Vote and Notes by Welton B. Marsland (@wbmarsland)
The weather in Melbourne on Saturday July 29 was wild and wicked, with severe wind warnings all over the shop. Luckily, Richmond were playing 1,700 km away.
With a opening bounce set for 7:25pm, I had a decision ahead of me around 6 – stay home, safely tucked up in calm warmth and trust the solitary video link for the game wouldn’t fail me? Or brave the pitch black walk in cold and severe winds (and rain, surely, not far off) to watch in the sports bar of a local pub 2.5km away?
Reader, I pub’d it.
Impeccable timing meant I’d procured a pint of Furphy, stowed outer layers/scarves/umbrella, claimed a good spot and had notepad and pen ready just as play got underway. I spared a note of thanks to the Fixture that this was a Saturday night – Friday nights, this pub runs karaoke in the sports bar… last time I had to resort to watching a game here, someone actually attempted “I Will Always Love You” (and not the pleasant Dolly Parton version, neither).
I’m always optimistic going into a Tigers game. I’ve seen us pull off too many miracles over the years to NOT think we’re capable of beating anybody. But I’ll admit there’d been some worry going into this match. Firstly, there was the issue of Jesus and what we’d do about him. Then came the news that Jack Riewoldt would miss the game due to an eye injury sustained at training. We haven’t got a second tall forward at the moment, and now we’d have to go into this game without even the one we did have? Cripes. Welcomed footage of Jesus sitting in the stands with the other non-playing Suns settled the first lot of nerves. As for the second lot, well, someone was just gonna have to stand up. Whoda thunk that someone would be Nank?
The Suns made their feelings known straight off the bounce, getting a goal in the first dozen seconds and another in quick succession. My note on that second goal says simply
Too easy. Kamdyn McIntosh is looking hard at the moment, rocking the Division 4 ‘tache and going bald – I was thinking only a couple of weeks ago, how we just don’t see the amount of baldies playing footy as we used to, so well done Kam, you retro gentlethug, I’m loving it. Loving it even more when he plays a hand in Dan Rioli kicking our first goal, too.
Almost thought my pen had decided to run out, my grudging respect for the Suns’ Wright being able to keep moving whilst dragging a determined Nick Vlastuin almost disappearing into the paper. But mercifully no. There’s just something oily on my table top. Ah, culture!
There’s some bits of play that almost look good. Houli’s involved and it’s great to have him back. Cotch and Dusty look like they’re trying to get things happening. For a place where it’s not raining, things look decidedly slippery somehow. But Rioli looks poised when he takes a mark and puts us in the lead for the first time.
What is to become one of the night’s running themes makes its first appearance in my notes as I scribble down
A second ball appears on the field, kicked aside by BEllis and I murmur into my pint glass if that’ll count in his possessions.
I see I’ve noted down “Shit kick, Shedda, sorry” and can’t recalll now exactly what that shit was, but it must be said the 200-gamer wasn’t alone. Too many times, across the whole game really, some nice bit of play would end with someone kicking the ball directly to a Suns player. Mystifying.
Another of the night’s themes enters my notes as David Astbury takes a punch to the head and no one is caring. This is the game when Richmond repeatedly take affronts to the noggin area and get nothing for their troubles.
Quarter time. The Suns are 4 points ahead of us. I’ve scribbled down
Rioli, Vlastuin, Houli, Shedda, Martin, then circled Rioli. Three good goals, Dan, the quarter is yours.
My partner, D, arrives just in time to replenish my pint and for play to resume. He’s a Scragger supporter. Moral support.
Shaun Grigg pops up out of nowhere and goals to give us back the lead. And then Toby Nankervis, big, lumbering, happy boy-triumphant that he is, decides to lope forward and have another go.
D enquires “Is the Tank playing your tall forward role now?” Well, we don’t know. But you never know. Y’know?
Butler does a smart little kick right on the boundary to Caddy who slots through another goal. We’ve pulled away to a 19 point lead. But then a nice bit of play, including Dusty passing over his head to BEllis whilst falling to the ground, doesn’t end up going anywhere. And then the third theme of the night makes its appearance in my notes –
George – wot?
A brutal Don’t Argue from Dusty (“Has that bloke got up yet?” – D.), a beautiful moment from Rance,
heaps good play all down the field to George for a set shot.
George. Wot? Everything feels scrappier than the first quarter. George gets another go…
George WOT. Little/Bigger Ivan gets someone’s head on his chin and no one is caring.
