Tigers Before Homework

Holiday homework. To almost everyone in high school, it’s not the amount of work that trips them up: it’s the general belief that you’re going to get around to it. But you don’t until the final weekend of the holidays.
So, need to summarise my VCE French Revolution notes….not too bad, a couple of pages….you know what, I reckon I can write it while watching the footy.
Marxist historians such as Rudé and Soboul consider the French Revolution to be a milestone in human development….speaking of development, Richmond, should they lose this one, will make none this year. Not that I’m worried; after all, I haven’t been this confident of a win since we lost to Gold Coast last year…..OK, back to work. Marxist historians such as Rudé and Soboul…….Melbourne are terrible, right? I mean, sure we haven’t won a game yet either, but we are the better team, aren’t we?
Richmond dominates the first couple of minutes with passion, sans finesse, but Melbourne just works it, calmly, professionally and easily, coast to coast for a goal to Mitch Clark. I have a bad feeling that all Richmond fans know. It’s called déjà vu. We need some spark….someone with about as much delicate refinery as a French peasant and all the guts and grit of a revolutionary….
Nathan Foley, the most underrated Richmond midfielder, steps up. With his usual uncomplicated intensity, he gathers a stack of touches and does good stuff with them all: he sets up our first to Tyrone Vickery from half back and then another to pocket rocket Robbie Nahas with a perfectly weighted pass.
The game becomes very enjoyable to watch as the Tigers bomb the ball forward with ease. In a 10 minute burst, they slam on 4.4 (not exactly the Blitz, but, hey, it’s Richmond) to set up a twenty point lead that is cut to two goals at quarter time.
OK….. Marxist historians such as Rudé and Soboul consider the French Revolution to be a milestone in human development….God! Riewoldt just had a ping from a fathomless deep pocket instead of squaring it up. I’m questioning his judgement a bit these days. His errant, ‘on the whim’ decision making and seeming lack of effort are straight out of Richo’s dark side. Nonetheless, he makes some space and finishes off another good pass from Foley to kick a goal. Good timing, since Melbourne takes three minutes to erase a lead that Richmond had taken a quarter to build up. Nathan Jones takes the game by the scruff of the neck, tackling, winning contested possession and kicking a very impressive goal. Yet few lift around him, and when Mitch Clark hits the post on a crucial shot twenty metres out, earning him a remorseless spray from the Richmond grog squad, the Demons miss a chance to take the ascendency.
A mild scuffle breaks out just with a few minutes left. One can only imagine that Damien Hardwick is holding back a seething Jake King up in the box. And, admittedly, the fight lacks something without the human pitbull in the Richmond jumper eating the head of the opposition ruckman, as he did with Ben McEvoy and Darren Jolly.
Richmond holds a slender lead going into the premiership quarter.   To be honest, even though I currently have only four lines worth of notes, I couldn’t have done any work in this term if I tried, because Richmond play with such freedom, discipline and control that anything other than watching them is out of the question.
Deledio and Cotchin, struggling to get into the game in the first half, step up and have an immediate impact. Cotchin has that special ability of champions: to make pinpoint precision and tight, in-close work look like a procession. He turns Dunn inside out to slot a major, the result of some clever positioning and gut-running from Deledio up the ground. As one, and in an instant, the Tigers turn on an absolutely magnificent performance: they apply their own game plan perfectly while shutting down Melbourne’s completely. But the greatest thing is that Martin, Deledio and Cotchin are only bit-part players in the annihilation: it’s Nahas, suddenly all over the ground, Grigg, playing the finest game of his career as a rebounder in the centre, the lean, mean Tuck, with his calculating, undeniable wiliness, hard-nosed Conca and equally hard-nosed Foley, whose passes Inside 50 burn holes in the Melbourne defence like a hot poker through snow, who win the game. This isn’t to say that Martin, Deledio and Cotchin don’t do their part: indeed, the sight of Martin, Richmond’s Napoleon Bonaparte, brutally ‘don’t arguing’ his way to slamming a goal from the centre square in a ‘ fuck this’ manner to extend the margin to five goals breaks Melbourne’s back. Cotchin looks Black-esque with his precision passing, decision making and calmness in and around packs. Deledio leads the most critical passage of play in the quarter: Aaron Davey, trying to break the stonewall of Richmond’s half-forward line, is corralled at every corner without support and checkmated by a Deledio tackle. A goal results to the newest Richmond cult hero, Ivan Maric, whose magnificent, stallion mullet endears him to the general demographic of the Richmond cheer squad. Apart from that, he offers the crucial big, mobile body that the Tigers have needed since the departure of Brad Ottens.
The French peasants moved as an unstoppable force when they took down the Bastille on June 11 1789…but it’s unlikely that they were as irresistible as these Tigers, with every link in the chain working together, kicking nine goals for the quarter and slashing Melbourne to flecks and ribbons.
Consider these stats: in the third quarter, Richmond has 83 more disposals than Melbourne, 13 more clearances and 21 more Inside 50s (Melbourne don’t even get the ball into their half in the last eleven minutes of the quarter).
The Richmond domination is helped by Melbourne’s complete lack of structure and heart. Aside from the nuggetty Nathan Jones and Jeremy Howe, they look completely helpless and disjointed. Melbourne supporters must be growing impatient with Jack Watts, who is all promise and no substance, too much caviar, not enough beef, too much Zac Efron, not enough Bruce Willis. Mitch Clark was selfish at Brisbane and is the same here.
By 1787, the French Comptroller-General Calonne’s suggestions for tax reform were forgotten and ignored, and he was left a broken man…poor old Mark Neeld has had the toughest first three weeks of any coach, and wears his worries and human fragility on his sleeve, which has at least brought him the benefit of the doubt from the public.
The game takes twenty minutes to die in the last quarter. The Demons are broken and Richmond still can’t ruthlessly maul teams when they are at their mercy. Neither team will make the finals this year, but only one is headed towards them.
So, my History teacher probably won’t accept my excuse for not finishing my summary. But I’ll let him know, without hesitation: there is a faint smell of revolution in the air, after all.
RICHMOND            4.4    6.8    15.11   20.13   (133)
MELBOURNE         2.3    5.6     6.6       11.8     (74)
Cotchin 3, Miller 3, Conca 2, Nahas 2, Deledio 2, Maric, Martin, Riewoldt, Houli, Vickery, Grigg, Jackson, Tuck
Clark 2, Howe 2, Trengove 2, Dunn 2, Watts, Jones, Sellar
Grigg, Conca, Houli, Deledio, Cotchin, Rance, Martin, Tuck, Nahas
Howe, Jones, McKenzie
Umpires: Schmitt, Armstrong, Mitchell
Official crowd:
49,826 at MCG
3-R. Nahas (R) 2. S. Grigg (R) 1. N. Foley (R)

About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.

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