Friday 16 July, 2021
I have given us no chances of winning this game and that was before the Covid-19 restrictions caused it to be moved to Queensland. I am completely at peace with this absence of hope. We have to win to make the finals and as I gave up on that score when the Pies beat us last week, all is well. In the end though, I get sucked into watching and then caring. And then, worst of all, hoping. Hope dies hard, someone said.
The match starts at least 15 minutes late as both teams, apparently, are caught in a terrible traffic jam on their way to the ground. Nank and Lambert are welcome returns to the side in Riewoldt’s 300th game. Matthew Parker, the heavily-inked former Saint, is making his debut for the Tigers.
Brisbane attack first and McStay almost marks but it’s not paid and the Tigers rebound. Riewoldt had a chance to snap a goal but the kick goes across the goal-face and is marked by Lynch who delivers. There are a few thousand spectators in the ground, apparently, but any cheering they might do after the goal is drowned out by the music blaring over the speakers.
Richmond attack again, Brisbane’s clearing kick is marked by Martin who plays on and goals. We’ve started well but that doesn’t mean so much. We’ve started a lot of games well lately and it’s been a month since we won. McCarthy out-marks Mansell for Brisbane’s first goal before Parker has a set shot from 45 out. His kick is bad and drifts away to the right where Riewoldt takes a big grab and kicks truly. Things stop going our way though. Charlie Cameron pulls one back for the Lions and then McIntosh goes off with a hammy. He’s been playing very well the past two seasons but it’s only when he goes off the ground for good that I realise how much we’ll miss him.
Things go our way again though – there is no end to footy’s rollercoaster. Robertson marks and will surely goal for the Lions but the ball is turned over after McStay gave Rioli a shove and the umpire gave him a free. Parker takes a great mark 55 out but the subsequent attack fizzles out. With two minutes left Short goes for a good little run through the middle, takes two bounces and kicks to Chol 45 out on a tight angle. It’s the wrong side for a left-footer and his kick seems to drop near the line. He likes it though and the goal umpire agrees and we’re two goals up again.Embed from Getty Images
Bloody McStay pulls one back though with a free kick from 25 out. Riewoldt has a shot after the siren a long way out and on the boundary but his kick falls short. I’m not surprised, he’s never been the longest kick.
Quarter time score: Richmond 4.2.26 to Brisbane 3.1.19
It’s been a good, even quarter from us. McIntosh was very good, of course, before he was injured. Garthwaite and Mansell appear to be struggling a bit in defence, but Grimes and Astbury are doing well. Cotch has had his best quarter for ages and has laid five tackles, while the other mids and the forward pressure have a pleasing 2017-2020 look. It’s magnificent seeing Toby go around again and Parker has a very determined air about him.Embed from Getty Images
Graham gets the first goal of the second quarter following another period of pressure in the forward line. Sadly, Daniher sneaks off by himself at the back of a pack and kicks an easy goal a minute later. There is a lot of support among the sparse crowd and a good chant gets going after Graham’s goal. But Daniher gets another damn goal straight away and the scores are level and it looks a bit too easy for Brisbane. I worry about Garthwaite and Mansell. Garth only seems to get a game when we’re really hard up which must make it hard for him. And then he’s never in the side long enough to get used to it. Tonight looks like another such experience for him.
This becomes a stretch of play with awful echoes of the last quarter against Collingwood. We can’t get our hands on the footy at the centre bounce and the Lions are doing what they want. McCarthy marks and goals to put the Lions in front and the Tigers are fading. Nankervis crashes Daniher to the ground but is pinged for a dangerous tackle. The commentators all think it wasn’t a free. But in any case Daniher misses the shot.
The relief is short-lived. Our bad run continues. We can’t win the footy and when we do we give it away or handpass to someone who is tackled immediately. But Brisbane manage not to score and then a Richmond attack comes off. Graham gets it to Bolton who passes to Parker who gets it to Dusty. He launches a huge, centering kick to Chol who is outnumbered three-to-one but pulls off a brilliant soccer goal. It’s his second for the game and he’s been playing well and for all my gloom and doom we’re only a point down.
Riewoldt marks but misses and Robertson marks at the other end and puts the Lions five points up. The dangerous tackle interpretation goes our way as Castagna wins a free. Stack sends a big, long kick into the forward line and Riewoldt takes a huge mark and kicks the goal. Scores are level, but only briefly. Another dead-easy goal from the centre bounce for the Lions. We just have to stop teams doing that to us, it’s completely unfair.
