Going into a game without Dusty for the first time in ages, I really hoped his absence would make room for others to stand up, in the way Hawthorn without Buddy played with a different and more creative style. But as 2017’s best player and Richmond’s ‘get out of jail free’ card, it was more likely to just bring us back to the pack.
I don’t rate Port. Too many individuals. They added Jack Watts and Steven Motlop in the off season, (which by now should have been nicknamed Wattslop. Footy media letting the side down again.) I thought we had them covered, even away and without Martin.
Turns out he wouldn’t have even seen the ball for a while, as we were camped in defence from the first bounce.
2018 has been the year of the double fist thump. I don’t know who decided this was better than an almost uncontested mark but it’s happening all over now. Vlastuin executed a DFT in the first minutes and we didn’t get it into attack until 7 minutes later.
Dixon was just rag-dolling Rance at this stage and it looked ominous. Luckily Port fulfilled my lowly opinion and found various ways to stuff up great opportunities. Short was magnificent sweeping up and starting moves from half back. His kicks always found a target but the next phase broke down repeatedly.
This was the slipperiest Sherrin I have ever seen. The handling errors, and players clean bowled by a tumbling ball – have never seen the like. It was tense like all low scoring games but not great viewing. Robbie Gray basketball-dribbled as if just to point out that the ball was fine, these were purely human errors.
The tide turned when Westhoff tried to set up Neade with a ball to run onto. Cotchin wanted it more and it was back in Tiger hands.
Halfway through the first Q Jack took a pack mark and kicked truly and normal football resumed for a while. Sheds got two in just over a minute and we looked like going to the huddle with all the momentum. Then we manufactured another chance, Conca tried to thread it through a crowd at ankle-height, and it swept down the other end where Sam Gray wasted another gettable chance. Tiges by 7 at the break. Short, Riewoldt, Edwards, McIntosh, Broad, Grimes and Grigg all playing well.
Jack extended our lead after a remarkable grab leaping over a collapsing pack. Everything now seemed to be travelling nicely. Then 200cm Charlie Dixon sold the dummy to new opponent Astbury and kicked long for Westhoff to kick an easy one. Then it was bang bang bang. We conceded 7 goals to 2 in the quarter, our 5th coming to Ant Miles who looked right at home back in the ones.
Vlastuin was taking important marks and Conca was fearlessly bodylining the ball. Nank exhibited a few brain fades. The umpires shared out the howlers pretty fairly I thought but a hold the ball against Conca here was criminal. As is Jared Polec’s hair, what the hell is going on there.
Power by 23 at half time.
Turns out we could have wrapped it up there. The sides kicked three goals between them in the second half.
Jack backed into a pack without actually putting his arms up for the incoming ball and got smashed. I didn’t see the point of that, courageous though it was.
He kicked another goal which I recall was the end of a fantastic string of passes, real Barcelona stuff. Did I imagine it? It’s not on the AFL highlights clip. Although they found time in the edit for some schoolyard scuffles between Broad and various dingalings in teal.
Caddy put a beautiful kick to George’s advantage to mark between two bigger defenders, but he sprayed it. Our set shots were generally good all night, we just didn’t get enough of them. Missed a lot of tackles too.
Sheds’ quick hands sent George on his way and he grubbed that one through to keep a spark alive. At 3QT I wrote down ‘Butler Menadue invisible, Caddy Moore nothing up front’.
In the last quarter the skills continued to decline. An exception was George’s thrilling pack mark and goal. Otherwise it was a nil-all draw.
So look, I still don’t rate Port. We were pretty bad and half a dozen of our side might as well have gone for a few laps of Pennington Gardens instead. Sam Gray impressed me but he’s a bit greedy. Wines and Powell-Pepper were terrific for them.
5: Jayden Short – clearly best Tiger afield. Clear thinking and accurate disposal.
4: Jack Riewoldt – still a formidable opponent. Gave everything.
3: Dylan Grimes – never seen him so confident. Surging out of D50 and starting rebounds.
2: Reece Conca – bleeds yellow and black. 9 tackles.
1: Alex Rance – ended up squaring a contest that earlier seemed no contest.
Mentioned in dispatches: Broad, Castagna, Cotchin, Miles, Edwards
13: Caddy, Grimes
7: Conca, Rance
4: Higgins, Vlastuin
1: Townsend, McIntosh, Castagna
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2018: Caddy, Grigg, Hampson, Houli, Nankervis, Miles, Prestia and Townsend.)
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2018: Liam Baker, Noah Balta, Callum Coleman-Jones, Ryan Garthwaite, Jack Higgins, Ben Miller, Patrick Naish)
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2018: Chol, Corey Ellis, Grigg, Nankervis and Houli).
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
Potentially eligible 2018: Baker, Chol, Eggmolesse-Smith, Moore, Stengle
No votes yet.
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler
42: Nankervis, Butler