Well, the mood in Tigerland has certainly changed with four wins in a row. Not that long ago I was imploring the club to just focus on winning games, and they have done that. Saints and Lions were not super-impressive wins, but beating Port and beating West Coast at Subi are both feathers in the cap.
I can seriously see us winning our next four. Giants, non-Dreamtime Dons, Crows away and, erm, the Saints again. OK, Crows are going to take some beating.
It is only fair, after bashing the club over the head since April, to say its been a very enjoyable few weeks. It’s possible to watch Rance, Maric and Deledio who are all in good form and be tempted to concede that their absence explains the flat first 13 rounds. I don’t think it does, but OK, it contributed.
But let the record show we put in some really uncompetitive quarters in games with our best 22 available, and those brief lapses cost us games.
What was really impressive about last night’s slog at Subiaco was that refusal to give a sucker an even break. It was just the kind of game where an arsey Eagles checkside in the rain that had no right to go in could have started the doubts. Everyone made shocking handling errors but the Tiges just kept going, kept forcing it forward and doing the unglamorous things that had to be done.
I just rewatched the 3rd quarter. We had it up front for the first 12 or so minutes for just Cotchin’s wonder goal; then Bruuuuce said we had been rope-a-doped by West Coast. Cue them to have it up front for 12 minutes for no return.
Vickery’s whack on Cox was just a reckless and uncoordinated bit of retaliation, by a player who is generally thought of as a bit soft and a bit lacking in match focus. It wasn’t a Barry Hall v Staker brain fade or an old fashioned hatchet job. I would actually be delighted to mythologise it as the old eat-em-alive spirit, taking out the talisman and “killing Bambi” as Bruuuuuuuuce called it. The crafty Tigers play the AFL for idiots on clash jumpers, then blow into town, knock out the living legend on his special day, and fly home laughing with the 4 points. Ty was kissing babies and signing autographs afterwards as though he had singlehandedly won us a preliminary final.
He is bound to miss at least 4 weeks. And I am going to call that taking one for the team, being prepared to stand up and make a statement, end justifying means, ruthless Richmond. Not because it’s true but because I would LIKE it to be true. In truth he was just fed up and swung and how could you miss a hooter like that anyway.
His replacement comes down to Griffiths or McBean. Which raises the question of what our aims are for the next five weeks. I am delighted that Mr Pragmatism did not step in at 3-10, and start whispering in ears about draft picks and t**king. You could tell the mood was swinging that way when Dan Richardson started talking down our current list (and serenading Nate Fyfe etc from under their windows). When club functionaries say, in round 12 or 13 mind you, “our list is no good” that just means “buckle up and prepare for more ugly losses, some of them avoidable”.
I say there are two wins available to us each round from here on. The first win can only be achieved by playing youngsters and finding out about them. Name them and play them for four quarters. You might get a clear positive or a clear negative, where at the moment there is only VFL form and a whole lot of curiosity and mad unfulfilled hope in the Tiger army. You might also get an inconclusive patchy performance that tells you nothing, but if you don’t play them then that’s a certainty.
The other win is the 4 points, bringing with it momentum and pride. Rebuilding what we had coming into this season so come Round 1 2015 any opponent is going to approach us with respect.