Round 4 – Richmond v Collingwood: Surviving the Hype

By Patrick Grindlay

Hype had surrounded the tigers for weeks. With three wins in as many games, the hysteria and positive mood had left no nook or cranny untouched, no radio station not bombarded. Most of all, Richmond fans could now wear their caps again, with the exception of Trout, a local Richmond supporter who is well known for his unwavering support of anything yellow and black.

But it was this Saturday arvo clash against the Pies that had drawn everybody’s attention. Big crowd, big venue, a good opposition, and massive amounts of pressure.

Big game, in short.

The game hadn’t even started when dad was in the foetal position, which is actually better than normal.

That was around three hours before the game.

Gerard and co were talking about the good old days when dad finally broke, and joined brother and I in a good old fashioned kick-to-kick.

Which lasted 10 minutes before dad went back to the house. Fathers…

Tyson Goldsack is a late out for the pies, with Macaffer coming in. Not massive, I think, and then Gerard mentions that DALE THOMAS is Collingwood’s sub. Wow, this is helpful. Ellis is sub again for the Tigers as the commentators joke about the green vest becoming a compulsory uniform for the kid. Justin Leppistch also joins in.

All males in the house crowd the radio as the bounce draws closer.

Mum’s in the garden.

Ahh, what footy does to us.

Siren, the immediate stone face from father, and Riewoldt goals to start us off. Martin is electric, as Ty receives a great kick from Jack to goal, before the pies wake, and pepper the sticks, but only one goal comes out of it. The Tigers have a lot more of the ball, but have been slightly wasteful. Swan is lively, but he plays a bit of a lone hand. Mullet and the rejuvenated Ben Hudson battle their hearts in the middle, and both midfields are working well. Push-up King kicks one from 50 to end the quarter, with the tigers 11 points up, and dad’s stone face slightly (slightly) is softened.

The Pies start to play a bit like the Pies of old, with Travis Cloke slowly getting the better of Alex Rance and Sidebottom lurking dangerously at ground level. Martin still has consistency issues, and Cotchin plays, well, like Cotchin. Chaplin is on and off with a sore calf. But the Pies seem to have more chance of winning, and score 4.4 to 3.2 for the quarter, trailing by 3 at oranges. Dad goes to listen in his room.

Mum is still gardening.

I go outside to my makeshift oval, which is about 30 metres long, and 70 wide. The goalposts are old bamboo, and the boundary is a mix of young oaks, rose bushes and the neighbours’ dam.

They yell freqeuntly over the dam to us about the games, asking about footy and stuff. When Richmond are playing, I joke that dad is in his happy place, which seems to always be 1980, funnily enough. We laugh, me nervously, a high pitched, to-loud-to-be-realistic laugh. The neighbours barrack for the cats, so their laugh is pleasant and relaxed, with the hint of past premierships.

 Back to footy, and the Tigers, on cue, decide to play chasy. Collingwood reply by kicking eight in a row. Un-fun is the word. Cloke seems to have brought about 12 of his identical twins he didn’t tell anyone about, and they take about 20 marks each. He picks up 4 goals from the quarter, with his accomplice Sidebottom providing help with a couple.

The two boys that have fathers that played for both sides out there are at different ends of the ruler. Cloke and Steve Morris.

‘Nuff said.

Mum has gone to a neighbours house for sympathy. Dane Swan seems to be everywhere, and all the commentators say they see is a tattooed blur. Cotchin fights valiantly, but can’t do enough. Thomas’ swap, with Josh off for Daisy, Tucky swaps with Super sub Ellis. Tigers get a few goals to return a tiny bit of self respect, but the game is as good as over.

Chappy cops concussion along with a sore calf and dons the tracksuit jumper. Morris gets upset and gets himself reported, as the Pies romp away to a 34 point win. Cloke bags 7, Sidebottom 4. Cotch gets 27 disposals, but really, this game was more of a reality check than anything else.

The hype is still there, but the premiership dosen’t seem a possibility this year.

I’m still happy though.

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