Round 9: Essendon v Richmond – Four quarters of football still too much to ask

Last week, the Richmond faithful saw something they hadn’t seen all year. Their team played four good quarters of football. No, Richmond didn”t get the win but we could see potential for the future.

Going to this game that’s all we were hoping for. It’s not guaranteed but it is expected. The bar was set last week and now it needs to be maintained.

As for the pre game celebrations, the expectations are low. However tonight for once they’ve got it right. A pre game performance that actually depicts Aboriginal culture well. The spirtitaul puppets look very impressive. The presentation is short and sweet, the way it should be.

My expectations are washed away early on in the first quarter. Riewoldt hits the post and from then on it’s all Essendon. First McVeigh, then Davey, then Ryder, then Howlett and then only 15 minutes iunto it we’ve been blown out of the water.

I’m distraught. After building myself up I’ve been knocked down. Richmond have gone from playing for full quarters to not playing a full minute of good footy.

Astbury kicks the Tigers first but the damage has been done. The match is over, there’s no way we can come back from this defecit.

In the second term the Tigers start playing the footy i expected from them. Riewoldt gets on the end of a nice bit of play from White and takes a neat one handed grab against Pears. If this was the first quarter I’d be pumped up fora hard fought game, but sadly we’ve already thrown it all away.

Essendon kick the goals back but the desire and competetiveness from the players are there. Sadly the crowd has already lost interest, this has got to be the quietest group 66,000 ever assembled.

At half time all I can look for is Richmond to win the second half. Ben Cousins hasn’t had an impact at all, the midfield has looked poor but they’ve had every hit out to advantage, a quality ruckman like Hille makes a huge difference.

Hille dominates the second half. How are two developing ruckman like Vickery and Graham supposed to stop him? Richmond don’t look terrible but they don’t look any trouble for Essendon either.

The crowd start to get a bit of life into them as the scoreboard shows the three quarter time score in the Power Demons clash. Richmond and Essendon supporters don’t agree on much but most of them do seem pleased with a Melbourne victory.

The only highlight for Tiger fans in the third comes when Riewoldt beats Fletcher in a marking contest then follows up by slooting the goal on a tight angle. I’ve been sceptical of him but he does show flashes of brilliance every now and then.

People start leaving at three quarter time, it isn’t a blow out but the match is just plain boring. This event can only be a success if the matches are competetive.

Richmond play their best footy in the last term but it’;s not about the Tigers, it’s about Hille. The Essendon faithful fire up whenever he goes near it. Following on from last week’s form he slots his third and Richmond are dead and buried.

As the Hille show ends the crowd level dies down again. Excitement builds as the scoreboard continually updates the Power’s resurgance. Jack Riewoldt’s showing significant signs as a forward but nobody seems to notice. With every goal that Port kick an uneasy “oooh” ripples across the ground.

Finally a huge cheer goes acroos the ground as the final score is posted with a Melbourne victory a by a mere point. I’m sure most people ere regret coming tonight and would have rathered watch that game from home.

As Jack kicks his sixth I can’t help but wonder what the crowd would have been like if Richmond put up a fight in the first term. If this crowd was getting fired up by two neutral teams that they could only witness thorugh a scoreboard, I can only imagine what it would’ve been like it that one point thriller was played out here tonight.

Essendon 7.1 10.6 14.13 19.16 (130)
Richmond 2.4 5.7 8.8 14.11 (95)

Essendon Hille, Prismall, Watson, Jetta, Ryder
Richmond Riewoldt, Tuck, Cotchin, Martin, White

Essendon: Hille 3, Jetta 2, Ryder 2, Zaharakis 2, Davey, Gumbleton, Howlett, Hurley, McVeigh, Lonergan, Melksham, Monfries, Myers, Stanton
Richmond: Riewoldt 6, Rance 2, Astbury, Edwards, Martin, Nahas, Nason, Tuck


  1. Nice report Mike,

    I was at the game too, with my Dad and my bro. In the last quarter when Richmond kicked 4 goals in a row, David was furious (“I thought they were going to win by like, 70, so I’m very disappointed, because they were 40 points up in the 1st quarter so they should have won by 160 and now Richmond are only down by 30, blah blah blah”)

  2. Good work, Mike.

    I hate being at games when the contest dies early – I don’t know about you, but that’s the main reason I watch footy. For the contest, for the emotion. As satisfying as it may seem to beat a team by 100+ points, clinics aren’t all that fun to watch.

    Always remember these lean years, because when Richmond comes good it’ll make the victories all the more sweet.

  3. Martin Reeves says

    I think you nailed the match review Mike. I flew over from Perth for this one and was disappointed with the first quarter blow-out after the promise of the past few weeks.

    Still some good signs though and this season is about small mercies I reckon.

    One small point I disagree with you is the success of the Dreamtime at the G concept hinging on competitive matches. I think the success of the event should be measured against the number of fans from both clubs meeting at Fed Sq and taking part in the Long Walk to the G.

    I’m guessing that for a lot of participants, that is their only interaction with people from the Aboriginal community, and it’s great that it is a positive experience.

    If new fans are getting along each year and being exposed to Aboriginal culture in a meaningful way, then the event could be deemed successful.

    And in a few years when the Tigers begin to climb back up to ninth spot, these games could be as highly anticipated as the Anzac Day clash, and maybe even more important for our society?

    Good read mate.

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