Thursday 18 June 2020
My daughter’s soccer training has resumed on Thursday nights. Where once she trained in the afternoon at the end of our street, she now she trains at night in the Deep North of Reservoir at a ground named, I am told, after Trent Cotchin’s father.
This is not all bad. I have plenty of time to call my Mum and only miss a bit of the start on the radio. But by then Richmond are doing badly and it only gets worse. Later I re-watch the first quarter just so I can record it for posterity.
There is no Dusty but we’ve won without him before and I’m not worried. At the start of the game the players and umpires gather in the middle and take a knee in solidarity with their brothers and sisters for racial justice and then the game starts for real. There is fake crowd noise leading up to the first bounce and this is quite extraordinary. This was the most notable loss of atmosphere in the pre-pandemic AFL – the spine-tingling crescendo of crowd noise as the first bounce approached. Well, the AFL destroyed that years ago and now it’s back, only it’s fake. The lesson seems to be, you can have anything these days, so long as it’s not real. I don’t want to think about that too much.
Rioli’s hair is a worry. Its’ far too short and we all know what happened to Bontempelli and to Samson when their long locks were shorn. Richmond are good in the first few minutes. Prestia attempts a long-range soccered goal which goes out on the full. Does his grin afterward suggest he can’t take this crowd-less game seriously? Then Shai Bolton misses from right in front. The Hawks rebound quickly and Vlaustin gives away a free to Gunston who kicks it. I whinge about the umpiring, but it was there and we’d have taken it if it had gone to us.
Hawthorn attack again and force a turnover as Richmond try to clear. Wingard out-marks Stack, plays on and goals and it’s two goals to one point. We attack but the Hawks win a 50 and in no time Breust kicks another. Richmond can’t get anything going. Kicks go straight to Hawthorn players, the Hawks attack again and O’Meara goals. It’s four goals to none and the short quarter is barely half over. Among other things I hate, I hate how Hawthorn have a player called Hardwick. It’s not right.
Riewoldt takes a good mark on the flank but his kick is marked by one of the four Hawk defenders it falls to. Pickett kicks it straight to McEvoy and clearly some basic instructions need to go out to our boys. With 16 seconds left Ceglar tackles Stack and wins a free right in front, and the fake fans make quite a racket.
Quarter time score: Hawthorn 5.1.33 to Richmond 0.1.1Embed from Getty Images
Richmond make some progress after this, but in the end it’s the first quarter that kills us. We lost that by 32 points and we lost the game by 32. In the last term we actually threaten to make an unlikely comeback. But our set shots are abysmal. Lynch’s miss from the top of the goal-square is the worst but he has plenty of mates. Bad kicking is bad footy and we’ve been outplayed all night.
Final score: Hawthorn 11.6.71 to Richmond 5.9.39Embed from Getty Images
Vlaustin might be our best player. Our four Jacks don’t do much. I wonder how hard it is for Richmond, in particular, to play in front of no crowd. Our players and our coach always thanked our fans for their noise and passion. It can’t be easy when that’s taken away and in an even competition every little edge counts.Embed from Getty Images
Next Saturday we play the Saints at Docklands which will be even more soul-less than usual. I would like to say I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not.
Vlastuin 5, Grimes 4, Short 3, Cotchin 2, Castagna 1
5: Higgins, Vlastuin, Cotchin
4: Soldo, Grimes
1: Lynch, Castagna
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award: for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2020: Caddy, Grigg, Houli, Lynch, Nankervis and Prestia)
Houli 2, Lynch 1
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2020: Collier-Dawkins, Dow, Turner, English, Martyn, Cumberland, Aarts, Ralphsmith, Nyuon, Miller)
No votes yet
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2020: Chol, Nankervis and Houli)
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
(Eligible 2020: Aarts, Baker, Chol, Eggmolesse-Smith, Stack and Pickett)
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler in 2020
Cotchin, Prestia 10