Round 7 – Richmond v Collingwood: A Write-up Purely Dictated by Crowd Comments

I started watching the Richmond and Collingwood match with the intention of writing an article about it. I had no idea what the angle would be, but I was determined to find one. I didn’t have long to wait. Richmond’s early dismal play led to some great comments from the crowd.


“Where’s Rance? He’s not on Cloke! Who’s that on Cloke? Todd who?”
Spectators spent a panicked 10 seconds searching for Rance, usually noticeable with his tan and long skins under his shorts. Then we found him in the centre square on Dane Swan. And all hell broke loose. Dimma’s early move threw everyone, including Cloke. So much so that he regained his long-lost goal-kicking accuracy within two minutes. Flimsy Footy Record pages were ripped in the haste to discover just who no. 43 was. Todd Elton, in for his second game ever, playing on Travis Cloke. Elton’s big for a second-gamer, but Cloke was bigger.

The favourite go-to of my next-door neighbour in the Richmond members. I think it’s a result of years of desperation. It got a fair work out in that first quarter.

“Where’s Rance now?”
“He’s playing loose-”
“They’re all playing loose!”
The classic Richmond coping mechanism. When spirits drop on the ground, the humour comes out.

Also a Richmond classic.

“Seven years I’ve been watching this crap!”
I was initially confused at this one. I may be relatively young, but I feel like I’ve been “watching this crap” (read stagnant, backward footy) for a lot longer than seven years. And then I realised that it was seven years since we’d beaten Collingwood. To be honest, I thought it was longer.


Again, all hell broke loose. But, thankfully for my fellow supporters and me (apparently that’s the correct grammar; I was told in my journalism lecture), it was the good kind. The kind we haven’t seen for a very long time.

“And that -” *points* – “is why Morris should never be let out of the back pocket.”
Steve Morris marked 30m out, on a slight angle. At this stage, only Grigg had kicked a second quarter goal, so we were all still pretty anxious. And Morris played on, it nearly got turned over, but luckily Kamdyn McIntosh (what a name!) showed some pretty fancy finishing skills, kicking it from an even tighter angle, virtually on the boundary line.

“See what happens when you run?”
I can’t remember what goal this was in reference to – when you kick eight goals in one quarter they all merge into one.

This one was a collective quote – “yes, yes, yes, NO NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO!”
Unbeknownst to us, the umpire had called touched on a ball that Liam “The String” McBean had marked. He played on, and in a similar mess to the McIntosh goal, the ball eventually ended up with Brandon Ellis who finished it off perfectly, completely oblivious to the heart attack we had just suffered.

Spiritual leader Ivan Maric kicks a goal. When Ivvy’s kicking goals, everyone gets excited. Especially him. His celebrations are a sight to behold.

“Start your run like last year!” “Hit them with a blitz!”
My fellow supporters were getting pretty excited at this point. Five goals in nine minutes will do that to you, especially when we had almost topped last week’s final score halfway through the second.

“Oh no, you go for it, after you lads!”
All of a sudden the pressure valve was released by the Tigers, and Collingwood started getting on top. They were first to the ball, and Jamie Elliot (a small forward, our Achilles heel of the last 10 years), kicked an excellent goal.

(To be read in a crescendo) – “Jack, Jaaack, JAAAACKK!”
“Atta boy Jack!”
“Jack the Magpie killer!”
Jack Riewoldt, previously unsighted aside from his brief and ill-fated start in the middle, kicked two goals in what seemed to be two minutes. The second was a ripper banana from the boundary line. We rose as one.

“If Ty’s kicking goals like that, anything could happen.”
Enough said.

“No cheap goals.”
If Richmond’s biggest weakness is their inability to control small forwards (or produce one of their own now I mention it), their second biggest is conceding goals in the last two minutes of quarters. It’s so regular you can almost set your clock to it. Almost. This time they didn’t.


“He’s the best thing to come out of Carlton.”
Shaun Grigg kicked the opening goal of the third quarter, and we started to believe.

“He’s such a better footballer when he leads like that”
Jack Riewoldt. Lead. Jump. Mark. Goal. Suddenly we’d kicked the first two of the third quarter, and were out to a four-goal lead.

“Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers!”
“Pick them up!”
Collingwood lifted their game in the third quarter, and their relentless pressure, run and spread left the Tigers choking. The natives were getting restless.

“KICK IT!” (player handballs) “Oh, good work!”
Richmond’s daring kept them in touch with Collingwood at three-quarter time. The fans thought they knew better, but as usual, the players proved otherwise.


