Round 12 – Richmond v Adelaide: The Return From The Wilderness

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and I am completely ready for the game. Relaxed, no, but ready nevertheless. My footy checklist is currently a row of ticks.

Blaring radio? Check. Stats website on the computer? Check. anti-depressant box in the cupboard just in case? Check.

Dad’s at work, Mum is on the couch, little brother is staring over my shoulder. I know the line-up, having sat on this chair, my finger repeatedly stabbing the refresh button on Thursday evening. My favourite player, Brandon Ellis is back from a twanged hammy, along with The Conc. I’ve read the hype-up articles, injury lists, tip sheets and checked the TV guide. I played tennis this morning, but the MCG was the point of my focus, probably why I lost my last match.

It’s on.

Astbury comes in for the Batchelor of Defense as the rain pours down and the game starts. The ball slides around like a cake of soap, bouncing pinball-like of players’ knees and ankles. Josh Jenkins’ slewed shot from 50 metres proves that the game will be a truly wet weather game. Footy is a winter sport (there ya go, Coodabeens).

A beautiful intercept and goal from Captain Cotch gets the motor running following dangerous handballs in defense by Adelaide, then Paddy Dangerfield turns ruckman, setting up small forward Ian Callinan for the Crows’ first at the Punt Rd end. He and the consistent Deledio lead all comers in the possession leaders. Dusty and milestone man Troy Chaplin also are busy in the first term. Jumping Jack seems rejuvenated as a selfless set-up forward, kicking two for the quarter, and setting a few as well. The Tiges look hot in the first term, leading by 19. Lids and Dangerfield have 11 and 12 disposals respectably. Jack and Dusty have two each.

In go the headphones as I go outside for a kick with brother. As I find out, it is very difficult listening to footy while playing footy, trying to talk with brother and keeping my MP3 in my pocket. Ellis kicks two while Dusty and Deledio are ruling the midfield, while Jack gets another, and still sets up Brandon for a goal. The Tigers seem composed and battle hardened, the Crows hasty and unskilled.

The Crows steady with three consecutive goals, but Newman 52 metre bomb wrests back the momentum. Ivvy isn’t having a great game, but no-one seems shocking today. We extend the lead to 27 points at the half as we return inside. Deledio, Martin and Riewoldt are playing well, the former playing his best game for the year so far.

Sanderson announces that his side will tag Deledio. About time, he’s already had it 17 times. Cotch’s inconsistent year continues, but the Captain is still playing well. Dangerfield and Thompson are the best so far for the Crows.

Into the third we go then, and the Crows control the play for the first ten minutes, until Shaun Grigg volleys one from 10 metres out, causing the 774 commentary box to explode into yells of GOALLLLLLL!!!!, soccer style. The goals are peppered, with Dusty’s third kicked from a great snap from the boundary. Astbury dons the red vest as the Crows blow chances repeatedly until Josh Jenkins slams the ball into the third tier from point blank range, a minute before the siren. Dustin, Deledio and Riewoldt have all played blinders

I’m not confident yet, but crazy happy dance mode isn’t far away from surfacing.

Of course, the mood takes a spiral back down when the Crows kick the first two of the last term, until Mullet-man grabs one out of the ruck, snaps…… goal! Kingy has been quiet, but chips in with a nice grab and he converts. The theory that the Tigers are exceptional at sharing around disposals is hardened as 8 players top twenty touches. A Shane Edwards soccer puts the game beyond doubt, followed by Grigg’s second and Martin’s fourth. We now lead by 50 as Dad gets home, grinning as he steps inside. The mood is jovial, as the happy dance makes a once rare appearance in the house.

But three compensation goals for the Crows save them from embarrassment, as Richmond skip away to a 38 point win, punting us into 6th position. The radio is turned up loud for the rendition of the song, which is sung with passion and pride. The joy of seeing us on the winners list is incomparable.

Go us.

RICHMOND    5.2    9.7   11.10    16.14    (110)
ADELAIDE      2.1   5.4     6.10     10.12    (72)      


Richmond: Martin 4, Riewoldt 3, Grigg 2, Ellis 2, Cotchin, Newman, Maric, King, Edwards
Adelaide: Dangerfield 2, Callinan, Jenkins, Lynch, Porplyzia, Jenkins, Thompson, van Berlo, Mackay


Richmond: Deledio, Martin, Riewoldt, Ellis, Grigg, Houli, Foley
Adelaide:  Dangerfield, Thompson, Sloane


Dangerfield 1, Martin 2, Deledio 3



About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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