Round 8 – North Melbourne v Richmond: Moments

North Melbourne v Richmond

1:10PM, Sunday 13 May

Docklands Stadium



“You can have a bad game, but you can still have good moments.” (Every footy coach in history)


“Success may be 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration but without the 10% it’s failure.” (Anon, with embellishment by Stainless)


“Is ‘Shinboner Spirit’ code for 9th place?” (Gratuitous observation from The Summit)


A question running through my mind after watching Richmond hold off a dogged North Melbourne is whether the result would have been different if Dusty had taken the big money offer from North and was running around in blue and white?

Disgruntled North supporters might salvage some satisfaction from their gallant but ultimately unsuccessful performance by pointing to the comprehensive blanket job Ben Jacobs did on The Tattooed One as evidence that he wasn’t worth the money anyway.


What close (and, admittedly, adoring) observation of Martin has taught me is that he has Moments. It’s a characteristic of champions that they just seem to do those special things at critical times. The more I watched replays of Richmond’s 2017 triumphs, the more obvious it became: Martin has Moments in which he imposes himself on games with masterful timing and precision.

So it was on Sunday. When the Tigers surrendered the lead for the first time, early in the last quarter, it was a pumping run and scything pass from Martin, across half-forward and into the arms of Josh Caddy. Goal. When we surrendered the lead again, it was a deft little basketball tap from Martin to Cotchin. Goal. Moments later another Martin surge forward ended with an exquisite little pass to Dan Butler. Goal.

Three Moments probably amounting collectively to about 10 seconds of game time.

For the rest of the day Martin was a peripheral figure, nowhere near Richmond’s best, let alone a contender for Brownlow votes. Yet in those 10 seconds he decisively altered the course of a match that was trending gradually but inexorably North’s way. There is no question in my mind that had Martin been playing for North, even with such a pedestrian performance, he would have got the Roos across the line.

Of course the game was not quite done and “dusted”. North fought the good fight to the bitter end, testing the Richmond defence to the absolute limit. But, again, to my point about Moments, the players who take them and their value, two North players are worthy of mention.

In stark contrast to Martin, Ben Cunnington played a game for the ages, smashing the League record for contested possession and continually creating possibilities for his teammates.   Only an equally slashing game from Trent Cotchin prevented Cunnington from being best afield by the length of Ben Brown’s run-up. Yet I contend that he was not the most influential. I will recall his game as a constant and admirably reliable presence but without one single breathtaking, game-changing Moment.

And on the subject of Ben Brown, his game was worthy enough to be described as a great, break-even contest with Alex Rance – no mean feat. Brown’s reputation has grown considerably in recent times and yesterday he was presented with a golden opportunity to take it to superstar level. But two crucial misses from straight-forward set shots in the dying minutes saw Brown fail to grasp his Moment. In contrast, I need hardly mention his opponent’s “prey stalking” Moment to intercept a North kick-in and create another scoring chance. It’s been every video analyst’s fantasy.

For 37 years, I’ve watched enough examples of valiant Richmond trucks being brushed aside by opposition Ferraris (including a few wearing blue and white) to know that a few seconds of class can easily trump long periods of dogged endeavour.

Now that we’ve got a Ferrari of our own (even when it occasionally gets clamped), it’s exhilarating to be experiencing this phenomenon in reverse.

Worth. Every. Cent.


NORTH MELBOURNE     2.0       5.2       9.3     11.6 (72)
RICHMOND                  3.4       8.4       9.7     12.10 (82)

North Melbourne:  Atley 2, Wood 2, Brown 2, Waite 2, Simpkin, Higgins, Macmillan
Richmond: Caddy 4, Lambert 3, Riewoldt 2, Castagna, Cotchin, Butler

North Melbourne:  Cunnington, Jacobs, Anderson, Higgins, Macmillan, McDonald
Richmond: Cotchin, Caddy, Houli, Vlastuin, Lambert, Lloyd

Crowd: 29,153

My votes: T. Cotchin (3), B. Cunnington (2), J. Caddy (1)



About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Wasn’t Cotchin wonderful… and Dusty’s tap and Rance’s epic run to spoil that kick in. I agree — so many great moments.

  2. Stainless, a really enjoyable read.
    Sliding doors moments.
    If – the middle word in LIFE

  3. Stainless says

    Love it Smokie. A very Zen observation!
    Good luck for the rest of 2018.

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