and op-shopped, lunched and lay on the beach. On the ride back my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the footy, which had already started. She said that even in the second quarter, Richmond were absolutely “harrumping” the Gold Coast.
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We went away last weekend and Saturday happened to be the loveliest of winter days. Bright sun, not a puff of wind nor a cloud in the sky. We rode our bikes into Portarlington and op-shopped, lunched and lay on the beach. On the ride back my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the footy, which had already started. She said that even in the second quarter, Richmond were absolutely “harrumping” the Gold Coast.
This was how it should be, of course. But still, a bit surprising. I don’t follow closely the fortunes of the AFL’s experiments, but I had a feeling that Gold Coast weren’t the duds this year that they were last. Only later did I learn that in fact they’d lost ten in a row already.
But playing away against a team that you should beat well can bring plenty of pressure. Nobody is that bad forever. And we have a nightmare history against the Gold Coast, having squandered premiership points against them when we sold our away games and played them in Cooktown or somewhere in 2011 and 2012, dropped games that we should have won.
So now I construct a match report with no tape of the game, just the match reports of others, YouTube highlights and having listened to the second half on the radio.
Caddy is out injured and Derek Eggmolesse-Smith is playing his first game. After two minutes the first goal is kicked by Lynch. He’s had his share of knockers this year, as you might expect of a big forward on the big bucks. But I think he’s stood up well, coping with his own injuries in an injury-ravaged team. Now, playing against his former club, he starts off with a strong mark and a good kick and there’s nothing Gold Coast can do about that.
Before seven minutes have ticked over the Tigers have two more, to Bolton and Castagna yet have been inside 50 only four times. Then Prestia and Rioli score and it’s five goals in the first ten minutes. Castagna gets two more before the first break, Lynch gets another and Cotchin goals as well and it’s true what my daughter told me, Richmond are absolutely harrumping them.
Richmond haven’t had a first quarter this good since 1981, according to the commentator.
Quarter time scores: Richmond 9.2 to Gold Coast 2.1
Lambert, who is always good, kicks three goals in the second quarter.
Gold Coast are not in great shape, it has to be said. Just before the main break Ellis is awarded a 50 in the backline but no Suns player mans the mark, so he plays on and kicks a goal from 50 metres out. It’s the first time in seven years that any team in the AFL has kicked 100 points in the first half.
Half-time scores: Richmond 16.7 to Gold Coast 3.1
Gold Coast finally remember how to play footy again and win this quarter, 4.1 to 3.2. On the radio it feels worse than this, but I’m glad Richmond haven’t given up more of their lead. They need percentage and they need it badly.
Lynch and Chol are the targets of a long kick to the goal square. Chol plucks it, plays on and goals. Having two big targets up forward seems like such a luxury. Even having one is good. But what will we do when Riewoldt is fit again?
Three-quarter time scores: Richmond 19.9 to Gold Coast 7.2
Halfway through the last quarter Lynch kicks his third, a set shot on an angle from 50 metres out and I’m so glad he plays for us. A bit later Lambert collects a hospital pass from a player I won’t name – because it’s a team game and everyone makes mistakes – and is collected mid-air by a Suns player. He tumbles to earth, bending his neck in a way you don’t want to see. But he’s all right and the game goes on.
Castagna kicks his fifth, his best return in the big league. Ex-Tiger Anthony Miles kicks the last goal of the day which began with an ex-Sun scoring for the Tigers. On the radio they describe the players from opposing teams catching up with their former team-mates. I was always a big fan of Anthony Miles and I hope he’s happy at the Suns. And Prestia is an ex-Sun too. If only the AFL would come to its senses and move them all to Tasmania.
To put this in perspective, the Suns are not in a good way. But an away game against un-fancied opponents can often spell trouble. In the past this was the sort of game Richmond would often stuff up. Not this team though. I’m very pleased with the spread of goal-kickers and the continuing good form of the new players – Stack, Chol and Bolton in particular. Eggmolesse-Smith has played a good first game too. Cotch seems back to his best and Lynch keeps standing up. I could name the whole team. The Age gives Castagna best on ground, with other votes for Lambert, Prestia, Cotchin and Broad.
On Sunday we play the Giants at the ‘G. They seem to be in a bit of a dip and have bad form at this ground. But they do have 45 first-round draft picks in their squad and this will be a proper test for us.
Michael Gleeson in the Age points out that Richmond are sixth with nine wins after 16 rounds, exactly where they were, and with a similar percentage, in 2017. But in 2017 we barely had a player injured and this year we’ve hardly had a player who hasn’t been. So who knows?
Castagna (5), Lambert (4), Prestia (3), Cotchin (2), Broad (1).
Grimes, Stack 18
Lambert, Cotchin 7
Bolton, Castagna 6
Baker, Broad 4
Ross, Naish 2
Rioli, Balta 1
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2018: Caddy, Grigg, Houli, Lynch, Nankervis, Prestia, Townsend and Weller)
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2019: Balta, Coleman-Jones, Collier-Dawkins, Miller, Naish, Ross, Turner, Stack)
Ross, Naish 2
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2019: Chol, Grigg, Nankervis and Houli)
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler in 2019
Baker, McIntosh, Vlastuin 45