I didn’t feel the anticipation for this game that I felt last time we played Freo. Last time they were the unbeaten benchmark; but in recent weeks they’ve had a fair claim to be the poorest top-of-the-ladder side in recent memory. Neither has our form been stellar, we have been getting over weak sides with no particular grace or flair. I consumed the game sitting here at my desk listening to the radio while I worked – so I was not giving it 100% attention until the last ten minutes.
I genuinely believe we have left our clueless last quarters behind, this definitely wasn’t in that category. We never had a large lead to lose, it wasn’t that sort of game. It was more that I felt our kicking had been so bad early that we were likely to be run over by the karma truck, and so it proved. I have since watched the game and here are my notes.
Ben Lennon could well play 200 games for us, seems to have a no-fuss grasp of the fundamentals, but his hair is too nice. Over-attention to hair is standard early in a career (Lids) and can sometimes continue into your peak (Cotch) but in my book it’s a great sign that a player has learnt something when they ditch the do that may have served them well in the VFL.
Kamdyn McIntosh has no-fuss hair and in fact now it’s grown out a tad you could squint and mistake him for one of Tommy’s early 70s boys. What a first season he’s having; his skip shuffle toe-poke that he collected to goal was sensational.
Chappy had a wonderful milestone game, one of his best. Pav is a champion and all that but he’s playing in a team that regularly kick eleven goals total and win. The only way to say you’d really beaten him would be keep him goalless.
Before I saw the game I thought Tiger people were overdoing the recriminations against the umpies, after all we won the free kick count. But of course it matters where you get them, and in a low-scoring game they got them in kickable spots which made a huge difference. McIntosh shoved Fyfe squarely in the back one metre out and got away with it, so it was just one of those days. You can read all about umpires elsewhere.
I am on record as not rating Chris Mayne. He had a set shot, out where he would usually shin it into the point post. Then Dusty gave Lee Spurr a drink (inaccurately), Mayne got a 50 and was brought to where even he couldn’t miss. It hurt – gave them 3 goals in a row and the lead, but to our credit they didn’t hold it for long.
I am not sure how a top side can carry both Mayne and Danyle Pearce. They just seem to have a couple of jigsaw pieces missing from what I would consider a finals footballer. We also shanked some set kicks and we have one of the AFL’s outstanding yips victims in Cotch, but those 2 guys are bankable misses most days.
I watched the replay on AFL Analyser, a free app that came on my LG “Smart” TV. I am curious to know if other people have access to this. The full games, ad free, go up usually 24-48 hrs after they’ve been played, with various ways to navigate through the game; jump to goals, inside 50s, frees etc. I just watch the game start to finish. There is a static ad panel down each side for a sports show called The Club House featuring some guy I have never heard of, on Channel 768, a Foxtel thing?? It all feels a little bit like a forgotten loophole that could close any day.
I don’t even know which channel actually broadcast it, it was the one with all the pennant graphics. It was called by Eddie and his mob. I can do without Dwayne and have never liked Dunstall or David King. Bomber Thompson was on the commentary team and spoke once. But I thought Ed was great – boofy enthusiasm for a hard close game of footy between genuine contenders. (I would hate to hear him call Collingwood v Brisbane though). Ed is a large man now and he seems to be channelling barrel-chested old commentators of yore, your Butch Gales and Doug Heywoods. There was little bit of All Night Footy Marathon in the air.
Hampson has gone from VFL regular and “trade fail” discussion topic to a key player very quickly. He was a real presence in this game until injured just on half time. At one point he extracted a ball around his ankles and fed it to Cotch who missed a snap at goal, but it was an enlightening moment.
His ruck mate Maric had a similar highlight when he sacked Fyfe, and even got the headband into the bargain (which would be worth 1000 points if this was Sonic The Hedgehog). I must get a gif of that manic mulletted chase scene. [done]
Newman is amazing, his second and third efforts left me exhausted watching. What depth we have these days, to think this bloke is an optional inclusion up front rather than the keel of the backline. After Newy kicked his second goal I saw one of the all-time greatest football tweets.
Goals like that make me question the decision to leave Newy out of the 1982 grand final side
— Richmond Tiger Talk (@Richmond_TT) July 25, 2015
Lloyd’s first miss when he came on really hurt. He had so much time to straighten up and nail a drop punt. I guess the thing is players even pass with inside-out hooping wrong foot banana kicks these days, and we maybe only see and comment on the inevitable % of failures. We have all seen a player straighten up, gallop directly towards the goal umpire and just get his ball drop wrong; correct approach does not guarantee correct result. One thing I am itching to know is; how good is the skipper’s kicking in practice? Is his weekday/gameday accuracy differential off the charts? Can we get him hypnotised or buy him a dreamcatcher or put him under a pyramid or something?
A couple of bouquets for Dockers – Fyfe’s mark over Maric and Griff was really something. Keep your eye on this kid etc. Also Clancee Pearce, that is warrior stuff coming back on with your arm basically taped back on to your body.
The end? Ah geez. Bachar Houli has balls of steel and he willingly steps up for this kickout. He could have gone with plan A; a give and go with a man who then shepherds while be bombs it up the line to a contest, off hands for a throw-in. But it looks like a very clever honey trap was laid for him – Freo left Lambert unmarked, but far enough up the ground that they would outnumber him by the time the ball travelled there. It ended in Mundy’s hands, and untroubled by his previous miss in this situation, he iced it. I like Mundy, he’s a quiet achiever.
The Tiges got around Bachar and the leadership was very clear straight away – this game was lost by the team not by Bachar. Bachar was really great in his statements after and the whole club, fans included, feels to me to have grown somewhat from the days when we loved a scapegoat to make the rest of us feel better.