Round 20 – Richmond v Collingwood: Move on – nothing to see here.

Richmond versus Collingwood
7.50pm, Friday, 6 August
MCG
It would be easy to give a monumental “up yours” to the football world after the unrelenting bake Richmond’s been copping this week.  However, that would assume I’d fallen for the recycled 1980s and 90s “Turmoil in Tigerland” front page banners being resorted to by lazy journalists in need of a story as this lop-sided season limps slowly towards the finals.

Sometimes the truth is just not that sensational and I have neither the word limit nor the inclination to add more oxygen to the fantasy that there is a crisis at Richmond or that this win was some sort of dramatic response by an embattled team.

No, this was, simply, a mundane contest that was a fair reflection of where these two disappointing sides are at, and, for the winners, a deserved reward for persistence and endurance on the night and over the week.  If one was to nit-pick, the on-field evidence would suggest that Collingwood’s list and coaching are in the more questionable state of the two clubs, especially considering that Nathan Buckley inherited a Grand Finalist team five years ago while Damien Hardwick was saddled with a rag-tag bunch of kids.

That the Tigers trailed 25-zip after ten minutes makes the win more meritorious than the 15 point margin indicates.  But just as the hacks were sharpening their pencils and looking up ominous-sounding words like “nadir”, Richmond found the “on” switch and thereafter assumed control of the game.

In this context and with the caveat that this was an insignificant end-of-season contest, two clear points can be taken from the game.

One is that Richmond has more top level performers than Collingwood.  Adam Treloar again demonstrated why he should win the Copeland Trophy by the length of Hoddle Street.  His quality is unquestionable but it stands out like a gold nugget in a pan of creek mud.  Of the rest, Taylor Adams was solid, Brodie Grundy is a fine, athletic ruckman, but only the timeless class of Scott Pendlebury looked to be really threatening to Richmond until a late ankle injury forced him off.  The Pies’ next best were probably Dalgleish, Jeffery and Harris, such were the score assists they gifted to the black and whites. There wasn’t much else.

For Richmond, Alex Rance was again peerless in defence.  Admittedly a forward line led by Jesse White, Travis Cloke and Mason Cox is hardly the stuff of nightmares for the league’s pre-eminent defender, but in a match of largely mediocre individual displays, it was a thrill to witness such fine judgement and athleticism in both the attacking and negating aspects of his craft.  The Tigers’ other usual suspects, Martin, Cotchin and Riewoldt were all superior to the Magpies’ best, making telling contributions at crucial points but without actually playing to their full potential.  Martin’s clean gather and rapier 50 metre pass on his left to gift a crucial late goal to Sam Lloyd was the play of the night and more than compensated for his earlier profligate ball use.  Cotchin was, typically, less flamboyant than Dusty but stood tall late in the game, evidently desperate to expunge the memories of the horrendous Round 2 fade out.  Jack was Jack.  Maddeningly casual at times, brilliant at others and clearly the best forward on the ground without ever getting out of third gear.

The other notable point was that a number of Richmond’s younger players made useful contributions, particularly Oleg Markov, but also Nathan Drummond, Daniel Rioli and Adam Marcon.  While it is premature to predict how these youngsters will fare in the longer term, on tonight’s evidence, Richmond has more to work with than many doomsayers suggest.

So sorry ladies and gentlemen of the media, there’s no chicken manure at Punt Road this week at least.  You’ll just have to find your sensational headlines elsewhere.

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, Moore, Marcon, Grigg, Drummond, Martin, Rioli, Ellis, Lloyd
Collingwood: Cox 2, Aish 2, Adams, Cloke, Crocker, Varcoe, Wills, Pendlebury, White

BEST
Richmond: Rance, Martin, Grigg, Cotchin, Markov, Riewoldt, Miles
Collingwood: Crisp, Sidebottom, Aish, Adams, Grundy, Howe

Umpires: Dalgleish, Harris, Jeffery

Official crowd: 49,122

Our Votes: 3 Rance (Rich.) 2 Martin (R) 1 Markov (R)

About Sam Steele

Stainless (aka Sam Steele) started following Richmond in 1970 when he was 6. This occurred when his mother, under instructions to buy him a Melbourne jumper, found they were out of stock and purchased a Richmond one instead. Despite the decades of heartache and turmoil this fateful decision has brought on Stainless, he is grateful to his mum as he has at least seen his side win a couple of Premierships. After 30 September 2017, his mum is now officially his favourite person.

Comments

  1. onya Stainless. I agree with your assessment. that’s why I would like to know what a different, more ruthless coach could do with the list before it implodes.

    anyway, GO TIGES!

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Fair report, Stainless.
    Other than showing a little more respect to their opponents, Collingwood had one job to do and that was to play a defensive forward on Rance. Coaches with certificates…

    Well played by the Tigers. At least they showed some ticker.

  3. Rulebook says:

    In what was a very average game of footy there was no doubt that the tiggers played with more ticket and it showed how vial,Darcy Moore is to the pies future while I think there is more upside to the pies list realistically both are a fair way away thanks,Stainless

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