Tigers Answer Daffey’s Plea

Double maths, first thing in the morning, is never easy. Especially when you’re in Year 11 and the first bounce of the 2011 AFL Footy Season is still 10 hours away. But, I managed to struggle through it (as always), but didn’t escape the wrath of the fiery maths teacher (as always). My mood was lifting higher and higher as the clock ticked closer and closer towards 3:22pm.

School was finished, I felt on top of the world, the weather was cold and misty, and I loved it! Perfect footy weather. I was due at tennis training at 5:00, but a strong rainstorm put a stop to that, allowing me more time to tweak with my Supercoach side, something i’ve been doing for almost two months now. I eagerly awaited for the teams to be read out on Superfooty, and despite not really feeling the vibe all week, it had hit me like a tonne of bricks now. Footy was back.

The only thing that dampened my excitement was that it was a Thursday night, which meant an early start for school the next day. I was envious of fellow Almanacker and friend Jeff Paterson, who was given the rest of the week off starting from Wednesday to go down to Melbourne to support Richmond. Who needs that many days off just to go to the footy?? To get myself a little more acquainted with the two teams playing, I read Paul Daffey’s A Letter To… article on the AFL website, which focused on Richmond’s questionable start to past seasons, with Daff pleading with the Tiges for a promising game first up to give all yellow and black faithful hope. I pondered on this as I watched the intro to the match on Channel 10; would it be another calamity for Richmond? Or could they make a real go of things to kick of 2011?

Daff would’ve been squirming in his seat in front of his plasma TV (I assume) as Carlton went forward straight away, but missed a couple of easy chances through the two ruckmen, Shaun Hampson and Robbie Warnock. Richmond gracefully charged down the field when they got their hands on the pill, however, with Mitch Morton getting a toe to the ball in the goalsquare, kicking the first goal of the season. Jarrad Waite’s two year hold on the first goal of the season had diminished, while the same couldn’t be said for Richmond’s confidence as they went forward again, with Jack Riewoldt receiving the ball in the forward pocket from the revitalised Morton, and the 2010 Coleman Medalist slotted a huge goal from a tight angle which had the yellow and black army up on their feet. They were two goals to a handful of behinds, stop the season now! As expected, Carlton came back, with youngster Ed Curnow roosting a long ball through the big sticks for his first goal in his first game, before Andrew Walker showed some initiative, handballing to Eddie Betts as the latter waltzed around the boundary line, and the Magic Man snapped a great goal. A free kick against Simon White led to Riewoldt’s second goal as the Blues took a small lead into the first break. So far so good for Richmond supporters.

Things would quickly fall apart in front of their very eyes though. The horrors of past seasons came flooding back as Bryce Gibbs snapped a goal, then Andrew Walker had banged through his first before the advertisements had even finished. Brett Deledio zoned off Andrew Carrazzo, which proved to be a bad move as the Italian kicked a composed goal from a tight angle in the forward pocket. The margin was out to 21 points, and it was 14-3 in terms of scoring shots. Morton cut one back for Richmond, taking a great contested mark from a long Riewoldt bomb. Betts showcased his terrific forward pressure by chasing down Alex Rance before converting the shot, but Richmond came again surprisingly, with Dan Jackson and Riewoldt kicking back-to-back majors. Jarrad Waite was hit hard by Deledio, who was definitely having an off-night. In a first for AFL footy, Waite looked to be badly concussed and was ripe to be subbed off. Under new rules, Waite cannot return to the field if he has suffered a concussion, therefore activating the first substitution play with Kane Lucas coming onto the field. Two bad rules at work there. Jeff Garlett booted a huge goal from outside 50, defying his own body size, before a brilliant run by Nick Duigan (who strikes me as a lookalike of Charlie Sheen from the broadcast view) set up Betts, with the latter turning Richmond skipper Chris Newman inside out before potting his third goal. Angus Graham took a rare contested mark to get Richmond back within a reasonable margin, but it was Shane Edwards who gave Carlton all the momentum going into the main break, his kick out of defence landing straight in Hampson’s arms, who in turn got the ball out to Betts, before the sublime foot skills of Marc Murphy saw the ball curve through for Carlton’s seventh of the quarter, a 22 point lead going into half time, but it felt like a seven goal lead.

