Round 22 – Richmond v St Kilda: Junior football at the MCG

With finals out of the question, the players from Richmond and St Kilda decided not to play the scheduled match. Most of the players were suffering from the effects of too many late nights and early mornings watching the Olympics, and spirits were low after the Boomers’ capitulation to Serbia in the basketball semi-final. Dimma was happy because the week off meant he got to sit at home and watch the Giants to see a real game plan in action. Alan Richardson enjoyed the respite from younger players talking about Pokémon Go hot spots around Melbourne.


To not disappoint the 35,000 people who turned up to the MCG, a couple of local Under 13s teams were brought in to play on the hallowed turf of the MCG. The Abbotsford South team wore a black jumper with a yellow diagonal stripe, while the Elwood North team wore a white jumper with red and black vertical stripes.


The kids clearly loved running around on a big ground that doesn’t have an astroturf cricket pitch in the centre. And boy it was funny to watch. Despite being inspired by their heroes who play on this very ground, the kids weren’t quite able to execute their skills: handballs missed targets, marks were dropped, kicks were intercepted and shots at goal missed. One of the younger kids, #32 for Elwood North, hurt himself early in the game and left the ground to ask his mum if he could have McDonalds on the way home.


Little #17 for Abbotsford South ran hard and kicked a couple of goals, and word is that a couple of his relatives have made it in the AFL so he might have a future if he works hard. A couple of his teammates, #4 and #18, also tried their hearts out but lacked the support of other players. For the Elwood North team, #6, #11 and #8 showed some potential, but most were out of their depth.


As recent graduates of the Auskick program, the kids on both teams haven’t had much experience with tackling or other physical aspects of the game, and given the size of the ground, goals were few and far between. Some of the kids looked confused about their positioning because they were unable to find their parents in the crowd for guidance.


Elwood North won by 15 points in a low-scoring game. Given that these Under 13 kids have only recently graduated to a form of the competition where they keep score, there is plenty of time for improvement and plenty of time to dream of winning a grand final on this very ground.


Abbotsford South:      2.1       2.5       3.9       6.10     (46)

Elwood North:            3.5       5.8       5.10     7.13     (55)



Abbotsford South: #17 (2), #43, #8, #36, #23

Elwood North: #32 (2), #28 (2), #22, #12, #15



Abbotsford South: #4, #18, #17, #1, #23

Elwood North: #6, #11, #8, #16, #3, #12


Crowd: 35,255


Our Votes: #6 (Elwood North) 3, #11 (Elwood North) 2, #17 (Abbotsford South) 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.

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