Round 21 – Richmond v Geelong: Life’s not about fairy tales

The day started off with a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the Degas exhibition. The cultural side of Melbourne has mostly passed me by and I hadn’t set foot inside the gallery since primary school. All I could remember of my previous trip was being fascinated by the water window and the stained glass ceiling: not the art. This time around, the water window was again suitably impressive up close and into the exhibition we went.

 

Standing among a crowd of people admiring the works with hushed reverence, I just didn’t get it. All I could see were unfinished sketches and smudgy paintings. What was all the fuss about? Sure there were a couple of nice paintings of ballerinas, but for the most part I didn’t understand what I was looking at, even with the carefully worded explanations accompanying each of the works. After we left the exhibition, I wandered into the Great Hall and gazed up at the stained glass ceiling. It was just as wonderful as I had remembered.

 

After a leisurely lunch at Southbank, the next stop was the MCG to see Richmond take on top-four aspirant Geelong. This was Jack Riewoldt’s 200th match, a big occasion and enough to get me to the ground for what was expected to be a big defeat. Jack has grown up since his debut in 2007, and on field, his dummy-spitting tantrums have been replaced by confident leadership. He’s now an accomplished footballer, but he’s never beaten Geelong. The day felt like spring was about to break free from the shackles of winter and it was too warm to wear the coat I’ve been lugging around all day. Perhaps there was a sniff of hope in the air.

 

The first quarter was close. The Tigers’ pressure around the ball caused the Cats to make silly mistakes. And while the Tigers had been making plenty of mistakes too, a two point advantage at the first break was a pleasant surprise. The second and third quarters saw plenty of mistakes from both sides. Lincoln McCarthy took a sensational mark over the top of Taylor Hunt and drew a roar of reverence from around the ground. The Tigers were 21 points ahead at half time and 35 points up at three-quarter time, largely due to the Cats’ inaccurate kicking and the heroics of Alex Rance et al. in defence. Somehow, after dominating the inside 50s, Geelong had inexplicably kicked only four goals to Richmond’s eleven.

 

Thirty-five points up with one quarter to go. Did we dare to dream? Could the Tigers hang on to win? Was Jack’s 200th going to get a fairy tale ending? The answer was no. Geelong’s onslaught during the final quarter was terrifying. The Cats kicked six goals (and nine behinds) before the Tigers replied with a single goal to Tyrone Vickery leaving the Tigers four points behind. With 21 seconds left on the clock there was time for one last push forward, and after Trent Cotchin launched an uncharacteristically long kick deep inside 50, Jack flew for a pack mark. But, alas it was not to be. The siren sounded and Geelong had spoiled the party.

 

As I headed to Jolimont Station, I gazed up at the outside of the MCG, and even though the stands have been replaced over the years, it’s just as wonderful as when I came here as a kid. With sport there’s no need to search for hidden meaning to be inspired. Richmond might be an unfinished sketch of a successful football club with players whose skills are smudgy rather than sharp, but I understand what I’m seeing.

 

In the post-match press conference, Damian Hardwick explained that life’s not about fairy tales. Richmond supporters know that all too well.

 

Richmond                     2.4         7.4       11.6       12.6        (78)

Geelong                        2.2         3.7       4.13     10.22        (82)

 

Goals

Richmond: Lloyd 3, Rioli 2, Vickery 2, Edwards, Grigg, Hampson, Lennon, Riewoldt

Geelong: McCarthy 2, Menegola 2, Caddy, J. Selwood, Hawkins, Motlop, Smith, Taylor

 

Best

Richmond: Rance, Martin, Houli, Lloyd, Grigg

Geelong: J. Selwood, Dangerfield, Enright, S. Selwood, Guthrie

 

Crowd: 45,667

 

Our Votes: Rance (Richmond) 3, J. Selwood (Geelong) 2, Dangerfield (Geelong) 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. Stainless says:

    I feel for you, Gill. GWS and Richmond in the space of 24 hours. No – life is certainly nor about fairytales!

    Anyway, good on you for writing about the pain of defeat. A contrast to the Adelaide hordes that have overrun this site in recent months whose “crowing” falls amusingly silent whenever their team loses.

  2. It was certainly a nerve-racking weekend. I don’t know what to expect from the Tigers this weekend, but I’m hoping for a nice relaxing thumping of Freo by the Giants. I just have to deal with the overlap in schedules by avoiding score updates in the Giants game until I can get home from the MCG to watch the recording in delay.

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