If we think of the off season as sea level, then Richmond’s season 2016 started about neck deep [lame win over Blues r1] and sloped smoothly downwards to the Mariana Trench of this game. There is of course the other Swans game which possibly counts as a sort of Hawaii-style peak rising from the depths. But for the purposes of this metaphor I am just going to ignore it. How can you even wrap your head around the disparity between the two Swans games? It’s painful to try.
We look pretty good before the bounce, with Sheds sporting a new wolfman style. An early start on Mad Monday I guess. We contest the game seriously for about 45 seconds, as though it was just a formality to get done before frocking up and putting on the lippy and wig.
We leave our back half empty which would be an excellent strategy against a midfield with poor disposal, and without a rampaging racehorse of a forward who loves to bomb a goal from distance. Crucially, that does not apply to Sydney. Buddy just gallops away from Rance. Players appear to have run up the race past a big sign saying TACKLING IS NOT OUR BRAND.
Errors. Chol marks well but misses. Lloyd left his thumbs at home, he drops the first of many easy marks. Lambert attempts a soccer goal with 0% chance of success. Delivery into the forward line is just witless. Riewoldt finally marks just on 50 and chooses to dish it off to Markov, which is puzzling. Moments later Jack marks right in front of Yogi on the boundary and puts his shot out on the full. Sydney dance it out of defence, while we seem to be dragging ourselves hand over hand through a blizzard. Aliir is sensational with ball in hand. In fact he looks like the new Alex Rance.
We are out of the game by quarter time. The current Alex Rance is losing his rag, and gives away a 65m penalty. All the signs are there that he might go full Robbie Muir at some point. His man Buddy is just doing as he pleases and kicking like a precision rocket launcher. Chol looks very VFL-paced as he is run down for holding the ball.
As the second quarter winds down Lambert finishes off a promising run through the centre with a dragged kick to no one inside forward 50. 14 goals to one in the first half. We are deep down in the darkness.
Ten minutes into the second half we are 100 points down and playing very, very badly. Rohan chases Rance who just runs over the line to concede a deliberate free kick. Hammer falls over, Buddy goals. Chol goes one handed for a mark. If the sub rule was still in, either Chol or Lloyd might have got yanked at halftime. Lambert kicks to two Swans, there is no Tiger in cooee. Martin is paying no mind to Kennedy who kicks numerous goals.
McGlynn strolls into space marks and kicks his 4th. Swans are doing what they like now. Richmond players are
running jogging in numbers and hunting cruising as a pack but they are nowhere near their opponents. You can see them arriving en-masse after Swans goals are kicked but only on the fairly wide angle replays. In fact our boys are crashing into each other and robbing each other of the ball.
Last quarter, Rance hits Astbury. Grimes leaves the ball behind. Moore, Lloyd and Martin are all fighting for one ball. Martin pinches it off Ellis on the ground. We get a few junk goals of interest only to statisticians. Swans bench for the last quarter hour is: Heeney, Rohan, Buddy, Tippett. All grinning.
Siren. The season is over, the pressure is crushing, the darkness is total, the fish are super-weird.
No-one played well. These votes are more than usually debatable, and delivered with a heavy heart.
5 – Vlastuin Notably better than the rest of the backline who were woeful
4 – Cotchin Didn’t give up
3 – Riewoldt Showed guts
2 – Grigg Wasn’t conspicuously bad
1 – Callum Moore Can kick.
Martin and Astbury impressed the commentary team but I couldn’t find a vote for either. So that brings us to the gongs.
Dusty takes out the Benny for the 2nd year in a row (reminder that 2014 was Brandon Ellis and 2013, the inaugural year, Trent Cotchin).
The Blair Hartley Appreciation Award for trades from other clubs goes again to Anthony Miles (2015 Miles/Houli, 2014 Miles, 2013 Maric)
The Anthony Banik Best First Year Player Award was a tie between Jason Castagna and Daniel Rioli (2015 Lambert, 2014 Lloyd, 2013 Vlaustin).
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot was awarded again to Bachar Houli who now has three of them (first awarded 2014)
And finally the Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal goes to Jason Castagna (2015 Lambert, 2014 Miles, 2013 n/a)
Full tallies are below. Thank you to our writers and voters this season; Vince Morton, Cheryl Critchley, Joe Crawford, Martin Gibson, Ryan Seccull, John and Molly Carr, The Lapsed Tiger, Andy Fuller, Sean Ross, Corbo, @TigerInAdelaide and Liahm O’Brien.
And thank you all for reading on through a disappointing season.
12: Deledio, Lloyd
9: Castagna, Rioli
7: Edwards, Grigg
5: Lambert, Drummond, Markov
3: Townsend, C. Ellis, Astbury, Marcon
2: B. Ellis
1: Menadue, C. Moore
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player
9: Castagna, Rioli
5: Drummond, Markov
1: Menadue, C. Moore
Joel Bowden's Golden Left Boot
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal