[This match report came to TTBB headquarters by satellite from the MCG via Pluto, hence the delay.]
Jottings from the Ponsford Stand
‘We’re the pride of South Australia…’ Adelaide enter the MCG, the crowd is eerily flat. The media have the game billed as the Grand Final rematch. They are right I suppose, the two clubs that did battle on that glorious September afternoon last year will lock horns at the ‘G’ for the first time since. However, truth is the teams are quite different, we have four players running around tonight that didn’t play in the Grand Final whilst Adelaide eight. Nevertheless, when the two Grand Finalists from the year prior play it is never just another game.
The jungle drums are beating and it’s our turn to burst through the crepe paper.
‘Oh we’re from Tigerland…’ at this point I half expected the Adelaide players, led by Tex, to crawl up in the foetal position such has being the fanfare associated with the Crows infamous camp. The team bus, blindfolds, our club song on repeat. Whatever went down the players clearly didn’t take to it.
I flick through my twitter feed. I smile in approval. A video clips shows the boys walking out of the race and Grimesy taking the emergency phone off the wall and handing it to Rioli, “it’s for you mate”. This group seemed to have captured that illusive balance between fun and business. Long may it continue.
— Tamara Hyett (@tamhyett) July 6, 2018
For the first ten minutes of the opening quarter we bomb the ball into our forward line and Adelaide’s tall timber pick off the intercepts. We haven’t scored and don’t really look likely to. The Crows have yielded the first six inside 50’s and have four shots on goal to show for it, they look up for the fight. Sometimes I think we could put the ball to grass far more than we currently elect to, it would suit our mosquito fleet and give Jack a break from having to smash packs. I murmur under my breath, “Gee whiz boys putting it on Butler’s head isn’t going to get us anywhere”.
Moore, who alongside Corey Ellis is one of our ‘ins’ for the night, has started well. He has got on his bike and embraced the open spaces of the ‘G’. It’s a positive sign, I can’t help but notice his speed, for a bloke of his size, that could really set him apart. He looks a player.
A chiselling ball from Meatball finds Jack and 19 minutes in we have our first, moments later Rioli goals and finally we are on our way.
By quarters end the game was an arm wrestle with the ball pinging between the two arcs, which suited Broady who was doing as he pleased racking up intercepts marks and kicks at will. A player in the tricolours hadn’t gone near him, he had 11 possessions and should the trend continue he was on target for a 40 possession game.
Dusty gets caught holding the ball, I swear he busted every one of those attempts in 2017. I can’t help but feel he is going to be crucified by his own standards such was the level he played at last year. There may never be another year like it. Early on our minds are working faster than our hand eye co ordination with all those little ‘flick on’ passes and deft touches not quite coming off with the bloke on the receiving half a step or second too late to respond.
Early in the second Rioli looks inspired. He is such a pleasure to watch. A Nank tackle on Jenkins results in a holding the ball decision. First gamer Moore takes the opportunity to play on and goals. A fellow Tiger in the crowd still isn’t pleased “We hate a set shot at Richmond”. She has a point, in 2018 we have tended to avoid taking responsibility in front of goal more than I would like.
A security guard strolls past me and heads to the front row. He asks a fan to pull his scarf back from over the fence. I miss the days of banners dangling from every stadium tier and cut up phone books filling the skies and goal squares. There is no doubt that some of the colour has definitely gone out of the game.
A Caddy goal puts us two goals up and the contrast in game style is obvious. Adelaide are dominating the skies and we are loving the ground ball. Shorty kicks another to push the margin beyond 3 goals. The man has become a seriously important cog in the Richmond machine.
I see it coming straight for me. I jump to my feet and shuffle to my left, the two seats alongside me are vacant. I brace myself and let the momentum come to me. I clasp both hands around it and squeeze. Just as I thought it was secure it bobbles it. How the bloody hell did that happen? I did everything right. I pick up the footy and boot it back onto the turf. The ball felt distinctly flat.
Jenkins had responded with an Adelaide goal roosting it right into level 2 of the Ponsford Stand and, flat footy or not, I had dropped the perfect crowd mark. I was filthy.
By half time Tex had accumulated 3 touches, the footy Gods were with us.
If you ever get a chance to watch a replay of tonight’s game cast the clock back to the 8 minute mark of the third quarter. It is quintessential 2017-2018 Richmond. Relentless pressure followed by all out ‘line busting’ offence that leaves the opposition gasping for air. Though truth be told hopefully by seasons end there will be little reason to go back to this game with bigger fish to fry and bigger stakes at play.
Shedder dominates the premiership quarter, a term that has new meaning when we are playing Adelaide. I spend three quarter time contemplating how good it would be to play football like him.
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With the result in the book I put my notepad away and cheer my heart out. The win is capped off by Tex butchering a certain goal by bowling over his teammate 15 metres out from goal, turning a 2 on 1 for Adelaide into 0 v 1 in our favour. The crowd are in raptures and right on cue a bloke a few rows back who had been strong on the sledge all game chimes in. “Don’t you remember the bus Tex? the song? you know…the last tour. It’s coming again Tex, you’re gonna hear it”. He had saved his best for last, the siren went, the song blared out and it was sweet seventeen in a row at the ‘G’.
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The Votes [these unfortunately arrived too late to count – my very different votes can be seen here]
5 Shane Edwards – Shedder by name shedder by nature
4 Broady – did as he pleased until a facial injury ended his night early
3 Prestia – everything he touched turned to gold
2 Lambert – a running machine, the way he sustains top speed when collecting a ground ball is a sight to behold
1 Short – that leg…that glorious right leg
Until we share again,
Andrew Hamilton @_tigertime