Round 4 – Richmond v Melbourne: Hogan’s Heroes

It’s Thursday night and I’m already partly sure that we’ll get rolled. The evil footy gods that have been trip-trapping around Punt Road since 1982 have shown up again to strike down Newy and Chaplin. They also found time to lock Brett Deledio in the broom cupboard and beat his calf back into submission. With the Tigers only having won 2 of the 10 games they’ve played with Deledio out, the underdog Dees look likely for tomorrow’s clash.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Well then. I sat in the gods all night as swirly wind and rain flew around the ‘G and could not pick out a low point of the game through the many options. Was it debutant Drummond and his horrific knee injury? Our tall forwards kicking 1.5 combined (plus two out-of-bounds-on-the-full)? Or the entire second half, which was rife with fumbles, turnovers and terrible disposal? For the second time in three weeks, Richmond have given up against a side which simply want the ball more than them and go much harder at the footy. When the going got tough in the third and fourth quarters, the yellow-and-black warriors lay down and meekly surrendered to a much better Melbourne outfit.

Shane Edwards is an obscenely talented footballer. In a midfield that lacked poise and grit throughout the game, the clearance machine was one of just three Tiger mids to take the challenge to Jones and co. He led the Tigers with seven clearances, five tackles, a goal and six inside 50’s to go with his 24 touches. Cotchin and Miles tried hard all night, but apart from Edwards they had no help in the guts.

And who are these kids dominating the Melbourne engine room? A reasonably experienced Richmond side couldn’t get a hand on first year players such as VandenBerg and Brayshaw. While both had poor disposal efficiency and not as many possessions as you’d expect, their pressure and toughness proved to be more important in a wet and scrappy affair. Jones was typically brilliant and though Vince wasn’t tagging Cotchin or Martin extensively, his effort and work in the contest added to a standout midfield performance from the Dees. Ivan Maric had it over Jamar with 34 hitouts, but Ivvy’s mates in the centre were often absent.

On the topic of Martin, he simply wasn’t good enough. Stats will tell you that he had plenty of the ball and laid enough tackles to pick up a nice footy card, but he wasn’t getting into the contested ball anywhere near enough. The young man is a bull, quick, strong and sublimely skilled, but his toughness was needed desperately by his team, and he did not deliver. This was also true of Houli, Grigg, Ellis and McIntosh. Albeit they are used for their outside run, their kicking wasn’t accurate and they lacked the ability to go in and get the ball. Heritier Lumumba was the only Demon midfielder who was guilty of this; Richmond had at least five. In this part of the game, Melbourne dominated. With twenty more rebound 50’s, their effort to run the ball out of defense was not even closely checked by the Tigers.

Jesse Hogan monstered Rance all night. The absence of gorilla-man Chaplin really hurt us as Hogan ran amok in a difficult game for big forwards, kicking two and beating Rance in the air, taking six marks to the All-Australian’s two. For a young man in just his fourth game of AFL to destroy possibly the best backman in the league send shivers down every other teams’ collective spines. Dawes was relatively quiet, but kicked two goals. Astbury kept him out of the game, but the damage from the ex-pie was already dealt.

What’s the excuse for Richmond? Injuries could have easily lost this game for the Tiges, with the absences of Deledio, Chaplin, Newman, Conca, Knights, Foley and even the possible run from Drummond standing out more than the incredible lack of effort shown by the other members of the side. But the enhanced skill that those seven players would’ve brought to the ground probably wouldn’t have changed the game. The rain, wind and Paul Roos gameplan (ick!) would still be present. The only thing that might have changed was Richmond’s attack on the footy.

RICHMOND    3.5   5.9    6.13   6.15 (51)
MELBOURNE  4.2   6.5   10.9   12.11 (83)

Richmond: Edwards 2, Gordon, Arnott, Griffiths, Hunt
Melbourne: Hogan 2, Dawes 2, Garlett 2, Kennedy-Harris, Vandenberg, Watts, Jones, Brayshaw, Vince

Richmond: Edwards, Miles, Cotchin.
Melbourne: Jones, vandenBerg, Hogan, Brayshaw, Vince, McDonald.


Hogan (Melb) 1, Edwards (Rich) 2, Jones (Melb) 3.


  1. Matt Zurbo says

    Mate, what a great read!! So good! Look forward to reading lots of your stuff in the future!

  2. Callum O'Connor says

    Terrible performance by the Tiges – Melbourne figured out how to play wet weather footy and we just stopped. We needed to be 4-0 now.
    That said, I always love a good analysis piece, which is what this is.
    *thumbs up*

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Paddy good thorough analysis have to disagree with you re the tigers missing
    Chaplin he wouldn’t get a game for Callums lower plenty 3rds . Melbourne were way to physical and it was weird watching a 1st year player in Brayshaw starring in that way . Love the title and Hogan looks like he could be special

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