I was starting to appreciate the cold weather less and less as the third quarter started, but I was still very much interested in the contest. Tyrone Vickery, who finally looked like he was coming of age, tapped to Jackson before providing a shepherd as the bloodnut booted his second goal. Matt White, doing a sterling job on excitement machine Chris Yarran, booted a ripper on the run from the forward pocket to reduce the margin to just 9 points. The fans were getting excited again, they uncovered their eyes to discover they weren’t getting pummeled. Then came a pivotal moment. Riewoldt flew for a mark on the forward flank, dropping it. But, keeping his feet, the ball landed on his boot, bouncing it towards Morton’s direction, who in turn booted the ball long to the goalsquare, and it was that man Vickery who was given a free kick against Thornton. I blocked my ears from the TV but remembered Robert Walls wasn’t commentating, so Bret, and everyone watching, were safe from another bashing. Vickery cleverly went the checkside and cut the margin to under a goal. I was getting excited, I wanted to see them edge their noses in front. That would come soon, the enigma of Jack Riewoldt was about to show the MCG what they’ve been missing out on since late August. His fourth goal came from marking an ugly kick by Graham, putting the Tigers in front, then he decimated Thornton again, losing him on the lead as he kicked number five. He wasn’t done though, with the much-improved Bachar Houli kicking long where Jack had the sit and marked. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Riewoldt flirted with danger as he played on and snapped a goal that set the football world, and the Richmond Football Club, into a frenzy as they took a 14 point lead into the final quarter. There was something different about this Richmond side.

They threatened early in the last. Riewoldt had two chances at goal but didn’t take them. Chris Judd broke Jackson’s shackles and kicked a superb goal on the run, before Deledio made an awful mistake of kicking the ball into the man on the mark (Garlett), who in turn snapped the ball around his shoulder for his second. It was back to two points. Nathan Foley went off for Dan Connors. They had fresh legs, although one man’s legs always seem fresh. Dennis Armfield charged towards goal with ball in hand, and got a boot to ball while being tackled from behind. Everyone watched as the ball rolled through for a goal, Carlton were back in front! The much-maligned dukes of Shaun Hampson finally did something worthwhile, (although those hands have been at work for most of the pre-season) pulling in a strong grab and converting the goal. Walker followed up from the next centre bounce with his second, and the game was as good as over. A great way to start things off in 2011, the Carlton v Richmond blockbuster had finally delivered after 4 years.

I daresay Daff, and many other Richmond supporters around Australia, would be smiling.

Carlton 2.8—9.10—9.13—14.20.104

Richmond 3.0—7.0—13.3—13.6.84


Carlton-Betts 3, Walker 2, Garlett 2, Curnow, Hampson, Judd, Murphy, Carrazzo, Gibbs, Armfield

Richmond-Riewoldt 6, Morton 2, Jackson 2, Vickery, Graham, White


Carlton-Murphy, Curnow, Gibbs, Scotland, Betts, Warnock, Judd, Carrazzo, Robinson

Richmond-Riewoldt, Cotchin, White, Houli, Grigg


60,657 at the MCG


3: Marc Murphy (CARL)

2: Jack Riewoldt (RICH)

1: Ed Curnow (CARL)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Steve Healy says

    Loved the report Josh, although what you described as a ‘long riewoldt bomb’ was actually a snaked shot on goal that fell short, hahaha. Richmond showed something, but I don’t know if many Richmond supporters would’ve been too happy after the last quarter.

    Bring on the footy season!

  2. Nice one Josh.
    One thing i noticed was that Richmond, have plenty of lookers.
    Although, as we saw with my supercoach team last year, pretty does not always make a winning team, well
    scoreboard wise anyway. lol :)

  3. good eff josh. your writing has gotten so good! pity carlton won.
    and don’t worry, soon enough you’ll be able to drop maths

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