Half-time score: Richmond 7.4.46 to Brisbane 8.4.52
Bailey puts the Lions 13 points up early in the third. They break away very quickly from the middle and our defenders are often caught out. Rioli takes a very good intercept mark to prove me wrong but our attack breaks down. Toby sends a huge handpass to a team-mate to launch another Tiger attack which again is repulsed. Then Toby marks and kicks to Astbury and the Tigers are away. Astbury gets it to Stack who sends a beautiful kick from 60 meters out to Shai who marks 20 out, plays on and goals.
The music which greets this goal is an abomination, but still, we’re not dead yet. Riewoldt marks a kick from Dusty and kicks his third goal from close range. We’re three points down and things are getting better in the backline too. Garth makes a great spoil and seems to be getting more confident. Shai has a set shot from 40 but his kick is awful. Am I wrong or does his set-shot kicking need a bit of work?Embed from Getty Images
Chol takes a big mark at half-forward. He’s not the only fringe player who looks like he means business tonight. Bolton’s gather, bounce and run is a thing of beauty. His kick is marked by Riewoldt 40 out, running with the flight. He kicks his fourth goal and we’re in front and have kicked three in a row. There is a ball-up 60 out from our goal, a free is called, then “advantage!” and Martin gathers and kicks to Chol who marks and goals and we’ve kicked four in a row and lead by 10 points.
At the centre bounce Mitch Robinson crashes into Dusty who goes down, looking badly winded. He’s led off the ground but will surely not be gone long. Castagna has a chance to put us further in front but misses with Riewoldt and others free. Riewoldt then wins a very soft free for an alleged push which even the slow-mo can hardly detect. The injustice of the free doesn’t bother him and he kicks his fifth and we’re 17 points up with just over a minute left.
It’s a bad minute though. Cameron marks and goals from the 50 with six seconds left on the clock.
Three-quarter time score: Richmond 12.6.78 to Brisbane 10.7.67Embed from Getty Images
The word is that Martin is quite badly hurt. Commentators are thinking he’s broken a rib. In any case he is soon seen zipping up the Jacket of Oblivion and Jack Ross comes on. The quarter begins in a discouraging fashion when Bolton kicks well into the forward line and Lynch goes to ground for no obvious reason. At the other end Grimes drops a regulation chest mark which leads to a boundary throw-in instead of a Tiger getaway. Somehow we do get away with it though.
The umpires give another dangerous tackle free, this time to McCluggage on the Richmond forward line. Things go our way though when Lynch wins a free for a block that was barely there. He kicks a goal from 20 and we’re back to a 17-point lead.
Chol kicks the goal of the night shortly after, dodging past two or three lunging defenders before kicking it from 50 out. He does have a beautiful kicking action and when this one sails through I begin to think we could win this. It’s his fourth for the night and it’s the best game I’ve seen him play.
Castagna misses another chance after ignoring Riewoldt’s lead. Another dangerous tackle is paid to McCluggage, this time against Stack. McCluggage delivers and we’re 19 points up with plenty of time left for Brisbane. Richmond attack and are certain to score with free players everywhere you look inside the 50. Somehow Lynch, under no pressure, finds the only Lion within cooee and hits him on the chest, laces out. The ball is rushed down the other end where Brisbane score and it’s only 13 points. We might have sealed it a moment before but didn’t and I’m pretty cross with Lynch.Embed from Getty Images
The team does not go to water though. Aarts gathers with his usual skill and kicks it to Graham. In the absence of Dusty he knows that he has to go up a level and he does. From the 50 he kicks it and his team-mates get around him. They know how big this is, against a top-four team playing in their home state, with Dusty gone for the night and a run of four losses behind us.
Riewoldt kicks a point from a tight angle, a good way out. The Lions need four goals in three and a half minutes and the game might be ours. But Daniher is left un-tethered in the goal-square like a harmless, old house-cow and now it’s only three goals in three minutes. Astbury goes off injured. I can see the horror show unfolding. But the clock ticks under two minutes and the Lions still need three. Lambert, who has had a very good game, kicks to Riewoldt who wins a down-field free with half a minute left. He kicks goal number six and we’re up by 20 and hope has well and truly reared its head.Embed from Getty Images
Final score: Richmond 16.10.106 to Brisbane 13.8.86
It’s been a great win and like our best wins it’s hard to pick the best players without naming half the team. Chol has had his best game that I’ve seen and Riewoldt, the Kid from Clarence, has kicked six in his 300th. Toby’s return has been more than welcome and many think he’s been best on ground. It occurs to me that for all his great work in the ruck and in marking contests, he actually gets paid by the tackle. Astbury and Grimes probably saved the game for us early and Mansell and Garthwaite found their way into the game after some bad moments at the start. Rioli has been terrific off half back. Lambert and Graham have been good. See – half the damn side.
Now another tough game against the Cats at the ‘G in front of no crowd.