Covid footy to the whole Footy world ( including the USA starved of NBA and MLB ) was not taken up.

    with shorter quarters ( which I just don’t agree with!!! – don’t mess with the rules for the sake of having more adverts during the breaks!! ) there was a chance to go all out and put all that hard training on home gyms into practice and for Richmond to blow the stoic Magpies out of the water – but skill error after skill error (which comes with a lack of match practice mind you) cost the Tigers big time – Jack R not making the distance from 35m out I don’t think so!!

    it was hard to recognise players except for Cotch throwing himself into the Lions den time after time with no thought for his personal safety – what a leader – as Molly would say in the glory days of Hey Hey “do yourself a favour” watch the AFL video article on Cotch – about the last time he cried – truly inspirational about the real stuff of life
    At least we didn’t lose to the dastardly Magpies !!

  2. Jarrod_L says

    Thanks for the comment Richard – I assume that coming back from the Arctic has made things a bit easier footy-wise? Maybe a silver lining amid everything else…if the Tiges get their act together that is!

    Cotch was one out of the box for most of the game – Mr Consistency too, rarely has a bad game the skip.

  3. A terrible game for the neutral viewer, Jarrod. But I am prepared to cut both teams some slack considering it was the first game of the re-started season and thus, rusty ball skills were to be expected.
    Richmond were unlucky not to win, I thought.

  4. Jarrod_L says

    I’m assuming the bleating of Mr Taylor didn’t help things Smokie?

    Look the only way is up for both the Pies and Tiges after that effort…and surely Riewoldt practices his action with a couple of jam tins in the way during training.

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