After a string of near misses, it looked very likely we were in for another. A few poor choices led to some poor calls and you got that feeling the game was to be taken away from us. It certainly felt that way at the time.
It was another Richmond performance of note. Entirely not a game to give the media speculators more ammunition about the tiger fragility. In fact it was quite the opposite. Noteworthy for our attack on the ball and endeavour around the packs. Some of the polish of the first five wins was missing, but there was no questioning the hardness.
The thought during the breaks was that Essendon, if they were to get away from us with the ball, would end up carving us up. They had their little moments in the first quarter with two bursts of three goals. Those sat in the matchday memory when we dominated general play for extended periods. The memories lingered as the game wore on… if they can get away, we are done for.
But as it happened the threat level diminished as the cream of the AFL’s defenders rose to the challenge. Of course Rance was his Rancetastic and imperious self, and the leftenants around him also went up a notch when needed. Astbury, Grimes and Short were huge. Rocks. Launchpads.
For all the resoluteness of our defence, there is a shallowness to the attacking options. Jack toiled as he does, and our small forwards plus Caddy also ground away. Clean we were not, but we do need another tall to stand up in attack. The forwards were also not helped by what appeared to be the number 468 bus from Essendon to Highpoint (via Maribynong) that was parked down there crowding out space.
I also liked Menadue (generally and also for that skinny kid taking down Bull Goddard tackle), Rioli and the big Nankervis, and also Titch who had moments.
And our first home viewing of Bolton was impressive… great chase down. Just try not to do everything at once, son. And Grigg and Bachar. The former should be in the leaders for the Dyer Medal if it were counted today. The latter for a good display through the back and sweeping up forward. Reckon he always plays well against the Bombers (I wonder why).
To the votes
FIVE to Cotch for an awesome display, sometimes of see-ball-get-ball footy, and sometimes where he sat off the back of the pack to be a third or fourth player in the chain out and forward. And always around stoppages and directing the set-up. And the fend off was superb. McDonald-Tipungwuti is a real talent, but he went down swift enough, and even bounced a touch on the deck.
FOUR votes to a reborn BEllis. Lots of stats and touches and more of the creative stuff… its good to have him back to that sort of form.
THREE to Dusty who along with Cotch decided the game needed winning they would see to it that it was us they won it. And the Caro baggers can get stuffed. He was great, but he also is at that level now.
TWO to our other elite who we have come to expect excellence from. Rance, as before was just perfection.
ONE last vote to give and its a bit of a raffle because so many were so good. But for this week and being part of that 2 goal for a half defensive set-up, it goes to the under appreciated DAstbury.
The Benny Leaderboard:
7: Conca, Houli
6: Grimes, Nankervis
5: Castagna, B. Ellis, Astbury
2: Butler, Vlastuin
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2017: Caddy, Grigg, Hampson, Houli, Hunt, Nankervis, Maric, Miles, Prestia and Townsend.)
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2017: Shai Bolton, Dan Butler, Ryan Garthwaite, Jack Graham, Ivan Soldo, Tyson Stengle)
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2017: Batchelor, Chol, Corey Ellis, Grigg, Nankervis and Houli).
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
Potentially eligible 2017: Castagna, Chol, Moore, Stengle and Soldo.
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler