Sir Trent Cotchin

by Ben Lannen.


Richmond vs Bulldogs Round 20 2012

It’s not often I commend an AFL decision, but a 3:15pm start allowed me to attend the footy after an horrendous weekend shift, to see my beloved ‘Yellow and Black’ cubs take on our somewhat ‘rivals’; the ever significant football club, Footscray… sorry, Western Bulldogs. At 2:10 start and I’d have struggled. Thank you Adrian.

For fellow Tiger fans, we find this Tigers vs Dogs rivalry a bit embarrassing; we feel above it. It’s kind of like a rivalry at high school, with that ugly nerdy kid from high school that somehow has won the interest of the hottest girl at school. You ask yourself how? Surely I’m a better catch in every possible way, yet this ugly duckling reaps the rewards and gets to taste success. How? It’s an imbalance – just like the Bulldogs superiority over the Tigers in the last 7 years. With all due respect to the Dogs, historically Richmond are above them, sadly as seasons go by that history is almost ancient. Outsiders may question if there is a rivalry at all, Bulldogs vs Tigers? Snorefest surely? Let me explain.


In the last 25 years, us Tiger fans have had few stars in the last 30 years to cheer for, this comes with 2 finals series since the internet was invented. Matthew Richardson is a unanimous number 1 with a close 2nd – Matthew Knights. So it’s easy to explain that back in 2001, before the bounce when Matthew Knights was attacked and assaulted by Tony ‘Scratch and Win’ Liberatore, resulting in a thick crimson mask that would give Mick Foley shivers, the Tiger faithful began to resent the Dogs from the West? I’ll never forget that day; I was a plucky 16-year-old yelling expletive after expletive, ones I didn’t know the meaning of, in a high pitch, crackled voice – towards our number 1 enemy; Tony Liberatore. So that gives us a foundation for an unlikely rivalry. Each game since then has been reasonable hotly contested. Add the Nathan Brown trade, where he was quoted for leaving the Bulldogs to play at a club where he would play finals, ironically something he never achieved in his career at Richmond, where the dogs went on to play in consecutive prelim finals. I’m sure all dogs supporters enjoy that statistic. There have been other little incidents, such as Round 1 2007, after the Dogs smashed Richmond by 112 points and hearing the comments from a young 20 odd gamer Ryan Griffens on the radio “Richmond players were fighting and arguing, I think they gave up in the 3rd qtr”, you can start to understand a rivalry albeit a small and slightly insignificant one. Don’t forget Richmond hasn’t beaten the Dogs since 2005. As a Richmond supporter, I’m proud to say I don’t enjoy the Red White and Blue, at all. They are the ugly kid at school that somehow is better than you. It’s not right.

Onto the 2012 game, I finished work and begun the ugly jog towards to the G. The never enjoyable jog especially when you miss the first bounce and you can hear the cheers and jeers of  the Yellow and Black army, I hate missing any game time. I’m alone today, which isn’t ideal, the family are at home and the mates have decided to watch it on TV. Working in the city means I can pop in and watch easily, but I still would have gone in regardless, unless it was at Telstra Dome, or whatever they call it these days. I pride myself on having never missed a game at the MCG since my year 11 formal in 2001 (I don’t count the game I missed this year to attend a mates wedding. In Round 2 vs Collingwood too, I believe the footy gods are happy to erase that from the history books as thanks to my good faith in mateship). I get through the ‘MCC collar police’ and take my usual seats at the top of the Southern Stand. You may ask why I don’t sit in the MCC, it’s a long story. In short, I enjoy being close to the Richmond Cheer Squad. I see we are 6 goals to nothing, great, of course I’ve missed a great start! On the radio I tune in and they talking about Trent Cotchin and how good he is, this opinion is nothing new for us Tiger fans, we adore our Trent. However on this day, he was extra special. 1st half goal, where he was on the wrong side of his opponent, somehow made his way to the front, took possession and snapped a goal mid sling tackle, genius, has the look of a mini Gazza (We over rate our own but he really does look like a mini Gaz, minus the blistering speed). More on Sir Trent later. Dogs kick the last 2 of the first qtr and the Tigers take a nice little lead of 25 points into the break. We seem on, great first qtr of footy. Next big test is our 2nd qtr, we’ve been woeful this year. Win the qtr by 2-3 goals and be hard for Dogs to get back in it, as they’re 2nd halves this year have been just about as bad as anyone.


2nd qtr starts with a goal and the Yellow and Black army get up and about for Jack the recipient of our 7th goal. They love tiger Jack, not as much as Richo, but they love him. The feeling is mutual, Jack loves the army. We start to get a bit cocky in the stands, I hear a few calls and giggles of “Where’s Libba?” not sure which one they meant. I’ll leave out any sledging towards the Libretore’s, I’ve given my fair share over the years. It was a shame what happened to Tom, he looks a fine young player. Meanwhile the Dogs have woken up and kicked 3 unanswered goals. Tiger cubs have had their usual nap and the Dogs have kicked 5 of the last 6. We have our chances with a few easy misses then up steps Jake King, kicks a nice steadier. We look comfortable going into half time, Trent displaying some serious talent beating the quality tag of Liam Picken. The ruck dual has been interesting, Big Ivan has destroyed all comers this year but Minson is doing a fine job. Lake looks a danger swapping forward and defensive positions more often than a babies nappy. Boyd the dominant dog looks a bit lost without Cross, Cooney and Griffen to help him out, the Tiger mids are having a field day, Martin and Deledio especially. Half time we enjoy a 28 point lead, winning a rare 2nd qtr.


Half time I look across and the crowd attendance is really ordinary. To the defence of the Tiger faithful we outnumbered Dogs supported probably 6 to 1. The G still looked empty, 30000 if we were lucky. Which for a Richmond game is disappointing, really disappointing. It’s one thing we pride ourselves on at Richmond, regardless of team performance we rock up. We might not be the most neutral supporters of best behaved but we are passionate, we are a family and we rock up. I’m the ever optimist, sitting by myself Iphone in hand and doing some predicting to see if we can make finals. I work out if Essendon beat Carlton and lose to Collingwood, Saints lose to Geelong and Carlton and we win our 3 games in Fremantle, Essendon and Port Adelaide we get to play finals and travel to West Coast. Stranger things have happened, like Fernando Torres scoring the first goal of the English Football Season for 2013/14, who would have thought? I start to think maybe we are a chance, normally when you hear “mathematically possible” you think of the impossibility of it happening. But Essendon won’t beat Pies, Carlton are as consistent as a McDonald post mix soft drink and Saints wont beat Geelong, all we need to bank on is a Carlton renaissance in the last round and for us to win our last 3 games. Alright, yes its ‘mathematically possible’, back to the footy.


Sitting with a nice 5 goal buffer I wasn’t too concerned about the result, our 3rd qtrs. Have been excellent and the opposite for the Dogs. Also Cotchin is playing well he’s shrugging the tag, we don’t lose games when he is on. This was soon changed when the Dogs again kicked 5 of the next 6 goals and bringing it back within a kick. “You have to be kidding” I thought. Can’t possibly sit through another heartbreaking loss when we had the game won.. Then we went berserk, Grigg, Newman and Dusty all posted majors and then some magic. Matthew Boyd, now with the job on Trent Cotchin was kicking the ball out from goal. A short stab pass to Hargraves was cut off, by who else? Trent Cotchin. Watching the replay Cotchin sprinted for about 25m with Hargreave directly in-between himself and Boyd. No way could Boyd have seen Cotchin. At the last moment he popped out in front of Hargraves and stole the mark from his grasp. Genius, did he mean to hide himself from Boyds view? Who knows, don’t ruin a good story. Cotchin kicked truly and brought it back to 34 points. Trent just clenched the fist turned and ran back to the middle. No finger pointing, no fist pumping to the crowd, no twirly fingers, the lad has had a day out you’d excuse anyone for showing some celebratory actions.

Fast forward to the last qtr, Boyd a champion of WB, an All Australian and a gun of the competition. Boyd couldn’t stop Cotchin, Dogs were answerless. Cotchin was everywhere. Brownlow talk was murmuring through the Yellow and Black army. Sadly with only 9 wins this where that’s most likely (mathematically most likely) all the happiness we could be having post Round 23. On the other hand Dogs were under full strength, no Griffen, Cross or Cooney, although I think its safe to say the RFC have moved passed the Dogs in terms of quality, no longer are the Dogs a finals threat and the Tigers have moved to finals contenders (Mathematically speaking).


With our first win in 7 years against the ugly nerdy kid, we are finally making ground towards the prize of the hot girl from school. We are not there yet but we now have a better chance than him, and that feels great. For the first time in 25 years I’ll welcome 9th, I’d love finals, but I’m not bothered if we don’t make it. Why? Its been 11 years since our last berth? How could I possibly be contempt with missing again? Well this time its different. This time we have a lad called Trent Cotchin. This time we have a player that 17 teams seriously fear, and I mean seriously. This time we have a Brownlow medal contender. Whilst 1 player does not make a team, a team can be built around one. So we can now put this rivalry behind us, the days of our favourite son being abused by a podgy 4ft legend of his football club are closer to being forgotten, because we have a new favourite son. Sir Trent Cotchin.




  1. Neil Anderson says

    Enjoyed most of your waxing lyrical about the Tigers showing off their stars against the Bulldogs. Not sure about the description of the Bulldogs being like the ugly kid who always seems to get the pretty girl, but I like your style, and let’s face it, the Tigers were due for a win. Although we were missing ten of our best…
    I was at the Libba Vs Knights light-weight event as well, and was disappointed when he sort of won on a foul but damaged the Club’s image. A bit like Danny Whatshisname who put a sleeper-hold on Summich at Subiacco. These things stick in the minds of opposition supporters, but for Dog fans we know the majority of players are in the good guy camp. Some observers have observed that in the recent era of just missing out on the big dance, it was because we lacked a few players with a bit of mongrel. I refer to players such as Chris Grant, Brad Johnson and Rohan Smith. I agree with your rave about Trent Cotchin. He would fit in nicely at the ‘good-guy’ dogs. A champion who doesn’t need any ‘mongrel’ to win.

