Votes and notes this week by Footy Gospel’s Josh Pinn
Standing On The Outside
When I put my hand up to provide the votes for this week’s Richmond game I’m not sure I really knew what I was getting into. I thought “If I wanted to follow a team, albeit only for analytical purpose, that is mercilessly derided for finding new and inventive ways of losing close games, I’d go for North Melbourne*.”
Be that as it may, I have a peculiar admiration for your lot. I wrote about it last time the Tigers were making a mostly unexpected run at the finals in 2014 (insert gratuitous link here). This week I got something of a glimpse into the experience of following Richmond and, I feel, the human condition at large. The frustration, the unknowing, the unconditional love, the inevitable dread, and the overwhelming relief.
While I watched the game from the comfort of my living room I did my best to drown out the commentary. I’m not one to use the mute button because I need at least a little bit of noise, so I did have the misfortune to hear Brian Taylor’s over-excited musings (For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed his sidekick for the day, Hamish McLachlan, describes players as if they were home viewers on Sale of the Century‘s Fame Game board. “Here’s Shai Bolton. He kicked two goals last week, he’s a first year player and one of his hobbies is amateur entomology.”)
I don’t know how many of you know this, but it would seem to me that TV commentators like to make a game sound like it’s on a knife edge regardless of the actual situation. Thus, even when the Tiges led by four goals halfway through the last quarter of a game they had more or less controlled since the first bounce, one of the commentators remarked, “Remember Richmond have lost four games by less than nine points.” Why that was relevant escaped me, but that must be the sort of thing you have to put up with all the time.
As I said, Richmond controlled the game, but that is not to say it was a performance that will be looked back on with a great deal of fondness. The Tiges did what was required but were wasteful in front of goals and perhaps overused the ball the bit, but Carlton have a habit of making teams do that. In the end, the wealth of opportunity the team manufactured was always going to end in a win.
*I do go for North Melbourne.
5 – Shaun Grigg: Played in his usual impressive manner. He’s steadily become one of my favourite Richmond players. Gets plenty of the ball on the wings and flanks and always uses it well. Managed to get the ball to dangerous spots in the forward line.
4 – Bachar Houli: Wasn’t a great start to the game with his high hit on Jed Lamb, for which he may have to sit out a week, but he gathered himself and played one of his best games this year. Repelled many of Carlton’s forays into their forward line and was a valuable link in the chain.
3 – Alex Rance: What more can you say? What I wouldn’t give to have a player of his ability on my team. Occasionally has the entire back half of the ground all to himself, but he may as well be a one man wall stretching from one side of the ground t’other. Nothing gets past him. Showed Liam Jones up the other end the level he should be aiming at.
2 – Dustin Martin: Seemed to start quietly but just didn’t go away and his second half was huge. He even managed to beat the aforementioned Liam Jones in a one on one marking contest, which is a feat to which neither Tom Lynch nor Jonathan Patton can lay claim.
1 – Kane Lambert: Could’ve been best on in the first three quarters. He was in nearly everything and registered one goal from a few opportunities, but was hardly sighted in the last quarter.
9: B. Ellis
6: Grimes, Nankervis
5: Castagna, Astbury
4: Rioli, Lambert
2: Butler, Vlastuin, Prestia, Caddy
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.)
2: Prestia, Caddy
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
50: Houli, Nankervis