Round 2 – Richmond v Collingwood: Victorious and home satisfied

Richmond v Collingwood
7:20PM, Thursday March 28
MCG

6.15PM, Jolimont Station.

 

“Due to a fault at Flinders Street Station, the 5.58PM Hurstbridge train will be delayed by another 20 minutes.”

 

Sighs. Groans. Murmurs. Platform 2 of Jolimont Station is annoyed, bothered and frustrated. We’ve already been delayed – a toothless threat in the city loop meant that trains entering the CBD from all corners of Victoria meant that we were late to everything and anything. I’m one of many who stand there looking at the train tracks, willing one to rattle forth and take me home. I just want to be home and watching Collingwood – is that too much to ask?

 

I squeeze onto the packed train, clinging on and silently checking the time every minute to see whether I will make it back in time for the first bounce. People slowly clear out and I can breathe again. When I get off the train, it’s 7.13PM and I have a race against the clock. Obeying speed laws, I arrive home just as the players meander to their positions.

 

Contrary to the stagnant efforts of round one, Collingwood are free. Due to a Richmond game plan that allows both teams to run free and surge forward aggressively, the ball zings around the MCG and flies through for goals often. Continuing on from his dominant Preliminary Final, Mason Cox finds an open leading space and capitalises on a Rance-less defence, taking an easy mark and slotting the game’s first.

 

Both teams go hell-for-leather – Richmond manage to knock the ball forward and push while Collingwood’s back line is like an elastic band, absorbing pressure and then catapulting it forward with polish and pace. Rioli is found open after Mihocek is too slow in a frenetic game, yet Josh Thomas snags a goal following a patiently worked play to the pocket.

 

Collingwood’s midfield is rejuvenated from last week – Grundy assumes his dominant ways in the ruck, Pendlebury and Beams control clearances and Sidebottom racks up dangerous touches from a wing. Dusty threatens at stages but is ultimately well-held by Greenwood. The young Phillips bravely runs into oncoming traffic, taking a courageous mark and converting to exorcise the demons of last week’s horrid goal kicking efforts.

 

Richmond fight hard, with Lynch providing a dangerous focal point when Riewoldt is reluctantly thrown into the ruck. Yet they need Riewoldt, and when he takes a tumble from a soaring mark attempt and comes up clutching his wrist it is a dagger to the Tigers’ chances. De Goey compounds this doubt by taking a classic ‘hanger’ and coolly wheeling around to nail the 40-metre snap around the body. The knife is pushed into the yellow stripe. De Goey is the man who can twist it in further.

 

Just as the game is slipping away from Richmond, they kick into gear through the influence of Lynch. Roughead is performing admirably on him, but some beautiful midfield delivery from Cotchin gives Lynch chances to display his wonderful set shot goal kicking. Collingwood attempt to hold on – yet can’t quite when Sidebottom is caught and Edwards is unjustly handed the shot after the siren. I’ve eaten and am satisfied but can only see a West Coast player with the number four on his back lining up. In an identical position to that bloody Dom Sheed, Edwards guides it through and you can feel the roar of the Richmond army revelling in being only one goal behind. Game on.

 

Worried that the goal would shift the momentum, Collingwood diffuse the ticking time bomb of Richmond by kicking early goals. Mayne is rewarded for a superb half on the wing with a running goal, while De Goey has found form and is threatening every time the ball is in his vicinity. The Magpies establish their buffer once more, but only look to cough it up when Dusty takes Greenwood forward and out marks him. Inexplicably deciding to banana the ball and instead missing a straightforward shot, Richmond’s champion may have just thrown away their chance. He’s wayward effort is made to look worse when Crisp’s beautiful kicking advances the ball forward quickly, with Mihocek slipping out the back to confirm a wonderful end-to-end goal. For some reason, Collingwood had achieved rare air by being the only team to consistently crack through Richmond’s oppressive defensive structure.

 

From then on, Collingwood walk tall – Beams, Mayne, Pendlebury and Treloar are all nearing the 30 possession mark, and De Goey is racking up goals with ease. Every time Richmond challenges, their heavy scoring power pushes them clear once more. Just before the last break, the skipper caps off a faultless match with a steady goal. Moore rebounds potently and Langdon and Maynard take intercept marks to hold their lead.

 

Looking to put the game to bed, Cox inflicts more trauma. Casting back to that fateful September night, Mason collects a ground ball, dancing around hapless defenders with Pendlebury-like ease before kicking a wobbly snap that bends the wrong way through the goals. That’s when Tigers’ heads begin to hang a little lower.

 

But Richmond are a champion team, and they put everything into performing another miraculous last quarter blitz. After minutes of absorbing this assault, Moore and Crisp combine once more to rebound, with some hectic play leading to Elliott handing a goal off to the speedy Stephenson. His mark and goal minutes later ices the match and pushes the Pies out to a resounding lead.

 

When it rains, it pours – and Collingwood finish off with gusto – De Goey nails his fifth for a landmark night and all Magpies who played even a minute in the midfield end up with over 25 possessions. Richmond, with Riewoldt finally resigning to the bench, are beaten up and have experienced a severe dint in their pride. Collingwood party on, relishing defeating Richmond once more and realising that their best could be nigh-on invincible in 2019. But can they do that consistently? The conundrum with Collingwood is, much like trains, we don’t always know when they will turn up. But we’ll enjoy the ride.

 

RICHMOND           2.2     6.3     9.4      10.6 (66)
COLLINGWOOD    3.2     7.3   12.4    17.8 (110)

 

GOALS

Richmond: Lynch 3, Higgins 2, Short 2, Edwards 2, Rioli
Collingwood: De Goey 5, Mihocek 2, Cox 2, Stephenson 2, Thomas, Treloar, Phillips, Mayne, Pendlebury, Elliott

 

BEST
Richmond: Lynch, Edwards, Cotchin, Short
Collingwood: De Goey, Crisp, Pendlebury, Beams, Moore, Treloar, Mayne

 

Crowd: 70,699

 

Comments

  1. george smith says

    Guru Bob in 1990 said:
    KTLOI (keep the lid on it)

    I reckon Doubting Thomas, Hamlet, George McClelland and Ethelred the Unready would all have been Collingwood supporters if they had the chance, because my people have suffered through the wilderness of lost chances, again and again.

    So, while we are currently premiership favorites, it can be dashed from our lips, as early as next Saturday night…

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