Round 22 – Richmond v St Kilda: When does the cricket start?

To be honest, this clash between the struggling Tigers and the close-but-no-cigar Saints was never going to be anything substantial. Both sides had bugger-all to play for and no reason to risk injuries to key players, souring the oncoming pre-season.

 

So what was this game? Why take the long drive down to Jolimont to probably be disappointed once again?

 

The final home game of the year is an opportunity, folks. An opportunity to say hooroo to the Tiggs and perhaps drool over the likes of Rioli, Menadue and Markov. To chant along with the Tiger Army, to get unintentionally emotionally involved and possibly to roar Yellow and Black! one final time. The year is done, so why not?

 

But alas, what was served up by both Saints and Tigers alike was akin to watching a bulldog eat custard. I can’t decide on the highlight of the game; was it Todd Elton kicking it straight to an opponent kicking from the defensive goalsquare? Brandon Ellis missing an unattended teammate with a five metre handpass for the umpteenth time? Perhaps it was Andrew Moore helpfully belting an opponent in front of the officiating umpire. I could go on.

 

Seriously, the game was abysmal. The only Tiger who didn’t insult was pint-sized Dan Rioli, who gave the exasperated Richmondites in M1-3 a reason to cheer. A lot.

 

To be fair, half the VFL side was getting a run. You won’t see the likes of Lambert, Elton, both Moores, Hunt or Grigg too much next year, while Brandon Ellis and Shane Edwards may find themselves elsewhere after the Red Wedding that will be the Richmond list management meeting.

 

The Saints looked half-unconscious too. Their victory was about as casual as Arya Stark with a pointy piece of metal, just scraping over their opponents in the most comprehensive nine point win of all time. Seb Ross cuddled and booted everything within sight, while Leigh Montagna trotted about half-back to gather a handsome swag of possessions. Old mate Nick was galloping around like a Labrador with ADHD while the baby-faced Jack Billings was impressive at half-forward.

 

The Tigers’ beat players were few and far between. Oh yeah, Dusty gathered plenty of the ball and behemoth Alex Rance was typically impenetrable down back, but apart from the whippy Rioli that was all. Richmond for most of the game couldn’t hit a target for the life of them, gleefully butchering the ball with malicious intent. The Saints could have laid no tackles and just waited down the line for the Tigers to inexplicably turn the ball over. Repeat offenders Grigg, Andrew Moore, Martin and Sam Lloyd especially made a habit of kindly giving the ball back to the Saints.

 

And the umpiring? Well, not exceptional. It’s hard to keep concentration when the standard of play is so dismal. My personal favourite free of the game was a deliberate out-of-bounds free against Brandon Ellis on the wing. The free was clear as day, but the incredulous reaction of the Tiger Army was priceless.

 

There really wasn’t that much to take away from the game. Ironically, the screeching pair of merchandise-clad PA jockeys were all about “giving back to the members” throughout the slog. If what we members wanted was 2 and a half hours of painfully bad football, we certainly got it in abundance.

 

So what happens now for the typically toothless Tigers? A mass cull, by the looks of things. Ty Vickery looks gone already, while a number of others are sure to follow. With Dion Prestia’s arrival at Tigerland will come a rather bloody trade period, hopefully followed by a much more bearable season of football.

 

Next week the Tiges will probably blood more cubs in the last game of the year. They’ll play the Swans, who are gearing up for a withering assault at the throne Hawthorn have held for so long.

 

Cue “The Rains of Castamere”.

 

RICHMOND       2.1      2.5      3.9       6.10      (46)
ST KILDA          3.5      5.8      5.10     7.13      (55)

 

GOALS
Richmond: Rioli 2, Elton, Riewoldt, Moore, Lambert
St Kilda: McCartin 2, Membrey 2, Gresham, Riewoldt, Billings

 

BEST
Richmond: Rioli, Grimes, Rance, Vlastuin, Martin.
St Kilda: Ross, Montagna,  Riewoldt, Steven, Billings.

 

VOTES

ROSS (StK) 3, MONTAGNA (StK) 2, RIOLI (RICH) 1.

 

Comments

  1. Jamie Mason says:

    Summed it up beautifully.. Interesting discussion .. Who in that 22 plays in first game next year?

  2. Peter Warrington says:

    Nice stuff Paddy. Good end to a terrible season!

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