Round 8 – Richmond v Geelong: Poleaxed

Friday morning. Sitting at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital here in Melbourne. I have a booking. The queue is moving. The staff are professional and pleasant.


“Mr O’Donnell?”




“Hmm. We can’t seem to find your name in the system.”


Usual scenario. It seems that O’Donnell is harder to spell than Kolodjashnij.


“Got the apostrophe?”


“Capital D after the O apostrophe not a small d?”


“No its not ‘ald’ at the end. Its ‘onnell’.”


We get there eventually. I’m on the system.


“Do you identify as male today?”




“Are you feeling unwell?”




“Have you had the flu shot recently?”


“No. Never had the flu shot.”


“Are you pregnant?”


“Hope not” (pathetic joke). “No.”


“Left arm?”




In it goes. My first shot of AstraZeneca. Injections don’t bother me so long as I don’t look. But I find that steely, cold, numbing feeling of the needle’s contents being pumped into my arm very unpleasant. Hang on a sec…………….think I’m going to faint.


All good. Back to work.


Four o’clock. Shoulders feeling a bit tight. Legs heavy. It’s been a long week. And I did walk into work today. Might just be a bit weary. Five o’clock. A fog is closing in. I’d stay for a beer, but my good humour is reducing by the minute. I’m going home. And besides the Cats are playing the Tigers tonight. I’ll watch on the TV. An ache has found its way into my frontal lobe.


Magnificent home made pizza and a glass of Heathcote Shiraz for dinner. But it all tastes bland. Like eating cardboard and drinking out of a goon bag. The footy is on soon. Shoulders are hurting now. Back too. Legs are like lead pipes. A fat bloke is sitting on my head. A dark mood is descending. There is a knot in my guts. And the Tigers are already three goals up.


“I can’t stay up anymore” I say at half time as the Cats battle to reduce the margin to five points.


I get the ‘gee he must be crook’ looks.


I go to bed and switch on the TV in our room. The fat bloke sitting on my head must have eaten a lot of pizza because he’s getting heavier. My head thumps. The only place I don’t ache now is my left big toe. I think. Or maybe it does. I can’t tell anymore. There is a mild fever shaking me. Tucked under the doona I’m cold. Now warm. Now hot. Now cold again.


Did Rohan just kick another one from 50?


The Tigers are dropping marks. Pressure. Cats players are tackling like men possessed. We circle the Tigers at every stoppage, pin them in, then go in for the kill. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. My head’s light. Am I giddy with excitement or about to lose consciousness? The fever has me in its grip as Selwood bulldozes his way through centre half forward and leaves a young Tiger splattered on the grass. Duncan poleaxes Short (I think). Not sure, but he was wearing a Richmond jumper. He looks like how I feel. Smashed up.


The new bloke from GWS kicks three in the third quarter. His legs look like they’re about twelve years old but the rest of him looks seasoned and hardened. He gives the Richmond defence diarrhea. They leak goals. Hawkins kicks two from hard up on the boundary and on the wrong side for a right footer. His left to right slider kick is perfect both times. Immense skill. Its probably only taken him ten years to perfect. There is connection in all this. Synchronicity.


I’m in a weird place. Delirious physically and metaphorically. Happiness is being crushed by the overwhelming attack on my immune system. The Zeneca is taking me to the cleaners. The Cats are taking the Tigers to the tip. Darkness descends. I smile and wince at the same time as I lean over and turn out the light. The slumber is not restful. But the dreams are sublime. If this is just a reaction to the vaccine, I don’t want the real thing.


Get vaccinated.


And watch the Cats for the rest of 2021.


RICHMOND    4.3     7.7      8.9         9.9 (63)
GEELONG       1.3     6.4     14.8     19.12 (126)


Richmond: Aarts 3, Bolton 3, Lynch, Rioli, Riewoldt
Geelong: Cameron 6, Rohan 5, Hawkins 4, Smith 2, Higgins, Close


 Bolton, Edwards, Martin, Graham
Geelong: Cameron, Rohan, Hawkins, C.Guthrie, Higgins, Duncan, Tuohy


Richmond: Edwards (ankle)
Geelong: Stanley (omitted) replaced in selected side by Ratugolea, Simpson (lower body), Dahlhaus (ribs/back)


Richmond: Naish (replaced Edwards)
Geelong: Narkle (replaced Simpson)

Crowd: 54,857 at the MCG


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE




About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Gave me a huge wallop as well Dips, even spent time in hospital. It has taken me nearly a month to recover but if that’s what the vaccine does to you I’d rather that than experience the real thing.

  2. No good hey Colin? My wife had the jab and felt a bit off but that was all. Strange. Maybe I’m just soft.

    Henderson should be in our list of best players too.

  3. I drink Aldi red at $3 a bottle. Goons aplenty. But I wouldn’t touch AstraZeneca with a bargepole. Pfizer all the way for me. Top shelf vaccine. Left a sweet taste on the tongue and a faint suspicion that I had just made love to Britt Ekland circa’75.
    You have to be on the Register of National Living Treasures to get the stuff… so I reckon all the Camerons would be on it.
    Why are they refusing me a third shot?

  4. Great work ajc. The Aldi $3 red is worth at least $4 if you have to pay full price. There’s a bloke at the pub selling Pfizer out of the boot of his car. At least he told me it was Pfizer. It comes in a little pink pill.

    My next Zeneca dose is in three months. I’m not surprised. It’ll take that long for the wound on my left shoulder to heal.

  5. Dips, are you getting a little soft in your dotage?

  6. Smoke – Think so. Embarrassing really. It was only a little prick.

  7. Had no problems with my Astra Zeneca. Next shot due June 23.

    A few colleagues had ‘issues’ day1, a mate’s wife was crook for about a week but the majority of us were as ‘good as gold’.

    Get vaccinated. The more of us vaccinated the more of us are safe.


  8. Stainless says

    It’s fair to say that Geelong did to Richmond on Friday what COVID did to society in 2020. I remain confident that Dr Hardwick will have a vaccination ready by September!

  9. Kevin Densley says

    Good piece, Dips! Geelong’s big win over the Tigers was just the shot in the arm that I needed!

  10. Phil Hill says

    I felt a bit crook the day after my Vac but I went to the Almanac Lunch which cured me completely.

    Pub lunch, two light beers and a glass of red. Perfect.

    Only a small sample size but I can’t wait to repeat the experiment with the second shot. Might try a white wine or two

  11. Stainless – common reaction from Tiger supporters. We’ll be alright in the end. Could well be right.
    Kevin – it was a cracker wasn’t it? Shot in the arm for sure.
    Phil – I might have to try your post-vac treatment.

  12. Glen! Well done on avoiding the Zeneca reaction (sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel). Who knows why some get hit and some don’t? Weird. Anyway I’m all good now. Late July is jab No.2

  13. Rulebook says

    Good stuff Dips I just want to hurry up and get vaccinated

  14. Daryl Schramm says

    Another enjoyable read Damien. The comments aren’t so enjoyable. Didnt realise the after effects could be so uncomfortable.

  15. Luke Reynolds says

    Us Collingwood supporters are still waiting. For the vaccination jab. For the next flag. I’m expecting the needle first. But would rather the premiership side effects.

Leave a Comment