Round 20 – Richmond v Hawthorn: Onwards and upwards


Around this time last year, Hawthorn’s 70 point victory over the Tigers was one of the low points of a forgettable season and marked the beginning of the overhaul of Richmond’s football department. This time around, Richmond is entrenched in the top 4 and Hawthorn needs to win to stay in touch with the top 8.


Nevertheless, I’m not too confident coming into this game. After a dismal start to the season, Hawthorn has found form, with five wins and one draw from the past seven games, mostly against quality opposition. How much will they lift for Jarryd Roughead’s 250th game? There’s no Luke Hodge (he’s been suspended for being a thug), but they do have a Mitchell to worry about. Not the Mitchell who caused Richmond so much grief over the years, but Tom Mitchell, a recruit from Sydney who seems to be able to play a bit.


Richmond is missing Jack Riewoldt who is having a couple of weeks off with a sore eye, but Dion Prestia is back. And after not being too sure about Prestia early in the season, I’m becoming a fan of his ability to find and use the ball from deep in congestion.


The game begins in sunshine but the ground is wet and slippery thanks to a downpour a couple of hours earlier. The normally lush MCG grass is showing wear and tear and has become threadbare – a thin veneer of green that threatens to reveal a glorious expanse of mud.


Early on, the Hawks are fumbling the ball while the Tigers have brought defensive pressure all over the ground and are daring in attack. Josh Caddy kicks the first goal of the afternoon and small acts – a clever tap from Caddy and smothers from Jason Castagna and Shane Edwards – mean that the Hawks struggle to clear the ball from defence. After a goal to the Hawks from a free kick, the Tigers respond with four unanswered goals to finish the quarter 25 points ahead.


With the second quarter underway, the Hawks – as expected – have lifted but seem indecisive going forward, as if the self-belief that brought so much success over many years has dissipated. The Tigers continue to dominate and are hunting the Hawks in packs, but they don’t get the reward on the scoreboard, missing four easy shots until Ivan Soldo kicks his first goal in AFL footy. Luckily the Tiger defence holds firm and limits the Hawks to just one goal for the quarter.


A Caddy miss early in the third quarter has me wondering whether we will rue the number of seemingly easy shots at goal that have missed. But I shouldn’t have worried. A Dusty mark and a Dusty goal bring a roar from the crowd. Then a few minutes later, a Dusty goal from a Dan Butler handball brings a bigger roar from the crowd. And then, a Caddy mark and a Caddy goal bring a massive roar from the crowd. This is like the Tigers of old.


Two goals to the Hawks take us to three-quarter time, and early in the fourth quarter the Hawks kick another.


Hang on.

They’ve kicked the last three of the match.

Please, no.

Not again.


As a sense of foreboding begins to envelop me, the tide turns and the Tigers move the ball down the ground with lightning-fast handballs towards Caddy who kicks truly.


It’s not happening again.


And it doesn’t.


With the result beyond doubt, the Tigers and the Hawks trade goals for the rest of the quarter. Inaccuracy and Anthony Miles being run down in the goal square cost a few extra goals, but the damage has been done. The Hawks have been vanquished and the Tigers move to third on the ladder.


Richmond       5.4         6.8       9.10     13.15        (93)

Hawthorn         1.3         2.5         4.8       9.10        (64)



Richmond: Caddy 4, C. Ellis 2, Martin 2, Rioli, Cotchin, Soldo, Prestia, Nankervis

Hawthorn: Miles 2, Breust 2, Schoenmakers 2, Roughead 2, Mitchell



Richmond: Caddy, Prestia, Martin, Lambert, Nankervis, Rance, Grimes

Hawthorn: Sicily, Mitchell, Smith, Howe, Roughead, Gunston



3 Caddy (Richmond); 2 Prestia (Richmond); 1 Martin (Richmond)


Crowd: 58,342

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.


  1. Yes, we all know that sense of foreboding.

    Fortunately, our team held it together with poise and confidence.

    Great game

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