  2. A a Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful I find it hard to feel vitriol towards the Doggies. Sure, Scratcher Liberatore’s little number on Matty Knights was a low act, but it was part of Brownlow Tony’s nature. What you see is what you get. I blame the umpires for turning a blind eye to his behaviour over the years. Maybe they didn’t see it. After all, they gave him votes in the ultimate Fairest & Beast Award. No, my Bad Dog Footscray moment came when, and I’m drawing on memory here, Lake either feigned a hammy or took the kick from another bulldog who feigned a hammy. This was to seal a match that The Tigers had sown up until time-on. (Sound familiar?) There was obviously nothing wrong with the person who took the mark, but he wasn’t sure about the kick so close to the siren. It might have been Will Minson. Anyway, that’s my really pissed-off moment with the Doggies. Apart from that I just can’t muster any of the feelings I have for Carlton,& Essendon.

  3. Great write-up mate. Trent Cotchin is an absolute gun and I look forward to watching him play every week. Love his work and wouldn’t it be great to see him win a Brownlow this year?

  4. Ben

    Nice write-up. I must confess that I was one of the missing 52,000 members on Sunday, but frankly, the trip up from Drouin’s a bit of an ask when your season’s shot.

    I don’t mind boasting that I wrote a piece about Sir Trent early last season when most other Richmond supporters were salivating about Dustin Martin. I predicted a Brownlow within five years at the time and have no cause to change my view. To me, Cotchin is the most outstanding on-field leader Richmond has had since our Premiership days and if his example can’t motivate his team mates to the standards of professionalism needed to become a contender, then nothing will. I haven’t had a Richmond “hero” since I was a little kid idolizing Royce Hart, but this bloke is something special.

    I was at the Knights-Libba “every dog has its day” game but it’s the rematch at the Dome later that year that I remember more vividly – a sensational 2 point win that put the Dogs out of the finals race and secured our own finals berth. It probably says a lot about Richmond’s dismal standards over the last decade when I say that I rate that win as probably our most significant in regular season competition in the noughties.

    And Wrap – it was Lake feigning a “hamstring spasm” and handing the ball over to Minson who slotted the goal to give the Dogs a draw. Low act indeed but then, the Tiges were 25 points up with about ten minutes to play so we only had ourselves to blame.

  5. Thanks Stainless. At least I had the personnel right. I should have guessed it would have been Lake taking the soft option. Footscray deserves better than Brian Lake.

    And I’m guessing we won’t have to wait past this year for the first of Sir Trent’s Brownlows.

  6. Neil Anderson says

    Further to my comments defending the majority of Bulldog good guys, I did leave one out. Bob Murphy. He would definitely prefer to make love and not war. If you read his articles re his opponents after matches he never fails to praise the champs that might have beaten him on the weekend. In today’s paper he happened to mention the one and only Sir Trent. I think Trent should be now known as Saint Trent of Punt Road after offering his parking permit to Bob and Boydy. No greater love hath man than he shall give up his parking permit for the’ ugly nerdy kids’ doing bombs in the pool.
    And to all the apparent Brian Lake haters, give the man a go. Feigning the cramp or tight hammy or what ever it was shouldn’t be seen as a hanging offence. I think he started his career as a fullforward anyway. Thank God someone like Jarrod Grant or just about anyone else in the present lineup wasn’t handed the ball about 15 metres out. Save your anger for the mids who face and harass opponents at ball-ups.

  7. It all started with Ablett Neil; the no I won’t sign, and I won’t say if I’m staying season. Now I don’t want to sound like a new age guru or indulge in pop-psyche babble, but It takes a positive mental state to mount a premiership campaign, and having something corrosive like the Gazza & Bomber Show running all season is not helpful. Nor did it prove to be so. (And yes, there was probably more going on down there at Kardinia Park than we’ll every know about) Move up the Geelong Road, past Olympic Tyres & Schultz’s chaff mill to Whitten Oval and we have Brian Lake playing a similar role. True, he didn’t sign with anyone else, but the long running conjecture didn’t help club cohesion, especially when they were batling with the Akermanis circus, a stagnation of their on-field performance & a publicly (read media) challenged coach at the same time. I feel Lake let himself, his club, his teammates and the Long Suffering Whitten Oval Faithful down rather badly. (Flash to Robert* Murphy for the antitheses) There may well be a perfectly acceptable explanation to it all, but until Emma Quayle or Martin Flanagan write the story, we punters can only base our views on what’s in the public arena. So that’s why I’m down on Brian Lake, and why my grandmother will never race ferrets.

    * Bob will always be Robert to me. .

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