NANKKKKK!! YESSSSSS!! I think he’s getting a taste for this.
Astbury in it. Shedda involved a bit across the half. + Houli + Dusty But that Q was NANK'S
We go into the half-time break 23 points in the lead.
There’s a lovely interview with The Ivans, most of which we can’t quite make out in the pub hubbub, but it’s nice to hear Little/Bigger Ivan speaks with the same quiet, low, considered style of speech as Big Ivan. I imagine the entire family might be like that. Quiet, considered, going about their business and doing their part.
D and I have a bit of discussion about CEllis’ beard. He looked so boyish just last year, and now he’s suddenly… Bam! – Keanu Reeves in yellow & black. Mercy.
My notes open understated:
Astbury – the quiet achiever.
The Suns goal again. I did like Kamdyn’s dance moves, though, trying to put Fiorini off his kick. And then they goal again, knocking our lead down to just two straight kicks.
Good tackle, BEllis. Somehow, no matter the location, I always end up within earshot of vocal BEllis critics. When he laid that tackle, a bloke on the table behind me said disgustedly, “FFS, Ellis, you put a guy down, you should make sure he doesn’t get up again!” He can’t win, apparently.
Rioli takes a strong mark, even with a Sun trying to push him off. Dusty kicks a disappointing point. Rance gets a slap to the side of the face and no one is caring.
C'mon George... Wot.
A Captain’s goal. Grateful. Our first of the quarter.
Little/Bigger Ivan takes a knee to the head and no one is caring.
Dusty takes a great mark, sprawled on the ground, then goes back and slots it. A goal so nice it made Rocket throw his phone in the Suns’ coaches box.
A good smother from Kamdyn and then…
George! Finally, wot?!! That goal must’ve felt pretty bloody good. We go into the final break 27 points up.
Dusty? Kam, Cotch then Dusty’s circled and an explanatory footnote says
For making Rocket throw his phone
Dusty gives another good smother,
Nank! No., Astbury foils a Suns goal, Nank lands hard, Lambert is brave under pressure. But the Suns, depleted with injuries as they now are, keep on coming. They get another goal.
Lambert takes a groin in the face and no one is caring.
George…!! A welcomed goal. And he gets a lovely hug from his Captain.
I might’ve been impressed with Wright powering through Vlastuin’s drag in the first quarter, but here we see that Dusty can run with two Suns hanging off him. What a fine bull he is.
There’s Kamdyn with a good tackle, there’s Dusty (again) under three Suns this time, and there’s Keanu – I mean CEllis, taking a beautiful grab considering how many blokes could’ve got a hand on it, and deftly slots a goal. We’re 33 points ahead.
It’d be handy to try and kick up the percentage a bit more, lads. But I’m enjoying this game, for all its scraps. Are we not entertained?
George takes a hip to the head and what’s this? Someone finally actually cares! He’s awarded a free and kicks his third goal for the night.
Final score – Gold Coast 65, Richmond 98. We retain 4th spot and we’re within 10 percentage points of the two teams immediately above us. Pretty, be damned.
George. CEllis. Dusty had 34 touches for the game? Cripes!
We repaired outside for a last drink and post mortem chat, then we rugged up and walked home. Along the way, crossing over one of the big storm drains which is currently in flood, we heard frogs. Frogs, people! It’s been too long. What a beautiful sound. We need to save the frogs, everybody. We need to save the tigers, too, of course. It was International Tiger Day, after all. 97% of the world’s tigers have disappeared in the last century. There’s less than 4,000 in the wild now. Can we help? We must, really. There’s over 70,000 Richmond members – that could translate to helping out a few tigers, yeah?
World Wildlife Fund Australia’s Adopt-a-Tiger programme is here, if you’re able to help – https://donate.wwf.org.au/campaigns/adopt-a-tiger/
Alternatively, we can politely ask the club to get involved. Surely it’s worth a shot.
5 Toby Nankervis He stood up. He loped in. His was the feel-good story of the night, much happy-making.
4 Dustin Martin Thirty-four touches is not to be argued with.
3 Daniel Rioli Career-high match goals. Looking pretty confident.
2 Kamdyn McIntosh Liking the cut of his gib.
1 Jason Castagna Work on your accuracy, George, but good on ya.
Unlucky: David Astbury. “The quiet achiever”.
13: B. Ellis
10: Riewoldt, Lambert
6: Grimes, Castagna
5: Butler, Vlastuin
2: 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