The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 12 – Richmond v Melbourne: Brown gives the yellow and black a boost

The first printed edition of The Footy Almanac came out in 2007, before we had a website. In the absence of a real 2020 season, we will be publishing the 2007 pieces for the first time ever on Follow the season!



Richmond versus Melbourne

7.40pm, Friday, June 22

Melbourne Cricket Ground



RICHMOND AND MELBOURNE GAMES at the MCG are like few others. The two clubs have been next-door neighbours since the mid-1880s, with Melbourne based at the cricket ground and Richmond based just metres away, in the bottom corner of the Yarra Park precinct, at the Punt Road Oval. Yet these clubs are a study in contrasts. Melbourne is the toffs’ team; the Tigers like to eat ’em alive.


When Lou Richards penned Boots and All back in 1963, he made it clear that the clubs were at opposite ends of the social spectrum. The Tigers were a club for everyone. Melbourne were a more exclusive bunch.


Of course, this has always been to Richmond’s benefit. Both clubs have struggled financially in the past two decades but, while Melbourne have seen more finals action, Richmond are still considered Big Four.


There is not much love lost between the two sets of supporters either. The clubs play for the Berry Street Cup in honour of the children’s welfare organisation based just off Yarra Park, but it’s a cup which means little to fans.


At 6.30pm on this Friday, I began my trek from the London Tavern in Lennox Street, Richmond, to the ground. The ’G looked glorious as light rain fell. I had a couple of Richmond supporters and my father in tow, and we were headed to the MCC Members’ area. The Demons had won their last two games before the mid-season break, offering fans some hope after nine weeks of pain. Tigers fans had not had the pleasure of a single win.


The big news was that Nathan Brown was back. Since breaking his leg in horrific fashion against Melbourne in 2005, he’d barely played. When he did, the spark that ignites his game has been missing. On his day, Brown plays like James Hird or Andrew McLeod; he’s a second or two ahead of other players.


In the first 15 minutes of this game, Brown unselfishly set up captain Kane Johnson for a goal, kicked one himself, and had seven possessions. As he jogged towards the bench for a rest, he received a standing ovation. The Tigers had busted the game open in those 15 minutes.


As my friends and I left our seats at quarter-time to repair to the Long Room, two happy faces went to buy the first beers and two miserable faces started to dissect what had gone wrong. There was not a lot to say, really. It was not a question of tactics. Richmond were too good. Melbourne were atrocious.


We had barely settled back into our seats, cold and wet, when the onslaught resumed. Tivendale, Polak, and Tuck dominated. Hyde and Richardson picked up plenty of kicks, too, though Richo was his usual unreliable self in front of goal.


The Dees were missing David Neitz up front, and Adam Yze was not providing adequate cover – five possessions for the night told the story. Aaron Davey and Clint Bizzell tried hard, but Richmond kicked 6.5 (41) to Melbourne’s two behinds in the second quarter, and the Tigers’ quarter-time lead of 25 points was stretched to 64 points at the main break.


There were many grim faces in the Long Room. Mutiny hung in the air. It’s one thing to lose a football match; it’s another thing to do so while giving the appearance that no effort is being made. Dees fans, in their 43rd year without a premiership, have endured a lot – false dawns and fallow periods. This was one of the very low moments. Not quite 1988 Grand Final bad, but bad nonetheless.


Things then evened up a little, with the Dees giving the game a good shake in the third quarter. Ben Holland, after a terrible first half, kicked three goals as Melbourne put on six to three for the quarter. It was the steadying influence of Brown that soothed Tiger nerves.


The final term fizzled out. Both teams were spent. Brown kicked his third and was mobbed by teammates. The Tigers just shaded the Demons for the quarter, four goals to three, but long before the game was over the stands were emptying. My father and I did the honourable thing, hanging about until (just about) the end of the game.


The weather, combined with the poor skills from these cellar dwellers, meant that this was a game of footy as it once was played – raw, tough and uncompromising. Richmond had shown what some call guts and determination. Melbourne had lacked what some call intestinal fortitude. The Tigers thoroughly deserved their win. With Brown, the spark could not have been provided by a more likeable champion.


In the days after the game, another likeable champion would pay for his side’s capitulation, rightly or wrongly.


Neale Daniher resigned as Demons coach after 10 years.



Richmond  6.3 12.8 14.12 18.16 (124)

Melbourne  2.2 2.4 8.6 11.9 (75)



Richmond: Richardson, Pettifer, Brown, Tivendale 3, Deledio, Hyde 2, K. Johnson, Tuck.

Melbourne: Holland 3, Davey 2, Jones, McLean, Bate, P. Johnson, Petterd, Robertson.



Richmond: Brown, Tuck, Foley, Tivendale, K. Johnson, J. Bowden, Polak.

Melbourne: White, Davey, Holland, Sylvia, Bate, Bizzell.



Donlon, James, Rosebury.



Brown (R) 3, Tuck (R) 2, Tivendale (R) 1.



Polak (R) 3, Richardson (R) 2, Deledio(R) 1.






For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


Printed copies of The Footy Almanac 2007 can be purchased here.


2007 Footy Almanac

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