Round 6 – Richmond v Port Adelaide: We’re halfway there

Richmond vs Port Adelaide

7.25pm, Saturday 30th April

MCG

By Cathryn McDonald

 

(Lyrics from Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi)

 

“Once upon a time, not so long ago…”

From 6pm on Thursday night, we know we don’t have a chance. Robbie and Chad, 1st and 2nd in last year’s B&F, both out? People scramble to change their tips. Those who’ve already had to put their tips in complain. Still, there are three big reasons to head across the border as planned:

a) Never Tear Us Apart and all that.
b) No refunds on cheap flights.
c) When you get thrashed for the third week in a row, the last place you want to be is Adelaide.

“We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not”

Melbourne is such a good place to be a fan of a team out of form. There’s a camaraderie that’s completely absent from the warring subcultures of the Adelaide scene. We stay with family friends in Footscray. The younger sister stays in a room that’s a museum and shrine to the Doggies, her third team (North are her second). In the pubs and the trains, we exchange knowing and sympathetic commentary with Bombers, Blues, Saints, Doggies, Magpies and all and sundry: “Do you want Leuenberger?” “We’re not that desperate!”
Our footy weekend starts with drinks with our Footscray hosts at the bustling Royal Melbourne, before the top of the table Friday Night clash at Etihad. We hype this clash up so much on the flight over, and it’s a bit underwhelming. I’m a fish out of water in Level 3 GA, surrounded by the kind of North hangers-on who leave before the final siren. With the bare minimum of a soundtrack, and the players so far away, it feels like watching a computer game. Our Port-attired squad make our own fun up in the nosebleeds. The younger sister enjoys this kind of football and is beside herself at the final siren.

“We’ve got each other and that’s a lot
For love, we’ll give it a shot”

We cross town with the blue-and-white multitude, to a karaoke bar with Never Tear Us Apart on the song list. Our rendition of Livin’ on a Prayer makes me sentimental. I associate this song with Gus. It was the song that played through the PA as we left the stadium, just after Gus made it go at “right angles, Tim” to win the last Showdown at Footy Park. I miss him and Paddy.

“Tommy whispers,
Baby, it’s OK, someday…”

So this is how Essendon fans feel every week. We prepare for a slaughter: in-jokes, black humour, props. We end up with an inflatable Chad Wingard and five novelty horses on sticks. The latter is thanks to a conversation last night, wondering how hard could it be to get horses into the G. According to Richmond in Round 1, quite difficult!

The first quarter is exactly what you’d expect. We’re a rabble. No composure, no teamwork, no accuracy, no hope. But we do have some luck, because Richmond are even worse. We’re still waiting for the knockout blow, Boaky hasn’t touched the footy I think, but we’re up at quarter time.
“Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer”

From the second quarter, we work out what we’re doing. Half the team are playing in the wrong positions but it works. It takes a while for the away end to comprehend that everything is alright, but when we do, we come alive. Defender Impey kicks three in his forward-line debut, and hundreds of Twitter experts say “I told you so”.  Broadbent launches the goal of the week from 80 metres out on the run. Youngy almost takes mark of the week, but not quite. Comeback kid Krakouer has a lot of making-up to do with the fanbase, but all is forgiven when he slots a critical goal from 50 off one step, cool as a cucumber.

We party like kids on a school camp, waving our horses in the air at every Richmond mistake. Chappy gets owned by Dixon and reminds everyone why we’re so glad he’s gone. At one point we all end up on TV complaining about a third umpire call and next minute the picture is all over Facebook. The game is sealed in the last few minutes, with renditions of “I Believe”, the club song and “Horses”.

We’ve killed Richmond’s season and kept ours alive. We’ll still get creamed by a good team, but we’re halfway there. Boak and Hartlett walk off in each other’s arms. The emotion on Charlie’s face, as we sing his name when he walks past the cheer squad at the end of the game, tells the story. Gus’s two-word congratulatory tweet gets 64 retweets and 386 likes.

“We’ve gotta hold on, ready or not
You live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got”

The next day, the younger sister “goes native” and rocks up late to Carlton vs Essendon, aka “the worst game ever”. She waits an hour to see a goal. However, there are twice as many people there as last night. Is Saturday night footy really that unpopular in Melbourne, when it’s Port’s pet timeslot at home or away? Or does it have something to do with Richmond?

The less footy-obsessed members of our party hit the shops instead. News filters through that Adelaide United have won the A-League Grand Final, Essendon lost, and Lobbe has gone down with a long-term knee injury in the SANFL. As we wander through the Emporium between H&M and Topshop, the coffee shop radio blares out Livin’ on a Prayer.

 

RICHMOND             2.2   5.4      8.10     8.11   (59)
PORT ADELAIDE     2.7   7.10   11.13   13.16   (94)

 

GOALS
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Grigg 2, Vickery, Martin, Deledio
Port Adelaide: Impey 3, Dixon 2, Young 2, Neade 2, Westhoff, Broadbent, Boak, Krakouer

BEST
Richmond: Martin, Grigg, Houli, Riewoldt
Port Adelaide: Broadbent, Polec, Wines, Impey, Pittard, Krakouer , Hombsch

 

Umpires: Rosebury, Mollison, Roberts

 

Crowd: 27,077

 

My votes: Broadbent 3, Polec 2, Impey 1

About Cathryn McDonald

One-eyed Port Adelaide supporter, music geek and appreciator of the "match day experience".

Comments

  1. Kerry Smith says

    Hi Cathryn
    I agree…we will still get creamed by a good team. But you captured brilliantly the chaotic joy of the win nobody expected. I look forward to reading more of your reports.
    Go Power.
    Kind Regards
    Kerry Smith

  2. Cathryn McDonald says

    Thanks Kerry! It certainly was chaotic. All of my away trips seem to end in chaos (of the footy variety at least) and I like it!

    I find those kind of scrappy games are more fun in the away end. People are in holiday mood and not taking things so seriously. At the Portress we’d be panicking about our lack of polish instead of soaking up the win.

  3. Kerry Smith says

    Hi again Cathryn
    My guess it will be just as chaotic and unpredictable at the Portress on Sunday against the Lions. Thunderstorms and Jacko in the ruck! What a way to celebrate Mother’sDay…
    Kerry

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