Round 21 – Richmond v Carlton: How to deal with nostalgia going forwards


When did I start hating Carlton?  My dad was unusually strict in this area of my upbringing, a mumbled comment or two along the lines of, ‘Bloody Vin Waite.’  Of course you never had this, your father didn’t give a stuff about football and if he did he probably would have been seduced by Dinny O’Hearn’s crowd.


Like Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay following Chelsea in the swingin’ Londons, and that faint whiff of Tory stench just over their shoulders. A bit of a stretch to compare an academic firebrand to angry young men of the British New Wave, but you work with what you’ve got.  If not for the fact all our actors were doing Thunderbirds voice work then, they could have been seen looking cool in the `60s in the Heatley Stand.


The rain for Sunday’s match had a bit of a `70s drive to it.  You don’t remember that day that Alves and Flower stitched us up in front of the members, do you?  I think you must have already left jurisdiction. I remark to an elderly woman as it begins to sheet over us (we were shielding in the lee of some taller people in the bag queue) that we used to think nothing of getting doused at grounds like Princes Park, for we had Ian Turner, we were socialists.  We soaked up the weather in corduroy trousers and anoraks, whilst those popinjays in their bow ties and velvet sipped their dry whites at Jimmy Watsons. Whilst their footmen took cup-a-soups out to Menzies’ Bentley and smoothed the tartan rug over Fraser’s bony knees.  (No doubt he was naked from the waist down.)  Shame, Carlton, shame.


She has plainly forgotten this, or maybe she only ever saw home games.  She simply gestures towards her handbag, It is bulging with umbrellas, cough sweets, beanies.  The bag is a lovely fawn-coloured leather, but the zip has broken open under the match-day necessities of modern times.


The first quarter begins the defensive tussle in wet conditions, Dylan Grimes back to rock star status after a week off.  He secures every aerial contest and for fun chases down an opponent twice on the wing, closing on him like a cheetah, dumping him both times and eventually winning the free kick. Edwards butchers a few early possessions, I think he does this to calm his nerves, and then finds his tempo and begins his dash through the square.


I make a note of this time:  at 14 minutes and 30 seconds into the quarter the Carlton fans begin to moan about the free kick count.  A bit early?


I’ve never seen or heard of Plowman before, unlike many of these rebuild heroes of theirs.  He takes two well-judged marks on Stacky, who is mostly at sea.  The stalemate continues into the second quarter.  By this time Vlastuin has become prominent, in fact has ghosted into Grimes’ role.


Second quarter, six minutes and 57 seconds, complaints about the frees again. Here’s a funny feeling, I think, this seems familiar. That’s it, it sounds like Richmond ten years ago.  ‘You’re joking!’  ‘That’s bullshit.’  Baleful moans from the standing area behind us.  I’m not saying their torment has only just begun, but you don’t want hit the self-pity button only 24 years into a premiership drought.


Jack Graham is our premier Jack just at the minute; not sure if it’s the wet weather, but he’s travelling across the ground with less effort. He scraps four goals by half time and is genuinely awesome.  I believe he’s had the game of his life to this point. George is fumbling today, and Brando, but Graham is one-touch like Sheds. Bolton was about to blaze one on the left but has time for the cogs to turn and he dishes off to our Jack in the box, so that’s one lesson learnt from last week. He won’t always have that time of course.


When Kreuzer posts Carlton’s first goal for the match at the end of the first half, that irritating noise drones around the ground.  I’m not going to spell it, it sounds like they’re booing. We once played the Kreuzer Cup, didn’t we? What a sliding doors moment. He’s a bit of a dud. Through the term of his underwhelming career, Carlton has unravelled in agonising slow motion and I say the rebuild is not assured. No rebuild is ever assured.


That sound reminds me of something they used to do. Was it Perovic, or some other one?  I’m watching an unknown player that reminds me of Ron De Iulio and I can’t believe I even remember him. I note the potential for hate-based emotion in the heavy air. My nostalgia should not go there, I’ve got such pleasanter places to be. Your Neville Roberts, my Allan Edwards, and DM as Robert Lamb as we bound into the goal square bog at Anderson Park, such hope for 77.  (Too self-absorbed?  They just made me think about Ron De Iulio, I need recompense.)


All right, let’s get 2013 out of the way. I heard the oily smugness in the fans’ voices as they got their cockiness out in the toilets after we got Judded. They thought the Tiger baiting would go on forever, but little did they know that that would be their last victory. They claimed Jarrod Waite’s job on us two years later as some sort of Carlton deed too, still clinging to that 80s voodoo bulltwang.  But now that their last premiership is becoming fashionably distant, is anyone really going to mist up for a Carlton breakthrough like they did for us or the Dogs or the Swans? Pig’s arse.


Four minutes into the third quarter and Sheds bangs a long goal in and the whole team piles on top of him. It’s his 250th and the team loves him for it. He’s doing so much right. It’s goal for goal for most of the rest of the match, Liam Jones consistently outmanoeuvres Riewoldt in the way of all defenders today. I get a text from home to the effect that Laurie, who I’ve told you is nursing a head knock from his game in the morning, has passed the ultimate concussion test:  he’s started yelling at the TV. This is a measure of the contest tightening.


I come to the realisation in the fourth quarter that Josh Caddy has morphed into Kamdyn McIntosh. I don’t know whose loss to mourn most. Some of our ghosts are unchanged, Bachar as he was on Grand Final day, again, still, but there are body swaps all over our team – Baker the new Short, Grimes as Rance, Ross as Graham, Graham as Lambert. What would Dimma say?  We can only control what we can within our four walls, I suppose.  There’s an awful lot inside those four walls at the minute and I know we laugh about his verbal tics but this one’s coming true:  Richmond’s actually going forwards.



RICHMOND    3.2       6.4       8.6       11.7 (73)
CARLTON        0.2       1.6       4.6       6.9 (45)

Graham 4, Lynch 2, Riewoldt 2, Edwards, Caddy, Castagna
Carlton: McGovern 2, Kreuzer, Murphy, Casboult, Gibbons

Richmond: Prestia, Edwards, Vlastuin, Lambert, Graham
Carlton: Cripps, Simpson, Thomas, Petrevski-Seton, Silvagni

Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Deboy, Whetton, Findlay

Official crowd: 51,039 at the MCG


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A Tigers fan still trying to make sense of everything.. Two kids in the EDFL, another Year of Living Vicariously. I've spent a long time weighing up social media platforms and have finally settled on the Almanac. I like loads of stuff.


  1. Hi Michael. Great to have you involved. And I love this piece. I thought you went easy on Carlton.

    Nice to see Dinny O’Hearn’s name bob up. So many stories. I have heard his name often – oh to have come to Melbourne Uni as an undergraduate. I’d love to hear more.

    And Ian Turner’s.

    More please.


  2. Michael Nichols says

    Thanks John. I hope I haven’t sparked your interest under false pretences. I was barely ten when Ian Turner died. (But I was a socialist, I swear.) My dad and I used to drop in at his house after the game along with dozens of others.

    What little I know of Dinny O’Hearn was probably gleaned from someone like Sophie Cunningham’s memoir and sparked by your piece about the players association, which I happened to read last week. That was fascinating, by the way.

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