Round 21 – Richmond v Gold Coast: Kick it to Jack

 

The day begins with a dilemma we’ve never before faced when going to the footy in August: should we just wear shorts and t-shirts? And because we’re up here on the Gold Coast, the answer – happily – is yes.

 

We and many others have escaped Melbourne’s winter for the weekend and there’s plenty of yellow and black being worn on the streets and at the beach. And it’s at the beach that I finally realise that the colours on the Suns’ jumpers are the colours on the flags used by lifesavers to tell us where it’s safe to swim. We’re expecting a win today, and after the past tough couple of weeks, especially the thriller against Geelong, this is a time to catch our breath and a time to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

 

There’s a relaxed atmosphere inside the gates at Metricon Stadium. It’s a world apart from the claustrophobia-inducing enclosure of Etihad Stadium and the massive grey expanse of the MCG. Metricon is open and airy with plenty of space for crowds to linger: food shops (but sadly they just sell the usual junk food found at the footy in Melbourne), tables and chairs, music, and activities for kids. There’s even a footy oval off to one side that is filled with kids kicking footys. The crowd is 90% Richmond and there’s a long line for the Richmond merchandise shop but no interest in the Suns’ merchandise.

 

The struggle to get Gold Coast locals to take an interest in the Suns has been well documented in the media and can’t be helped by the non-availability of general admission tickets. When buying tickets online we were forced to buy reserved seats, which was okay because we’d come up here to come to the footy but might be an unnecessary barrier to locals coming along to a stadium that holds 25,000 but is almost always empty.

 

The first quarter begins well enough. Jack Riewoldt, with his face covered in zinc cream, is lively early and kicks three goals and one behind before the Suns hit the scoreboard. If this continues Jack is in for a big day out. Jack Higgins, who clearly hadn’t read the memo about which Jack was supposed to do all the scoring this quarter, contributes a behind before the correct Jack rounds out the quarter with his fourth goal. He’s kicked four goals three and has all but one point of Richmond’s score.

 

In the second quarter Josh Caddy gets in on the action and kicks three goals. Even though we’re towards the front of level two, we feel close to the action and can hear the players yelling and the thud of boot on ball. Even better is the overwhelming home crowd advantage for an away game. Jack adds another to his tally; he’s got five to half time and could be on target for double figures.

 

Half time brings respite for the Suns players but the woes of the Suns up here on the Gold Coast are exemplified in the half-time interview of a little kid who had done something very important to do with Milo.

 

The conversation went like this:

Suns’ Media Person: Who’s your favourite player?
Little kid: Dustin Martin
SMP: Who’s your favourite Suns player?
LK: Tom Lynch.

 

Early in the third quarter Jack unselfishly gives a goal to Caddy, but everyone in the crowd wishes that he’d taken the shot himself to add another to his total. In a seven-goal quarter for the Tigers, Jack kicks three goals to take his total to eight and set the stage for an exciting last quarter. There’s a buzz in the crowd. Will he get the 10? Will his five misses prove costly? Will giving off the goal to Caddy make him fall short?

 

This is all about Jack now but he doesn’t see any action in front of goal until half way through the fourth quarter. The Suns kick the first two goals of the quarter, including one to Callum Ah Chee who had jumped high over David Astbury’s shoulders to take a sensational mark. The Suns are trying to double team Jack; they don’t want to be the team that lets him kick 10 but their efforts just leave other players open. The relaxed atmosphere of earlier in the afternoon has given way to rising tension that is like that felt in a close game at the MCG.

 

Kick it to Jack!
Kick it to Jack!

 

A behind to Jack has the crowd groaning; that’s his sixth miss for the match. Then Dusty kicks a goal. And then, at the 20 minute mark of the quarter, Jack kicks his ninth. The excitement in the crowd is palpable.

 

Kick it to Jack!
Kick it to Jack!

 

But the Suns have other ideas and use up valuable time kicking two goals of their own. And then, it happened. The ball was propelled from defence to attack in typical Richmond style – with Daniel Rioli and Higgins running and handballing straight down the middle of the ground to get the ball to Jack who collected it and with (as we found out later) only seconds left on the clock, snapped truly to the delight of the 18,000-strong Richmond crowd and the Richmond players who had all contributed to giving Jack – and us – a day to remember.

 

Gold Coast      1.1       3.5       3.8       7.9       (51)
Richmond       4.4       8.5       15.9     19.11   (125)

 

Goals
Gold Coast: Leslie, Sexton, Swallow, Ah Chee, Weller, Young, Holman
Richmond: Riewoldt 10, Caddy 4, Ellis 2, Vlastuin, Edwards, Martin

Best
Gold Coast: Hanley, Fiorini, Miller, Harbrow, Lyons
Richmond: Riewoldt, Martin, Caddy, Lambert, Short, Ellis

Crowd: 18,102

Our votes: 3 Riewoldt (Richmond), 2 Martin (Richmond), 1 Caddy (Richmond)

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. Terry Riordan says:

    No general admission tickets !!! Interesting the Brisbane Lions appear to have the same policy … It’s no wonder people do not attend the footy in Queensland
    Might as well pack The Suns up and ship them to Tasmania … I fear they are doomed

  2. Ben Fenton-Smith says:

    I too wondered why Ticketek’s website says almost every bay is ‘allocation exhausted’ – then you get there and the bays are empty.

    And I can vouch that your reporting of the half time conversation with the little kid is word-for-word true and was very funny.

    Nice work Gill, glad you enjoyed your sojourn up here.

  3. Joe De Petro says:

    Sounds like a nice weekend away in the sun, Gill. Love the the half time story.

    A couple of my mates went to this game last year and stayed in a motel very close to the ground. The receptionist looked up, saw them in their Tigers gear and said: “Tigers, eh? I like Tigers. Who are they playing against?”

    Not much chance of success for the Suns, in my opinion.

  4. Hi Terry and Ben, the lack of general admission tickets is just crazy. Forcing people to buy reserved seats effectively doubles the cost of going to the footy, and if there are families who are curious but not full on AFL fans, it’s easy to see that they wouldn’t bother going. This is a real pity because it’s a great place to watch footy.

    Hi Joe, it was so nice to feel properly warm outdoors. I highly recommend it. This trip was part of our occasional series of getting around the country to see different footy grounds. It’s a pity that they haven’t managed to engage the local population.

Leave a Comment

*