Votes and notes by Liahm O’Brien
The advice given to me when I first started doing these Benny reports for Tiger Tiger Burning Bright was to ‘write from the heart’. If there was ever a week for this sentiment to be acted upon, then it is this one. I hope to do my best.
Approaching the game against Geelong the mantra of the whole club, from the president all the way through to the property stewards had to be ‘no excuses’. Last week’s performance against Collingwood bridged a significant gap in work rate from weeks prior. It was the embodiment of full human effort and it was a thing of beauty. Today’s game was similar to an extent. For three quarters we the fans were treated to similar feelings and for a moment I could take comfort in the fact that what I was witnessing was what seemed to be a rejuvenation. There was hope in my heart that we had swam through the mire and come to the fork in the road that Robert Plant talks of in Led Zepplin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ultimately changing paths and finding the winning formula… But, as with everything in life there is no guarantee. The Geelong barrage of the last quarter seemed to never end. With every score there was a glare at the clock. ‘Can we hold on? Get it long down the line! Blow the whistle ump’ were all thoughts that raced through my head as endless chains of possessions ended up in a reduced and eventual non existent lead. Dangerfield, Selwood, Enright and Taylor all taking us to task in emphatic fashion. Geelong run out four point victors on the back of inspired play that had been lacking on their behalf for most of the day. Not even our behemoths could hold back the flood caused by the break in the levee. Many feelings had run through my head throughout the day. Feelings of ecstasy at Shaun Hampson’s snap, of the excitement at Rioli rolling one home, allowing us an insight into the years that await and of pride in the sight of Jack willing all 22 men in yellow and black on, something that he loves doing more than the fans themselves. He has left an endearing legacy on this football club already and I’m thankful for the passion he brings to the game week in, week out. Yet only one feeling remained as channel 7 rolled through to it’s various news broadcasts, that of hurt. Hurt for both the warriors that had gallantly tried so hard to achieve something so great, only to be overrun by an elite outfit and for those watching live or at home in their yellow and black, cheering, jeering and hoping.
My final thought on the game is one to help all Richmond people come to terms with today. At all levels, from the tireless warrior that streams out of his backline to fight with every breath in his being, to the watchful eyes of the club hierarchy to the lowly barracker at ground level watching on with scarf in hand and heart in mouth… Be proud in what took place but we must be better. As a collective we must want and need more.
Votes were difficult to do, but I have nonetheless narrowed it down to five worthy players.
5 – Alex Rance: For every willing entry that Geelong made inside their attacking 50, there was a man prepared to put it all on the line to repel their efforts. Rance seemed to spoil almost everything within the three body lengths, constantly making up ground on his opponents and impacting on the ball when he truly had no right to do so. He turned 20-80 chances into contests won and allowed Tom Hawkins to leave the ground only after his colours had been truly lowered.
4 – Dustin Martin: Looked to create at every opportunity with his long kicks. This was the biggest tick from his game as he used the ball in a manner that was needed. Always found a way to contests around the ball through sheer force of gut running and could often be seen wrapping an opponent up or ripping the ball from their grip. Another game from him that fills me with hope looking towards Brownlow night.
3 – Jayden Short: Forget the gaffe in the last quarter where he ran out of the goal square without playing on, we must put the game of Jayden Short into perspective. This is a kid that burst onto the scene as an impact small forward who has reinvented himself mid season, turning into a very reliable half back. I loved how he took the game on constantly off of half back, giving a quick handball and blocking for the next guy in the chain.
2 – Daniel Rioli: In my opinion the best game he has played in his short career at the club. He always looked threatening when the ball was within 80 metres of our goal, constantly chasing, tackling and nagging. Finished with two very classy goals and appeared from the clouds for his tackle on Steve Motlop during the third quarter, a sight that excited many. A very rare player that gives us a glimpse into the past and the future of the club.
1 – Shaun Hampson: Time and time again he finds himself battling multiple opponents and one thing remains… Shaun Hampson will never shy away from the challenge. Made some really nice efforts around the ground, whether from marking or bringing the ball to the feet of his rovers. Hard to believe I’ve done this without mentioning the unbelievably good snap from the pocket in the second quarter in which he turned on a dime and delivered the goods.
12: Deledio, Lloyd
7: Edwards, Grimes
5: Lambert, Grigg, Drummond, Markov
4: Hunt, Rioli
3: Townsend, C. Ellis, Vlaustin, Astbury, Marcon
2: B. Ellis
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player
5: Drummond, Markov
Joel Bowden's Golden Left Boot
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal
This week Richmond is back at the G against St Kilda.