[Note – this is A match report, not THE match report which will flow from Dugald’s pen as soon as he gets the kids to sleep.]
We planned Saturday around watching the Tiges/Dogs game. My wife was in Canberra for three days, so the boys and I planned to essentially eat a lot of gluten and saturated fats, and watch a lot of footy.
Then we discovered it was delayed on TV. Which is the worst, because then not only do you need to block out spoilers from other media, you get the ads after goals etc. I decided to abandon my booking on the couch, and do some work downstairs while listening to it on the radio.
The first half was, of course, a disaster. And to be honest my first repsonse was relief. Thank God we weren’t again going to come in at half time with chests puffed out like The Tigers Of Old just prior to collapsing in a clueless spineless heap in The Championship Quarter. I just cannot take that disparity between strutting, high-fiving first half and swivel-eyed, almost comic desperation as the sand runs out of the hourglass in the second half.
Ideally I’d like Titch, Ellis, Grigg and Vickery to develop a cool, calm and methodical approach to last quarters. But failing that, could they at least develop a cool, calm and modest approach to huge first quarter blowout leads? Please? Surely some senior player, or even Dimma, could go around the troops when we have kicked the 7th unanswered goal, and say – ‘head down, take the breather, back to the center, man up and let’s go again’? No – it seems not. Planning the ‘14 premiership team tattoo seems to be the priority.
In any case, we had a break from that problem on Saturday, Marcus was upstairs by this stage watching the upset unfold while downstairs on the radio, the Tiges were reeling the Dogs in. So I flicked off the radio to preserve the mystery, so we could then watch the last quarter together. I felt pretty sure Riewoldt would have to come good and I didn’t see the Dogs having enough scorers to sustain the lead.
I was wrong. Marcus (12) stuck with it until the final siren then had to go off for a little bit of quiet time to deal with his disappointment. Michael (10) who prefers encyclopaedias and backyard archaeology to football, took it phlegmatically, as did the dog. They have both wisely refused to get swept up in any deluded sense of an upward trajectory at Richmond.
And so we have lost to two bottom 6 teams in Suns & Dogs and scraped a very uncreditable win against another in the craven and hapless Blues. Time for an attitude adjustment. We are going to need a major turnaround to make the 8. Collingwood (L) Lions (W) Hawks (L) and Cats (L) means we are likely to be 2 and 5 before we get a chance against Melbourne and GWS to even up a little. (I have no confidence in us beating Hawthorn again, rain or shine). Improvement has to come from throwing McBean, Lloyd, McDonough and Arnot a chance. With so little leadership coming from our senior players besides Cotchin, what have we got to lose by dropping Grigg, Newman and King for an experiment?
Positives; in sitting down to watch the last quarter I actually saw heaps of good moments. Conca seizing responsibility to run and risk; Vickery with a smart (!!) whack back over his head to a runner in the corridor; Orren Stephenson hitting Jack lace out with a pass after following up a centre bounce. All good. Jack looking like the Coleman winner of 08. Griffiths has been a shining success in the 3 games; good on the club for being patient.
I remain an optimist, but of course to do that one has to constantly adjust what it is one is hoping for. Now? Being in touch at three quarter time on Friday night.
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