Round 20 – Richmond v Collingwood: A tale of two clubs

A tale of two clubs

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of external noise, it was the age of hysterical media reaction, it was the epoch of finals aspirations, it was the epoch of disappointment, it was the season of Dusty, it was the season of not much else, it was the autumn of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we have nothing before us.

 

Apologies Charlie.

 

So here we are at the MCG on a Friday night in front of a modest crowd. Two of the AFL’s largest clubs – Richmond and Collingwood who promised much in the pre-season but now sit 12th and 13th on the ladder – meet in a match that, at first glance, didn’t mean very much. Oh, but it did. It was Dusty’s 150th.

 

Richmond had a horror week with the media fall-out from last week’s belting by GWS being nothing short of hysterical. Collingwood was buoyed by last week’s upset win over top-eight side West Coast (a win that cost me a perfect nine in the work footy tipping competition) and were expected to win easily. There was also the traditional rivalry between the two clubs and the one-point win to Collingwood in Round 2 to add spite to the encounter.

 

Four quick goals to the Magpies and things weren’t looking good, but the Tigers steadied by kicking the next three before Travis Cloke kicked one from an impossible angle just before quarter time. In the second quarter the Tigers stepped up their effort and played the rest of the game with toughness that was completely absent last weekend.

 

I (and I suspect many of the Richmond supporters at the MCG) braved the cold just to see Dustin Martin. While Dusty’s outstanding skills are widely acknowledged, he’s my favourite player because he always gives 100%, through good times and bad. In an otherwise forgettable season, Dusty has been a shining light, and tonight Dusty was in scintillating form, fending off opponents with impunity and only occasionally getting caught – a joy to watch.

 

Trent Cotchin played with the toughness we know he is capable of, Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals and Alex Rance ran rampant through the Collingwood forward line. Most pleasing were the performances of Oleg Markov, Adam Marcon, Jayden Short and Andrew Moore, all players who have been largely untried in the yellow and black but took tonight’s opportunity to press their cases for being part of Richmond’s plans for the future.

 

The Tigers weren’t able to completely shake off the Magpies, and the lead changed several times throughout the match until James Aish levelled the scores halfway through the final quarter. With Scott Pendlebury off the field with an ankle injury, the Magpies kicked a further three behinds while the Tigers kicked three straight goals to run out winners by 15 points.

 

There were plenty of mistakes, but the Tigers played with daring that we have only seen glimpses of since 2013. With the influx of younger players and the abandonment of the game style that proved so disastrous this season, this is the style of football I want to see when I venture outside on a cold winter’s night.

 

The two clubs still sit 12th and 13th on the ladder, but now with the same numbers of wins and losses. Will the media heat of the coming week turn to Nathan Buckley and the Collingwood list? Will the media tire of besieging Richmond and let the club, coach and players take a considered approach to addressing the disappointment of 2016? The media commentary last week was not a reflection of a sudden disaster at Richmond; it was a reflection of the extreme measures that the media outlets need to take to compete for the public’s attention among the saturated coverage from television, radio, newspapers and websites. It’s not good for football.

 

Richmond                     3.0         7.3       10.7       14.8        (92)

Collingwood                 5.2         6.3         8.7     11.11        (77)

 

Goals

Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Vickery 2, Drummond, Ellis, Grigg, Lloyd, Marcon, Martin, Moore, Rioli

Collingwood: Aish 2, Cox 2, Adams, Cloke, Crocker, Pendlebury, Varcoe, White, Wills

 

Best

Richmond: Martin, Rance, Grigg, Riewoldt, Markov, Cotchin

Collingwood: Sidebottom, Aish, Treloar, Adams, Grundy

 

Crowd: 49,122

 

Our Votes: Martin (Richmond) 3, Rance (Richmond) 2, Sidebottom (Collingwood) 1

About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.

Comments

  1. The media does certainly go overboard – but I still can’t see Hardwick as a premiership coach. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with the Tiges ruining my tips!

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