North Melbourne; another capitulation. I’ve got three points to make about it.
Dimma seems to be talking to the players in stats. After the game he stressed to the players the contested possession differentials. Is it possible that blokes are dropping off towards the end of games because they feel like they’ve hit their KPIs? Did they look at their numbers at halftime yesterday and come out with the rosy glow of a job well done?
Last I heard, the under-performance of the players was a mystery. Now Dan Richardson has gazed at the horizon and announced we have a War Chest to chase stars in the off season. Does this mean the search for reasons is over, and the club has settled on the simple explanation; list not good enough? It is transparently an attempt to move the spotlight off the way the club is managing its players. These players won 13 games last year, the list was OK then and everyone including myself and my dog was claiming responsibility for this excellent state of affairs.
Any good player manager is going to warn off his stars from RFC, no matter how much money is thrown at them. It would be career suicide.
I’d really like to see Tiges fans not get sucked into the debate of who we should get and who we should cut. It’s a stinking red herring. The things to keep asking are; what has happened to Ty? Where did Dusty go until the bye? Why has Cotch seemingly got shackles on, and why is the spirit of the rest of the side so flat that they let Macaffer practically hump his leg all afternoon?
Serious question; I know coaches have to do after-match press conferences or there are AFL sanctions; are we also required to think aloud to give SEN and AFL.com.au content? What would happen if we decided not to blurt out to the press every Richmond strategic master-stroke? The four walls seem to be conveniently porous sometimes.
Robbie Nahas has said (apparently, can’t fiind a quote anywhere) that the Roos players felt at half time that Richmond were capable of giving up that 35 point lead. The higher the level of any sport, the greater part the mental aspect plays in winning the contest. By developing a reliable knack for falling away in important games, Richmond have handed that mental advantage to every opponent they face. The doubt is never far from the surface of a Richmond player’s mind, and conversely anyone playing us retains hope long after they should have no right to. A player with hope walks taller and runs faster. A player with doubt bickers with his teammates, kicks sideways and stops running. It plays out predictably every weekend.
When a Richmond team give up a lead in this way, they are a disgrace to the jumper, disgrace to the club. A disgrace to the teams who went before, and especially the teams who, although not blessed with talent, gave four quarters of the best they could. What is even worse is that by playing like that they have actually cost us games yet to be played. A reputation as chokers and flakes will take a long time to erase.
Picture the scene; its round one, 2015. Doesn’t matter who we are playing. Richmond surge out of the blocks, 5 goals to one first quarter, four to none in the second. A 50 point lead and the opposition should be moving into damage-control mode. “Not our night, win the one-on-ones, slow the game down, don’t let it blow out, keep your heads up, do it for the jumper, dog in the fight, fight in the dog”. All that stuff. In fact what they are all saying to each other is “this $^&%ing mob don’t think they can hold on. If we hit these clowns with everything in the first contest, and go harder and lower, hunt as a pack and get numbers around the pill – after our first goal they will go into their shell. Second goal and they will start fumbling. Third goal and you’ve started a run on that THIS $^&%ing team will not be able to reverse. Time is on your side and all they will be doing kicking sideways and backwards and praying for the clock to go faster.”
An opponent with hope is going to tackle harder, run faster, jump higher, sacrifice for his mate. The Richmond players of today have stuffed the legacy of the Tigers of the past, and actually handed a big advantage to the opponents of the Tigers of the future. Some effort that.