Sunday, June 28, 2015

Some wins are better than others

A couple of minutes into the third quarter of what seemed a lost cause, a few desperation acts breathed life into our lineup, and eventually the match.

It started on the wing from a boundary throw in where Sam Reid went third man up, because everyone does that against us, won it down to Kennedy who would usually waltz forward but was immediately set upon by Miles. This forced a scrambled handball to Reid, who again was immediatley set upon by McIntosh forcing another rushed handball to Derickx. Who, being Derickx, floated a kick 40 metres forward only for Dyl to drop back in front of Tippett and wore another Sydney cheap shot, received a fifty metre penalty and put another dent in Sydney's famous 'no dickheads' policy. All while raising the very serious question of 'Who knew that Tom Derickx was still on an AFL list?'.

A couple of minutes later, the skipper kicked that goal and we were off the races.

It gets a little bit embarrassing that whenever we beat anyone half decent it immediately triggers a raft of 'best win in the last 20 years?' discussions but this one is up there. We travelled to a ground that we haven't won at since 2004 and beat a seriously good team after giving them a five goal start.

Where it ranks among Richmond's wins is debatable but one thing that isn't was is that it was Jack Riewoldt's finest moment to date. Jack has kicked bigger bags but none more important, six goals against Ted Richards and Sydney is akin to 15 against others and it shouldn't really matter but the fact it was on a Friday night makes it much sweeter. That we get more than our share of Friday night games can be a blessing and a curse, I wasn't watching but can only imaging the bollocking being delivered our way by whoever Fox Footy rolled only for us to ram seven goals in a quarter and be in front half an hour later.

For the first time this year I was in attendance and boy was it a glum experience for the first hour. After the second quarter it had all the markings of one of those god awful games where the other team puts on a 15 minute burst and Dimma doubles up with one of those 'we just need to eliminate our bad lapses' press conferences that make me want to move to Mongolia.

Then something happened and we flipped the game on its head. What made it more impressive is that in the middle of our third quarter burst they got that ludicrous interchange infringement and that took the ball from a #Tyme set shot after a fantastic mark running backwards that will no doubt be forgotten immediately by everyone on the Internet next time he messes something up. Thankfully Nick Smith got the guilts up and dramatically sprayed the set shot to miss everything. I get that you can't have blokes running on and off willy nilly but what a harsh penalty that is but I suppose we weren't complaining when it went our way against Fremantle at Docklands in 2010 which is a night I remember fondly because I was sitting right near the bench and heard some of the funniest crowd banter of all time every time Sandlilands came off the ground. Back then they had a ridiculously oversized orange flag to signal said infringement which meant that it was still an over the top reaction but at least there was a bit of pomp and ceremony about it. It genuinely looked as if the interchange steward was announcing someone from the Royal Family had arrived.

This may seem unbelievable given the fact I manage to write anything between 100 and 1500 words every week but I very rarely watch a replay, even the really big wins. This weekend I'm up to my third watch of the second half and in one of those I even sat through the first half. What has struck me each time is how grumpy Sydney were. Goodes is one of my very favourite football people but carried on like a complete knob all night, Buddy ran past the ball to bump Titch just before Tippett clipped Grimes, both of whom will miss weeks and as a unit they seemed super keen to start a rumble at any opportunity. By and large Richmond are an incredibly inoffensive team unless you support them, so I'm not sure of the reasoning behind declaring WWIII but they were obviously rattled to start with and then completely off the ball in the second half so it seemed to work in our favour. It's one thing having scrubbers like Zak Jones and Tom Mitchell burning up energy in scuffles but when your best players are doing it that usually spells trouble.

Since we got our shit together, we've put together a seriously good six week body of work and have settled into a much tighter and defensively accountable game plan. It's a shame for Morris because it wasn't his fault he was being forced to play a position beyond his capabilities, but we were much better off with Lambert's creativity up forward despite the fact he didn't record big numbers.

Our defensive pressure was again a huge part of the win. The only benefit of my crappy seat in the pocket was getting a prime view of Nick Vlastuin's control of the contest and constant thwarting of their advances in the last quarter. Rance's game has been much discussed so I don't need to add much here, but what a delight for us to be able to watch him for at least another four years? For too long the best defender in the competition tag has gone to the blokes like Scarlett who don't actually play on the big guns so watching the best forward and defender go at it was worth well beyond the price of admission, and I'm very glad that he'll be at Punt Road instead of backpacking through Europe next year. Alongside those two, Grimes, Chaplin and Batch keep getting the job done without fanfare and Taylor Hunt continues to pitch in where and when needed.

Strangely, I find these posts much easier to write after a loss rather than a win. Especially so when I wait a couple of days to do so because by now basically everything and anything that needs to be said has already been done so on Twitter or in the press.

What I will add is that it was again a pleasure to watch them get it done in Sydney and that the way Richmond players engage with the crowd following a win continues to impress. Long after the siren the group was still working the Richmond fans in the crowd,  none more so that Jack. There can't be a player who has been more poorly received by media types relative to the effort he puts in and the admiration from his supporters. He is quickly raising up the ranks of my favourite ever Richmond player and I suspect one day soon he'll scoot past #12.

Changes for next week

Based on the assumption that Gordon cops a week for a crude elbow which slightly impacted our ability to take the good guy moral high ground. This is also without seeing a second of the VFL or reading anything more than the box score which looked pretty morbid as usual.

In: Menadue
Out: Gordon

The votes

5: Jack Riewodlt
4: Trent Cotchin
3: Alex Rance
2: Anthony Miles
1: Ty Vickery

Unlucky: Loads, but especially Vlastuin and Deledio.


The Benny:

18: Dustin Marin
17: Jack Riewoldt
15: Trent Cotchin and Anthony Miles
14: Shane Edwards and Bachar Houli
11: Shaun Grigg and Brandon Ellis
10: Alex Rance
8: Taylor Hunt, Nick Vlastuin and Dylan Grimes
5: Ivan Maric and Brett Deledio
3: Troy Chaplin, Kamdyn McIntosh, Chris Newman, Ben Griffiths and Jake Batchelor
2: Sam Lloyd
1: Steven Morris and Ty Vickery

Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:

15: Anthony Miles
14: Bachar Houli
11: Shaun Grigg
8: Taylor Hunt
5: Ivan Maric
3: Troy Chaplin

Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:

3: Kamdyn McIntosh

Joel Bowden's Golden Left Boot:

14: Bachar Houli
11: Shaun Grigg
3: Jake Batchelor and Troy Chaplin

Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:

No votes yet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a lovely post, my apologies for not reading it until now. Yes, it is up there with one of our best wins. How did Franklin and Tippet get away with a week each? Beats me.

    Brendan O'Reilly