Round 9 – GWS v Richmond: If you’re thinking Sliding Doors, then…

 

If only the score review had not reversed the Umpire’s decision… then it would have been a Richmond win.

 

Poppycock!

 

This is not a story of a goal that wasn’t.

 

This is a story of the four goals that weren’t.

 

Four moments that could have changed the game (but only one that did) out of countless other moments and decisions.

 

To truly appreciate a story of the goals that wasn’t, you must cast your mind back a week to two goals that was.

 

One was kicked by Stevie J and the crowd went into raptures.

 

One was kicked by David Mundy and the crowd slumped, despondent. (If Richmond had reset for the final bounce, then…).

 

The story begins, not with the banner taunting a last minute loss, but with a first quarter performance that Richmond should be proud of.  Aside from a Jeremy Cameron clear mark and true kick, it was all Richmond. Absolutely and utterly Richmond.

 

If the only good thing to come from that first quarter is that you haven’t lost a man due to injury (like the past two games), then you’ve got problems.*

 

When play resumed for the second quarter, Richmond has a lead of 31 points.

 

If GWS start a comeback, then it’s anyone’s game.

 

Jeremy Cameron kicks a goal in the opening minute. It’s anyone’s game.

 

If the first goal that wasn’t was ruled a goal, then the momentum continues to shift.

 

The first goal that wasn’t was a scrambling affair. A mark dropped in the goal square, bodies fumbling, other bodies running. Hands, hands, was that someone’s back heel kicking the ball through?

 

In the members’ reserve we’re holding our collective breath. We look at the big screen, we scream at the umpire “He kicked it!”

 

Man in the cap disagrees. Touched. One finger; one flag. The sole Richmond supporter in our midst says “Good call.”

 

I don’t know what it looked like on TV. I don’t know whether it was the right call or not.  There is no replay. The score is given as a point and Richmond kick in quickly.

 

If you’ve got an advantage, then you’ve got to keep hammering it.

 

It’s a game that the Richmond defenders are dominating. They are intercepting marks into our forward 50. Our lack of forward defensive pressure is already known as a weakness. It is further exposed with the late injury to Devon Smith. And Richmond know how to exploit it.  A kick out cements Richmond’s position where a bounce evens up the contest. So if we had an extra five points and go back to the centre for a bounce then…

 

The second goal that wasn’t is in the dying seconds of the half. Lachie Whitfield is on the burst. He drops the ball onto his toe, SIREN, and the ball bounces through the big sticks.

 

We rise and cheer, except Umpire 17 is not signalling a goal. He rules the kick came after the siren.

 

I know that light travels faster than sound, so I have no idea if the siren actually went before the ball connected with the boot.  I don’t have access to split second freeze frames and nor, for that matter, did the man on the ground.  He called (from behind play) it was not a goal, and his decision stood.

 

Just think.  If, at half-time, Richmond’s margin is not 21 but 10 points then the contest is well and truly on.

 

If Eddie McGuire thinks that changing the rules would have saved Richmond, then he forgot to take account of the third goal that wasn’t.

 

It’s a final quarter comeback from the Giants. Sam Reid send a long lofting kick falling near the line… a Richmond hand reaches up.

 

Goal Umpire doesn’t rule; a quick conversation and Umpire traces a square with his hands “Score review. Umpire’s call is touched.”

 

Replay one. How can you tell?

 

Replay two. How can you tell?

 

Screen indicates “Decision pending… BEHIND!” (Our Richmond visitor “Never in doubt!”)

 

Richmond kicks in and play resumes.

 

So, if Eddie’s thought bubble rule existed, then instead of the Giants being behind by eighteen, the Giants would be behind by 13 and the play is back to the centre for a bounce, with probably 10 minutes to play.

 

I don’t want to dwell on the fourth goal that wasn’t. There’s been saturation coverage of it.

 

To be honest, if Richmond want to focus on Perryman’s pinky as the reason they lost, then there’s no point talking about another four goals that weren’t. The four Richmond attempts at goal in the fourth quarter that missed or hit the post. That inaccuracy kept GWS in the match; that allowed GWS to win. Not the long bomb of Wilson, the miraculous punch of Davis, the gather by Mumford and the beautiful long kick of Cameron.

 

If the better team is kept goal-less in the final quarter from five scoring shots, and the three quarter time margin is less than five goals….

 

…then don’t be surprised if an All-Australian forward kicks a miracle goal and wins the match.

 

And especially don’t be surprised if that team has adopted “Never Surrender” as its motto.

 

* Just for completeness, Rory Lobb was injured (again) but he was able to play until the third quarter.

 

 

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY   1.2   4.5     6.9     11.12   (78)
RICHMOND                                   6.3   7.8   10.10   10.15   (75)
 

GOALS
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 3, Reid 2, Scully, Lobb, Williams, Greene, Taranto, de Boer
Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Menadue 2, Cotchin 2, Castagna 2, Grigg, Lloyd 

BEST
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Shiel, Wilson, Cameron, Davis
Richmond: Rance, Martin, Grigg, Nankervis, Cotchin, Houli 

INJURIES
Greater Western Sydney: 
Rory Lobb (groin)
Richmond: Nil 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Fisher, Schmitt, Findlay 

Official crowd: 10,677 at Spotless Stadium

Malarkey Medal:   Rance (3), Kelly (2), Cameron (1)

About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    There’s a members reserve at Spotless? How many does that hold, Kath?

    But back to the game in question. You are absolutely spot on. If Richmond want to focus on that last touched call, they are only condemning themselves to a pattern of behavior that, in their case, is already far too established. They don’t keep coughing up these late losses by accident. They continue to freeze at the crucial moment.

    The Giants are having an interesting season. Their first one dealing with the weight of massive expectation, and not much going right on the injury front. Some of those players you’ve let go may yet come back to haunt you. At Carlton, we’re certainly very grateful for Marchbank and Plowman. And I suspect another couple may yet have their day.

    But you still have the depth and the character to keep winning. I had a feeling after last year’s narrow prelim final loss that the team would be steeled by the experience. Nothing like a taste of disappointment to sharpen the appetite. Added to their obvious talent, that’s a dangerous combination.

    This week stands as a real challenge. A weakened team heading to what has so far been a very unhappy hunting ground. But an opponent that continues to invite questions about its own character.

    It’s an intriguing season.

  2. The media is having a lot of fun with Richmond’s last goal dramas of the past couple of weeks, but I was happy to see Jack Riewoldt dismiss it all as nonsense and insist we look at the game as a whole (except maybe the bit where he missed a sitter).

    The Giants showed great resolve in fighting to the end of that game. Many other teams would have given up and blamed a horrific injury list on the loss. Not the giants.

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