The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Richmond v West Coast

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 www.footyalmanac.com.au. Follow the season!

 

 

 

Richmond versus West Coast

2.10pm, Saturday, April 28

Melbourne Cricket Ground

By CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN

 

 

THIS WAS WEST COAST’S ONLY VISIT to the MCG during the home and away season. Most pundits were, however, pretty confident that one of today’s sides would be here again in late September.

 

The hapless Tigers, 0-4 coming into this game, looked to be no chance. An Eagles’ victory seemed a mere formality before the club’s officials met with the AFL Commission about the series of misadventures reported this year. While I’m heartily sick of West Coast as a football club, I know that any chance to see the Eagles at their best – that is, playing footy – should be seized. The opportunity to see Chris Judd, Daniel Kerr and Dean Cox is well worth a ticket.

 

The Tigers? I was interested to see whether Nathan Foley’s emergence could be franked by a good performance, and whether Graham Polak, who had shown signs of stirring from his slumber against the Dogs, could impress again.

 

Searching for motivation, we tuned in to the Coodabeens on ABC Radio. It’s fair to say the build-up was somewhat understated. A weather forecast about as promising as Richmond’s form contributed to the paltry turnout of 27,326.

 

After 23 seconds, with clouds looming, and a goal to West Coast already, I nodded knowingly to Thomas, my 10-year-old. We tipped this. After another major to the Eagles, we prepared for them to put on a clinic. But Richmond responded. When Richard Tambling skipped, stepped, and kicked a goal the whole side lifted. The Tigers became fearless and bold. Andrew Raines rebounded with daring and finesse and Luke McGuane thrashed Ashley Hansen. David Wirrpanda was typically unaccountable and the Eagles were genuinely rattled. Troy Simmonds typified the demeanour of the underdogs by charging at Judd.

 

Jay Schulz was in rare form – almost. He took four good marks inside fifty but failed to convert any of them. Tambling, however, took the four chances on offer to him and, incredibly, the Tigers led by 15 points at the first break. The free-kick count was lopsided towards the Eagles, a stat not lost on the biased crowd. The Tigers were right in it.

 

Richmond opened the second quarter with another goal. Then West Coast dobbed a couple and, for some reason, Richmond reverted to type. Rather than take the game on, they stopped. They chipped out of defence. They forfeited free kicks carelessly. Joel Bowden kept turning the ball over. Gaspar kicked poorly. And Richo just went missing.

 

The Eagles had all the momentum, scoring six unanswered goals. But the highlights were McGuane’s spectacular leap and mark, and Kerr’s gritty tackle as Chris Hyde streamed towards goal. Kerr, after being quiet early, was having an impact. Eagles full-back Darren Glass reinforced the unorthodox nature of this game by sneaking forward to kick a rare goal.

 

At half-time the Auskickers were confronted by the hoots and jeers of a crowd disgusted by the umpiring. The Tigers fans had a fair case.

 

In the third quarter, Brett Deledio’s 60-metre torpedo goal inspired the Punt Road end, but progress was stifled. The Eagles steadied. Hansen led hard and for the first time all afternoon the Eagles had a target up forward. Adam Selwood and Matt Rosa racked up possessions and Andrew Embley consistently found space.

 

The Tigers, however, kept coming. They raised the bar in a thrilling final quarter. Polak and Foley continued to impress, with Polak taking marks and Foley offering grunt around the ball. Richmond had a sniff. The Tiger Army willed them ever closer with characteristic passion. Are Richmond fans the only ones who wear the guernsey over a collar in the MCC Members?

 

The roar was contagious and Richmond played with the daring they had shown in the opening stanza to close to within a goal. They had so much of the footy and the Eagles looked spent. But they took poor options and there was no Voss or Hird to lead the way. Despite their passionate attempt, the Tiges just didn’t know how to win the match.

 

Richmond fans can take some hope. Deledio is classy, Tambling a potential match-winner. Polak is worthy of a key position, Schulz can take a contested mark, Raines is sublime and Foley is prolific, while McGuane is a work in progress. West Coast are vulnerable. But, when stirred, their talent comes to the fore.
Those who made the effort to go to this game were doubly rewarded. The weather forecast was wrong, and the game was nothing like the blowout so many people anticipated. In fact, this match was a cracker.

 

 

Richmond  5.3 6.4 8.7 11.10 (76)

 West Coast  2.6 8.10 10.13 14.15 (99)

 

GOALS

West Coast: Lynch 4; Wirrpanda, Hansen 3; Hunter 2; R. Jones, Glass.

Richmond: Tambling 4; Hughes 3; J. Bowden, Deledio, Jackson, Pettifer.

BEST

West Coast: Selwood, Kerr, Embley, Hansen, Rosa, Lynch.

Richmond: Polak, Raines, Tambling, Deledio, Foley.

MILESTONES:  Simmonds (Richmond) 150 games; B. Jones (West Coast) 50 games.

UMPIRES: Pannell, Ryan, Wenn.

VOTES: Kerr (WC) 3, Selwood (WC) 2, Deledio (R) 1.

BROWNLOW:   Selwood (WC) 3, Polack (R) 2, Judd (WC) 1.

CROWD:   27,326

 

 

 

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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