Round 9 – Richmond v Essendon: Dreamtime at the G



There are two writers that I always turn to in the sporting pages of “The Age,” Martin Flanagan and Bob Murphy.


Now Mr. Murphy seems to be a little busy with his extra responsibilities at Footsray these days, but Martin Flanagan is at his very best when writing about the powerful impact our indigenous brothers have had on Australian life and footy in particular.


Three fantastic articles appeared in “The Age” to coincide with the Indigenous Round this week, his new book on Michael Long, a story of Dyson Heppell working with students at Tiwi College and a great story of Derek Peardon who came from Cape Barren Island and played twenty games for Richmond in 1969 and 1970.


To my disappointment I missed the game at the “G” on Saturday night. The “good wife” broke a bone in her foot and that led to a lot of rearranging of things, so here I am back in Melbourne just in time for the game, with the digital radio on and the TV on mute.


The pre game celebrations that I saw on the TV, were very moving and when I look back on the game, probably the highlight of the night.


From the first bounce of the ball, it seemed like the Dons were playing a game of “Keeping Off.” Richmond seemed happy enough with the rules of this new game and happily joined in.


Scoring was the last thing on the players mind. A small kick forward, then sideways, then backwards followed by hand passes in the opposite direction, so if the players weren’t giddy by this new game then I’m sure the eighty plus thousand at the “G” and one perplexed viewer watching TV at home was.


I guess the good thing about this “new” game was that the scores were pretty close all night, which kept interest at a high level. Richmond lead at every change but the Dons threatened on a few occasions, through out the game. Jake Carlisle and Joey Daniher both took towering marks but couldn’t make the most of their opportunities


Mid way through the last quarter Richmond seemed to freeze, and I really thought the Dons might grab the win, but it wasn’t to be.


Siren, Richmond home by 13 points. It hurts to say this but I reckon that score pretty well sums the difference between the two teams. Basically the Tigers had a slightly better forward line, who knew which way the goals were facing.


It also hurts, among a lot of other things that has happened to my beloved Dons recently, is the lack of indigenous players on the list at Essendon. Courtney Dempsey is the only one on the senior list. Jake Long, son of the great Michael and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti are on the supplementary list. Just a couple of years ago I could count six on the senior list and another couple on the supplementary.


I remember James Hird suggesting a few years ago that maybe indigenous players struggle with the way football is played today. Let’s hope that Sheeds can guide his thinking and put him right on this important matter.


And on another matter, that bloody Essendon grey jumper. What has grey ever had to do with our great distinctive red and black jumper. Absolutely nothing. Get rid of it, I say.


Disappointing to see Dustin Fletcher had to come off in the last quarter of his 400th, he certainly played his part for the team.


Richmond  3-2  5-6  7-10  10-12  (72)

Essendon    1-4  3-7  6-8  8-11       (59)


Goals  Richmond Grigg 2, Cotchin 2, Griffiths, Ellis, Martin, Riewoldt, McIntosh, Morris

Essendon Daniher 2, Colyer, Carlisle, J. Merrett, Watson, Chapman.


Better Players  Richmond. Edwards, Martin, Deledio, Grigg, Cotchin, Rance, Houli

Essendon, Heppell, Colyer, Melksham, both Merretts, Dempsey


Crowd  83,804  at MCG


PS Noticed Bob Murphy, the other great writer, having a quiet coffee with a younger Murphy the other morning, as I was trying to offer “my condolences” to the Carlton 4 on the their desperate plight.


Rod Oaten



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