The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 4 – Richmond v Western Bulldogs

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 v Western Bulldogs

7:40pm, Friday April 20



by Adam McNicol



THE RICHMOND BANDWAGON has long been steered by those in the back seats. With this in mind, it was little wonder Terry Wallace tried to sell his wait-until-2011 plan to the Waynes from Wantirna and the legion of Tigeratchiks, who erupt on talkback radio at the sight of a stray shot from Richo.


I pondered this cliché of Richmond supporters turning on their own in the lead-up to their Round 4 Friday night match against the struggling Western Bulldogs. With the Tigers winless after three rounds, the yellow and black army – of which I am a member – was already restless. But I wasn’t heading to the MCG to witness the latest meeting of the tribal council. Instead I was preparing to listen to the game during a three-hour road trip from Melbourne to the Grampians with TLZ (The Lovely Zara) and her sisters Eleanor and Sophie who form one of the most persistent back-seat-driving combinations on the planet.


We were still at home when Rex Hunt called the opening bounce. By the time we hit the road the Tigers were four goals down. It wasn’t even quarter-time. The Bulldogs, looking to get their season back on track after awful losses to Adelaide and St Kilda, had attacked the ball fiercely in the opening minutes. Yet, despite the urgings of the Herald Sun, which had run several articles on how much the two teams loathe each other, there was no hate. One punch-up and some skin under Libba’s fingernails in 2001 don’t make them Celtic and Rangers. Luke Darcy, delighted to be lining up against Richmond’s pathetic excuse for a backline, booted three of those first-quarter goals. Thankfully for the 37,000 spectators who bothered to turn up, Richo booted the 700th of his career and helped narrow the margin to 14 points at the first change.


TLZ decided to drive the opening stint. We had been travelling for just five minutes, from Northcote to Bell Street, Coburg, when the first mutterings began in the rear of the car. Sophie limbered up first. “Zara, I don’t like you driving in this lane.” Eleanor chipped in. “Yeah, I think you should change lanes.” TLZ ignored the early barrage. We reached the Western Ring Road. “I don’t think you put your indicator on early enough,” was Sophie’s latest advice. By the time we reached the Ballarat exit, I was furiously gesticulating in the passenger seat, insisting that Zara turn left, when evidently she was about to do just that. She glared at me. “You’re just as bad as the other two.” Cop that!


It was time to turn up the radio and concentrate on the footy. Even Robert Murphy, a shadow of his pre-reconstruction self in the opening three rounds, was kicking goals for the Dogs. They led by 33 points at the long break. Scott West had already picked up 19 possessions. As we approached Ballarat, the 3AW signal dropped out and after a brief flirtation with 1134 3CS and its ads for Colac Stock Feeds, I tuned into Triple M. James Brayshaw did his usual Mark Nicholas impersonation as Richmond found the urge to fight back. Youngster Nathan Foley, the rarest of beasts – a natural footballer in a pack of athletes – continually drove the ball forward, while in an unlikely turn of events, the other spark came from under-performing recruit Graham Polak. The former Docker booted goals either side of three-quarter time and in an instant the margin was back to 16 points. All seemed set for an exciting finish.


Tired of being tailgated by truck drivers, TLZ decided she needed a break. I drove through Ararat, past its magnificent town hall, a legacy of the 19th century gold rush. Luckily, Brayshaw had put the back-seat drivers to sleep. When I switched to the ABC for the last 20 minutes of the game, Richmond nodded off as well. Adam Cooney ran riot as the Bulldogs blew their lead back out to 43 points and shut the gate on their labouring opposition. The final siren brought the Dogs their second win of the season; Richmond a fourth loss from four starts. The ABC’s talkback lines immediately heated up. Most callers seemed unlikely to stay cool until 2011.


Eleanor and Sophie burst into life at the sight of an owl sitting in the middle of the road. As we neared Hall’s Gap, TLZ spotted a kangaroo beside the road. “Watch out!” she screamed. It was not what my old footy coach would call constructive talk. But we arrived without further incident. Desensitised by years of Richmond failure, I tuned in to the ABC’s prematch the following day to hear the fans’ latest outbursts. I suspect Terry Wallace did not.




RICHMOND                              4.2    5.5    8.13    14.16 (100)

WESTERN BULLDOGS        6.4    10.8  12.11   20.12 (132)



Western Bulldogs: Darcy, Murphy, Cooney 4, Robbins, Higgins 2, Hargrave, Giansiracusa, Boyd, Johnson

Richmond: Polak, Hyde, Richardson 3, Schulz 2, P. Bowden, Tivendale, Tuck



Western Bulldogs: Cooney, West, Murphy, Griffen, Gilbee, Darcy

Richmond: Foley, Hyde, Polak, Richardson, J. Bowden, Tuck


Crowd: 36,821




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


If you want a printed copy of the 2007 edition of the Footy Almanac, they can be purchased HERE.




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