Round 5 – Richmond v Melbourne: The Conversion of S.Jordan

The morning was given to football, hours at school passed with one eye fixated upon the clock, its painful creep onward.

The afternoon was given to football.

And the evening, night and early morning was given wholeheartedly and absolutely to football.

In the troupe: a happy Tomcat, a patient Blue, two skittish Tigers and a footballing entrant, casting his eye upon the great game for the first time. S.Jordan, welcome.

Going to the football amongst friends. Anzac Eve, two proud clubs with history. Unbeaten Richmond. The injured and battling Demons. Round 5, where things begin to take shape and form.

For S.Jordan’s first game at the’G’, this wasn’t too bad.

A bus to J.Hebb’s after a long Monday. Beanies donned. Scarves fed around necks. Tips and debate.

These Tigers are impressive. Dustin Martin and friends in the guts. Hercules in #18, ably supported by whippy flankers and the dependables, Grimes and Astbury. Riewoldt and his crew of goalsneaks, Rioli the Younger, Castangna, Butler. A proverbial Goliath from Sydney, T.Nankervis.

The Dees, well. No Gawn. No Jordan Lewis. But Jack Viney and Nathan Jones are hard at it. Jayden Hunt has speed and smarts. Jesse Hogan is good, Tom McDonald is a handful, C.Petracca and M.Hibberd classy. Clayton Oliver doesn’t stop working, Jeff Garlett is dangerous.

They are good. But without Gawn in the centre they are weakened.

The consensus among us is Richmond, by three kicks and some change. We amble to the station, say “G’day” to those we recognise. Another mate, off from the Southern Cross train – “Your mob are shit.”

“Go Tigs”, I wink.

Train’s packed. We take a seat on the floor. L.Hedger realises that the tickets are on the coffee table, 40ks the other way. Photos are sent through the phone, with thanks to Gabe.

“Will they still work?

“Yeah, we’ll be right.”

Off at platform eight. Subway and sushi for dinner, a tram down Collins. We walk up to Jolimont, through Yarra Park. I am examining S.Jordan’s reaction to the crushing weight of what would be 85K fans. He is yet to waver.

We get through the gate with some difficulty, make our way to the top, shoulder our way to the seats. We arrive, then stand, as the Last Post is played. A deafening hush finds its way to the MCG and settles.

The anthem. The roar. S.Jordan likes it.

The game begins with a growl from the terraces. J.Hebb, grinning impishly, jumps aboard the Dees. Tiger L.Aarons is less than amused.

The Tiges settle second. Melbourne control play, only to bomb the pigskin into pack after pack. Yet, after six consecutive inside-50’s, the Tiges find space forward of centre, rush it manically forward and find Riewoldt on his left peg. Bingo.

He is found again, much the same way. Over the back, into fifty; Jack. The Dees have the game but their execution lacks poise.

Finally, McDonald finds a run and goals. The game is not pretty.

L.Hedger notes the poor work ethic of D.Martin. I find myself in agreement.

The deliberate rule makes a sneaky appearance, as Astbury is pinged. Hogan gets his first.

As the resident whistle-blower in the group, heads swivel down the row. They receive a churlish affirmative. You can’t belt the ball over the line with no-one close, surely.

It is Jack Watts from 50 who ends the term, Melbourne in the lead, Melbourne in control. They have the midfield won, but their forward entries leave much to be desired.

In the second, it’s more of the same. The Tiges can’t get past centre but when they do they seem to score. The Dees have their measure.

Both L.Aarons and myself aren’t happy. J.Hebb is keeping a lid on it. S.Jordan’s eyes are widening by the minute. L.Hedger is playing teacher to the fast learning New South Welshman, capably describing Melbourne’s forward press.

They are obviously the better team, but can’t get that four goal buffer. Shaun Grigg dobs a goal in the dying seconds of the half to keep the game in sight.

I think the Dees have it. I text Dad, on the other side of the ‘G’. He is not amused.

Riewoldt and Rance are colossal. Houli is busy, Grimes works hard and Nankervis is dominant. Yet for the Tigers, that is almost it. Jack Viney and his group of snappy midfielders are outperforming Richmond’s, while Jayden Hunt off half back has spent the half slicing the Tiges open.

They do it again in the third. Hunt can play. Hibberd has a boot on him. The Tigers are hapless, yet Riewoldt is still trying. The lead is 20 and that will be all.

Strangely my mood is upbeat, my smile intact. It’s been a good night.

But then.

Here come the Tigers.

All of a sudden the midfield clicks. Jack dobs number five, Rioli turns up, goals, and Dusty finally takes a break from butchering the Sherrin and bags his first. The forward pressure is finally there. Melbourne stops.

The stadium is jumping, jumping. S.Jordan has been converted.

But I know these Tigers.

“I’ve seen this movie before,” I say as the score levels. “I know how it ends.”

My arms are crossed. I wouldn’t dream of winning this one.

Riewoldt marks on the pickets. The crowd settles.

“I reckon he might kick this,” muses L.Aarons.

Jack runs in and strikes it. He strikes it well.

“YYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASHSHSSSSSHSHSSSSSSSSHSHSS!!!!”

The boys are on their feet, off their heads. We are incredulous. J.Hebb’s allegiance to the red and blue is forgotten, all is well with the world.

The handy point is taken.

And then: a forward entry.

Again, the crowd rises to its feet. Caddy, in the goalsquare, is spoilt. But the bounce is good.

It is very very good. A snap.

Yes. Ye-he-hes.

S.Jordan is lost in the kerfuffle, emerging, glasses askew, beaming. We are somehow winning this game.

We have somehow won this game. Tigerland booms out over the ‘G’. We sing the song four times.

Stumbling through the rain with my mates, through the crowd.

“Sammy boy, you may have to follow this thing.”

S.Jordan nods. “I may have to”.

We are laughing, through Fitzroy Gardens, through this magnificent city.

 

RICHMOND       3.1    6.6    7.11    12.16    (88)                 

MELBOURNE    3.4    7.6    11.7    11.9      (75)

 

GOALS

Richmond: Riewoldt 6, Castagna, Butler, Grigg, Rioli, Martin, Caddy.

Melbourne: Hogan 3, Garlett 2, McDonald, Watts, Petracca, Salem, Hibberd, Hunt

 

BEST

Richmond: Riewoldt, Nankervis, Houli, Rance, Martin, Caddy, Grigg.

Melbourne: Oliver, Hunt, N.Jones, Hibberd, Viney, Neal-Bullen.

 

VOTES

Nankervis (Rich) 1, Oliver (Melb) 2, Riewoldt (Rich) 3.

Comments

  1. Hey Paddy!
    Is it time yet to think about transitioning from hope to …..b..b…b…elief? It’s a huge leap.

    It was a great night and you have captured it perfectly.
    Well done.

  2. Paddy Grindlay says:

    Tess,

    We may be close. Go Tiges.

  3. JBanister says:

    This is brilliant Paddy. Bloody brilliant.
    As was Jack…
    Go Tiges!

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