The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 19 – Richmond v Collingwood: Who to Roast now?

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 Collingwood

7.40pm, Friday, August 10

Melbourne Cricket Ground



THERE IS ONE GREAT THING about barracking for the worst team in the league. On the rare occasion you win a game, you get to carry on like you’ve won the Grand Final. And what joy, when one of those rare wins happens to be over Collingwood.


So it was on a chilly August Friday night at the ’G. I sat in the press box (OK, so I broke the Almanac rules, but it was for free party pies and surely that gets me off the hook) next to my good mate Jon Ralph, who writes for Melbourne’s little paper on Sunday.


Among his contributions is Ralphy’s Roast, in which he huffs and he puffs and, using monosyllabic words, blows down the house of something footy-related.


Don’t think for a minute that Ralphy lacks intelligence. Far from it. He just feels obliged to give punters what they want. It’s rather frightening that he may be the reason the Sunday Herald-Sun is the highest-selling newspaper, per head of population, in the Western world.


We focused. There was no doubt it was going to be a good night when the Tigers’ rover-stuck-in-a-key-position-player’s-body, Graham Polak, lined up in the forward line. For most of the previous 18 games he had played as a loose man in defence. Given he is listed in the Record as being 194 centimetres and 93 kilograms, you would think he had spent the season crashing into opposition full-forwards.


Instead, he was ranked third at Richmond for loose-ball gets, behind the other opponent-less one, Joel Bowden, and Nathan Foley. Of course Foley had counterbalanced his loose-ball getting by leading the Tigers in tackles and hard-ball gets, while also topping the clearances tally for the whole AFL. He is a hard-nosed gun. Polak’s nose is not as hard.


But, Polak shocked everyone by leading James Clement on a merry dance in the first quarter. He kicked the opening two goals of the game (both thanks to the hard work of Foley in the middle) and from there the Magpies barely recovered.


The Tigers led by 19 points at the first change. Brett Deledio, playing alongside Polak and Richardson deep in the forward fifty, also had two early goals.


In the backline, Bowden stood in the general vicinity of Anthony Rocca, who, unlike the youthful and talented midfielders in the Magpies’ line-up, has no excuse for being burnt out at any stage of a footy season.


Bowden set up many attacks for the Tigers with a rare night of accurate kicking, while Rocca was truly awful. Next to him, Travis Cloke was thrashed by my new favourite 55-kilogram player (there are a lot of them at Richmond), Will Thursfield.


Dale Thomas (it helps when you select a decent player with the No. 2 pick in the draft rather than trading it for a one-paced plodder with hamstring problems), Leon Davis and Paul Medhurst kept Collingwood in the match in the second quarter. Remarkably, Richmond kicked five goals straight for the term. The Magpies trailed by eight points at the long break after booting six goals five.


The night took on a familiar feel for Richmond fans when Rocca and Medhurst kicked the first two goals of the second half to give Collingwood the lead.


“They’ll win by 10 goals,” I said to Ralphy, who, despite being a mad Richmond supporter, looked relieved.


“Just as well,” he replied. “My Roast for tomorrow was going to be all about how shit the Tigers are.”


Suddenly, all previous form was thrown out the window. The team gunning for a spot in the top four gave up. Richmond (often pathetic in this situation) actually rallied, Richo took a screamer, little Jake King ran riot, and by midway through the last quarter the Tigers led by 32 points.


As they kicked away, Ralphy looked worried. “What am I going to be outraged about now?”


Foley continued his awesome form with two bounces and a goal from a centre-square ball-up, while Deledio finished with five majors as the Tigers won by 20 points.


True to form for a season that started with Johnson kicking the ball backwards, a problem with the PA system meant Oh, we’re from Tigerland failed to blast from the speakers. Instead, members of the Tiger Army were forced to sing it without accompaniment. They did it well. It really did seem as if we had won the Grand Final.


The Richmond players ran down to the cheer squad and soaked up the adulation. They then carried Kayne Pettifer from the field in honour of his 100th game. It seemed a terribly apt gesture for a player who is an occasional contributor at best.


Ralphy headed to the rooms. After hearing a series of poor excuses from Mick Malthouse, he decided to roast Collingwood.


My fiancée, The Lovely Zara, a passionate Collingwood supporter, who had refused to sit near me at the game, went one step further by declaring over the phone we would not be travelling home on the same tram.


These things happen.



Richmond  6.4 11.4 15.5 18.8 (116)

Collingwood  3.3 9.8 12.10 14.12 (96)



Richmond: Deledio 5, Polak, Richardson, Pettifer 2, Tuck, Brown, Tivendale, Pattison, Edwards, Howat, Foley.

Collingwood: Medhurst, Rocca 3, Thomas, Davis 2, Lockyer, Swan, Burns, R. Shaw.



Richmond: Foley, Deledio, Thursfield, Bowden, King, Tuck, Richardson.

Collingwood: Lockyer, Davis, Burns, Thomas, R. Shaw.



Pettifer (Richmond) 100 games, Tambling (Richmond) 50 games.



Kennedy, Ryan, Woodcock.



Foley (R) 3, Deledio (R) 2, Thursfield (R) 1.



Foley (R) 3, Deledio (R) 2, Richardson (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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