This was a disgusting performance, right down there in the worst. I have seen teams tank with more purpose and coordination than we showed last night against St Kilda. Before I even sat down to watch, Rance gave away 50 metres to get the headline act Nick Riewoldt up and running. But I was on the couch to see Cotchin give away another 50 (and get reported) for a stupid love-tap to the guts right in front of the umpire. And with that, the tone was set.
Our leaders’ heads were apparently already in September. The preparation for this match with a fellow top-8 side which was coming off 3 wins, was inadequate. There were distractions, but there so often are – they cannot be allowed as an excuse, as they affected both sides.
Our skills were so poor, and showed a lack of care for teammates. We were only down by 4 or 5 goals when self-preservation set in – evidenced by rushed disposals that just referred greater pressure on the recipient. The kicking for goal was criminal; Edwards, Castagna and Prestia all guilty. With a complete lack of scoreboard pressure, and minimal physical pressure, the Saints did as they pleased.
Example; about 5 mins into the 2nd quarter Newnes on the forward flank easily dodged Grigg and Rioli, and seeing the Saints had the numbers around the 50, just launched a bomb in their direction for them to raffle it. Toby Stevens got under it, time passed like treacle, and he dropped it. He picked it up again still unmolested, and then from a standing start weaved around Short and goaled with Cotchin arriving too late to bag him, and other Tigers standing off so they didn’t get ‘Joe-the-Goose’d. We let Stevens look like Leo Messi versus the Burnley Primary School under 10s and I am sure his agent will thank us.
Dusty and Jack gave us very little all night. Jack was at centre-half-back during the early onslaught and Dusty spent time at full-forward, so at least moves were attempted either by Dimma or the players themselves to get them involved. Some younger players who are now regulars had absolute stinkers, and might have to be re-graded as fringe selections.
St Kilda outscored us 9.5 to 0.1 in that 2nd quarter, and we were 82 points down at half time. We tidied up the scoreboard a little and scraped back some percentage in the 2nd half. And that is very important; but for my purposes here, goals and possessions gained after the 4 points were gone count for little.
I wasn’t at the game and I know that the crowd noise that is broadcast is not always a fair reflection of the atmosphere at the ground. Can anyone tell me, after Membrey laid out Grimes with a forearm to the face, did the Tiges crowd boo him? I didn’t hear it – on TV it seemed like the tribe had been cowed into silence, which is an awful thing to say. Membrey went on to kick 5 and seemed to enjoy a pleasant bruise-free night out.
Next week the Brisbane Lions at Etihad again. Very interesting. We are now 2 games ahead of Essendon with similar percentage. Essendon are tenth.
I discussed this with Joe during the game and we agreed a Black Armband approach was required. No votes for anyone.
However; on mature reflection I have decided the integrity of the Benny requires that votes be cast. Even for that inferior bauble the Brownlow (Shane Woewodin has never won the Benny) six votes are awarded even after those dire games where all 44 involved should be sentenced to community service orders.
Often after giving votes we will mention those that were unlucky. No-one was unlucky this week, and these 5 are so lucky they ought to load up on scratchie tickets.
5 votes to David Astbury who stood up pretty well after Grimes went off.
4 votes to Brandon Ellis who took big pack marks in defence in the first half.
3 votes to Kane Lambert who played bravely and didn’t go into his shell.
2 votes to Connor Menadue ditto although he made plenty of mistakes, I liked his run.
1 vote to Shaun Grigg got a lot of the pill and helped out in ruck
13: B. Ellis, Astbury
10: Riewoldt, Lambert
6: Grimes, Nankervis
4: Rioli, Butler
2: Vlastuin, Prestia, Caddy, Menadue
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)
1: Bolton, 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