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Round 6 – Richmond v Sydney: Disinterest


Oscar is a mate of mine. He’s a talented bloke, studying Fine Arts at Melbourne Uni; he plays, creates music, an occasional fixture at a few Melbourne dances and nightclubs before the proverbial flew into the fan at quite the velocity.


I’m at his, house-sitting. Wake up at his and feed the animals, head home for brekky and a shower, head to work, head back to Oscar’s, fall asleep with the cats and an audiobook. Today, he and his folks are back from their short adventure to another area of governance not in a lockdown; in the Macedon Ranges, we are between hotspots, attaching ourselves to press conferences nervously. We’re off to the pub today.


Oscar walks in a few minutes after his folks rock up, disentangling himself from his nippy i30, passing comment on my haircut done by his little sister last Saturday night. I confirm that my mother’s support of the half-mullet, half-bowl cut that sits crookedly on my scone has not been received.


We’re in my Forester shortly enough, off to Holgates Brewhouse via my joint. Oscar has the aux cord and a traveler, and my intrepid Subi rattles with drum and bass, doof-doof exploding from the wound-down windows, totally teenager-ed bravado. The Tigs are on in a few minutes; my scarf is barred yellow-and-black. I’ve grabbed one of my old man’s t-shirts from the 90’s, nicked from a prominent Tiger’s clothesline in his young adulthood. Mum loved Tony Free; if you look carefully above the shirt’s TAC slogan, you’ll see his signature scrawled carefully within the margins of the framing yellow strip.


‘If you drink then drive, you’re a bloody idiot.’


Out of the Forester at mine, and from the front door rushes the old man himself, lucky t-shirt on, lucky nail-clippers whirring on calloused fingers. Like an endurance rally-car race, we switch the driving seats; I’m in the back, with Oscar. We give the doof-doof a spell.


‘Carna!’ he says, gearing down and resting the car out the front of the establishment.


‘Carna!’ we reply, as he u’ies his way back toward home.


Holgates it is. We’re booked in. Pints of Norton’s, bowl of chips, as the remaining three seats on our table are filled. Oli, Jonah, Josh. Jonah works in Tullamarine, shipping out ventilator parts as a compliment to his first year of uni. He is physically distant. His mullet is better than mine. We tap elbows as the Tiges trot out.


We’re a patched-up lot today, my Tiges. Edwards and Bachar left in Victoria to care for their families. Prestia, Cotchy, Big Sexy Dave, Nank all hurt. Lynchy with a recently operated-on right mitt. Our midfield is intrepid and at times flashy, but the cupboard is somewhat bare.


The Swans are rebuilding. I’m confident.


It’s good footy early. Slick in the wet, Richmond’s midfield charge forward and make use of slippery chaos. Shai Bolton, back in the midfield, looks like Michael Walters when he started to believe. He’s smooth, changes gears effortlessly, kicks the ball high and true.


Chol has a nice sidestep, observe my friends. Riewoldt and Martin kick the first couple before the only highlights of the day – Graham charging forward headlong through a contest, Pickett scooping the ball up and skimming a handball to a runner inside 50, Bolton slicing his kick through the middle. It is a fluid goal. Pickett carries the ball gently, like an overflowing cuppa, careful in handling and distribution, crafty. Even his bump later in the game on Isaac Heeney is visually appealing.


Kennedy hurts a knee in a tackle that on first watch seems nondescript. Rowbottom kicks a beauty; early handballs in the initial contest, working up to a three-on-one skewed against the Swans, intervening and tapping to himself, slicing a kick from the outside of his right peg that slides through the centermost uprights. Quarter time and the game has some spunk to it in the rain.


We are next to the television and have started a tab. ‘That’s dangerous,’ declares Josh. A few of the gentlemen head outside for a smoke.


I sit at the bar, chatting with Bazza, the opening bat for the Woodend 4ths. He’s a much better cricketer than the grade indicates; punchy, exciting, full of shots. A few years ago, in the 3rds, I opened the batting with Bazza, tickling singles around, allotting the strike to the stylish left-hander. He’s a very good player.


Bazza is short, wiry and strong, with a craftsman’s glint in his eye and an easy smile. ‘I hope we get a season in,’ he muses. I can almost imagine him shadow-batting. He’s in to watch the Doggies play Carlton later on.


The game on the television devolves. Sydney have parked the bus and Hardwick, unsure of the quality of his side, seems to grudgingly accept the game’s devolution into farce. I notice not much between rounds, the brilliant Alpha Crucis XPA and the business of catching up. Oscar wants to move out. Oli works most days in a café. Jonah’s enjoying uni.


It might be the beer, but I almost forget the game is on. Noticeable is Kam McIntosh’s hair, the transplant he’s got over summer failing in the oppressive drizzle. I’m sad to see Isaac Heeney helped off the ground. A Tom Papley goal makes the threat of making the game mildly interesting, but that threat fizzes like an untied balloon and comically deflates. I’ve never been this disinterested in a Richmond game.


‘Kick-ons?’ poses Oscar. We sort out the tab, last drinks. A semblance of normality, an attempt at claiming what would have been. I say hooroo to Bazza, walk out the door. It’s dark outside, winterishly drizzling. The streets on a Sunday night are quiet.



RICHMOND   3.3    3.5    4.7    4.10 (34)
SYDNEY        1.3    2.3    2.5    3.8 (26)


 Riewoldt, Martin, Bolton, Lynch
Sydney: Papley 2, Rowbottom


  Lambert, Short, McIntosh, Baker, Broad, Higgins
Sydney: Mills, Lloyd, Cunningham, Florent, Clarke, Heeney


Sydney: Kennedy (knee), Heeney (ankle)



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  1. And the streets of Melbourne are quiet as we acknowledge people with our eyes and learn a new language of mask-mumbling as we order comestibles.
    So glad you at least had a teasing night of what life should be like at your age Paddy!
    Bring on the footy-fest it’s the only thing that we have to look forward to right now. Stay safe and keep the stories coming they are a great tonic for today.

  2. YeahTigers2020 says

    Great piece, Paddy! Love the story about the stolen t-shirt. I remember that slogan well because it’s on my 90s footy jumper. The story about the t-shirt reminded me of Mick Molloy’s story about stealing Mark Lee’s sock out of the dressing room. Important items of clothing. Go Tiges! Jill

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