(and my favourite) “COTCH!”
I have no notes from the fourth quarter for two reasons. Firstly, the crowd was reduced to a babbling wreck, only capable of producing noises. Trent Cotchin produced one of his most influential quarters of his career, right when his team needed it. When he runs in that hunched over, Ablett/Judd-like way, you know he’s on song. He evades like Pendlebury, bursts through packs like Dangerfield, runs like Fyfe and marks like Bartel.

“How long?”
“One minute-”
“Three minutes-”
“30 seconds!-”
“You said that two minutes ago!”
The second reason I had no notes is that I was very close to throwing up with nerves. When Jack Riewoldt kicked the Tigers’ final goal, there was still an excruciating four minutes left – but I had to look that up post-match; at the time, no one had a clue how long we had left. It didn’t stop everyone putting their guess in the ring, adding to the general hysteria.

And the roar when the siren went was one of pure relief.

About Sarah Black

I'm a freelance sports journalist, primarily covering AFLW for AFL Media, but I have a passion for all sports. (Except rugby. Someone needs to explain the point of that game to me.) Having never grown past 5 foot tall, I've given up my dream of being the first professional dual netball/football player and I'm doing the next best thing - writing about it.


  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    Fantastic piece Sarah! You (and the other fans) captured the atmosphere of the game perfectly. It was a real nailbiter with plenty of twists and turns. Keep up the good work!

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Thanks for that. Felt I was there. Loved the take from supporters chorus. Keep me coming


  3. Clever stuff

    Good to know the spectator comments are pretty much the same for Tigers fans regardless of where we sit or watch

    Good idea, nice piece


  4. Earl O'Neill says

    Great piece, Sarah, love how you capture the flow of the match via the spectators’ moods.

  5. Sarah Black says

    Thanks, and glad you all enjoyed it! I’ve been tossing this idea around for a while – I think it would be interesting to write a similar piece after a massive loss (I’m sure it’ll come at some point this season), as the people around me generally seem to enjoy having the time afforded by Richmond not having the ball to come up with some clever lines.

  6. I have a Tiger supporting mate and sitting with him at RFC games, is like being Tom Hafey’s 2 I.C back in the old days:

    “Arrgh, You can’t just…” [play goes on]

    “Arrrgh, not there, not to him, he’s standin’ bloody flat-footed.”

    “Arrrgh that’s crap, Bash (Bachar). [to no one in particular] If ya gunna just turn the aggot over overtime ya get it, what’s the fkn point…”

    “Argh, PUNCH FROM BEHIND, you spud. How many times…?”

    “Arrrgh, too many bloody lose men ‘Toiges’ (sic)”

    “This is sht, I’m off for a beer. [To me] Comin’?

    And my personal fave;

    “Arrrgh, bloody hell Toiges (sic).”

    Worth the price of admission!

  7. Mickey Randall says

    I’ve thought about this, and can confirm that Richmond fans are the most tortured on our planet.

    Thanks Sarah.

  8. Sarah,
    I was imagining the people that said those things, how they looked, how old they were, what they were wearing.
    Fans are negative and positive inside a second.
    It’s hard not to be.
    Great story.

  9. Matt Zurbo says

    On long weekend or night games you can tell the footy players in the crowd from regular goers. When a bloke is about to be tackled the goer will yell, “Kick it, kick it, kick it!” and the suburban footy player will yell, “You’re hot! Hot, hot, hot!”

    Totally agree with Iron Mike. A ripper piece!

  10. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Yup. A small recorder at any game would give the full story just in sound bites.
    Well done to have captured and translated, Sarah.
    I sit next to an absolute pro in the O’Reilly; he’s like a personal commentator. Makes the game.
    And I agree with Mickey – you are tortured (my auto correct just tried to turn this into ‘ruptured’ – and may be right!) souls. I couldn’t do it. So, bravo.

  11. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable read Sarah you took us to the g and captured the emotions perfectly
    some great comments above old dog is spot on re the watcher compared to a footballers call when a player is about to be caught

  12. Great article, captured all the emotions us Tiger fans sense and evoke week in, week out. Looking forward to hearing those comments and seeing a similar result this sunday arvo against the Power (a.k.a. the other magpies) ……eat ’em alive Tigers!

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sarah hopefully this article resonates with you and other tiger tragics

  14. Steve McP says

    What a bewdy!!!

  15. Dave Brown says

    I frequently get strange looks when shouting “you’re hot” at the footy

  16. Peter O'Neill says

    Great stuff again Sarah – Tigers on the March – Caroline Wilson move over there’s a new female number one journalist in my football world!

Leave a Comment