Round 7 – Richmond v Melbourne: Apollo Bay, Meat Pies and Brandon Ellis

When Brandon Ellis was drafted in late 2011, I thought “Lets hope this guy gets a few games”. He was one among a large group of 18 year-old kids who all looked equally delighted to be drafted, the same goofy smile on our small computer screen displayed on each players’ personal profile. He played good games throughout the 2012 season, which got him a nice new number in 2013. Then, in round eight of the year 2013, Brandon Ellis played his breakout game.

On this particular weekend of footy, Mum, some of her friends and I were in Skenes Creek, just on the outskirts of Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road. This particular weekend hosted The Great Ocean Road Marathon, but we seemed to have seen most of it, after a 3 and a half hour drive from central Victoria (which included much green faces and sneaky hand movements to the chip bag). The trip was so long that I actually started to stop making awe-inspired and amazed looks at the beautiful landscape. On the Saturday morning, Mum and I ran the 6 km race, from Apollo Bay to Marengo and back. I managed a 24:58 time, second in my U14 category, as I’m twelve. Mum managed to come first in the 40-44 category, she likes being 40 now.

Dad sometimes looks at my race times and says “He doesn’t get this from me”.

A few of Mums’ mates were doing the half marathon the following day, so there wasn’t much footy watched on Saturday night, which was OK since Collingwood was playing. The only way I knew the Richmond team list was a phone call from Dad back home.  Now my mind was firmly focused on the MCG, Trent Cotchin’s slightly bad knee and the win-deprived Melbourne Football Club.
Nah, Melbourne aren’t good enough-JINX!!!!!!

So after a frenzied bout of clapping to welcome Mum’s mates across the finishing line, a ridiculously long wait for the police to escort us back to Skenes Creek and a chocolate/tic-tac fueled pack up of our holiday house, Mum and I left Apollo Bay (inland) and the footy is on 774.

“Nah, Garlett hasn’t started well at all, boys-”


“Carlton are playing a bit of a scrappy game here-”


So the radio dial makes the very unexpected move to 3AW, and there is Richo and Brian Taylor on the radio. Talking to Jono Brown about the sodium in mini meat pies that are served. I actually nearly turned the radio off, until I recognized Richo’s voice.

At one point the game started, but dear BT was too busy talking to Doc Peter Larkins about how good meat pies are for footballers. The only thing that awoke me from rolling-eyes-and-loud-breathing mode was this:  “Geeeeee boys, Ellis has already got 16 touches, but Melbourne lead by two toward the end of the first term”.

Aaaaand there it goes! Both Mum and I snap up and make desperate grabs for the volume dial.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “There’s the siren, Melbourne by two…”Mum looks at me quizzically, and asks: “Aren’t Melbourne one of the bad teams?”
I nod, feeling sick.

The game continues in a goal-for-goal type game, with Nick ‘Tigger’ Vlastuin and Brandon Ellis the two best players. I mentally place a bet on when the remark, ‘leather poisoning’, makes it’s much anticipated adventure across the airwaves. Davey is good for the Dees (finally), and the Demons aren’t lying down like they’re supposed to.Then arises the opportunity. Melbourne turn it over in their forward half, the tigers clear the ball toward the wing, where Tigger Vlastuin marks. He receives a late shove, 50 metres and an opportunity for his second goal for the AFL. He converts.

Ty sprays one late, but the tigers lead by 7 at the half and have the momentum. The Dees try to wrestle it back by… doing exactly that, as a massive punch on takes place near the interchange gates. It now seems needless to say who was in the middle.

For the Tigers disposal leaders, Ellis has 21 touches, Tigger 13, Cotch 14.

In the rooms, Dimma promptly stuffs a rocket down each Richmond players pants, and they come out in the third slightly sheepish and doggedly determined. It shows as the Tigers spray 5 shots at goal in less minutes. Eesh!Luckily, Dusty goals before anyone else decides to join in, and now the Tigers step it up a gear. We drive into the Ranges as the Tigers drive over the top of the Demons. They still put up a fight, but they are being overrun as Marto, Morris and Push-up goal, plus a late (late) goal from Jumping Jack has the Tigers on top. I jump out of our car and run inside.

Sit. Click.

Now the Tigers relax, but still take the game away from Melbourne. Ellis is up to 34. 34! Martin is having a great second half, and Cotchy has come out of his early season slumber to promptly explode with skill. Troy Chaplain kicks his first as aTiger, and duly celebrates. The Human Highlight Reel takes his weekly speccy, and Jack misses after the siren, but the Tigers have won and are back in the eight. I relax and make a cuppa for Mum and I.

Oh, by the way, Brandon Ellis got 39! I know what number I’m putting on my jumper now.

Right, where are the meat pies…

RICHMOND:15.16 (106)
MELBOURNE:11.6 (72)

BEST                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     RICHMOND: Ellis, Vlastuin, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Houli, Jackson, Edwards                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MELBOURNE: Davey, M.Jones, N.Jones, Terlich, Frawley

GOALS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               RICHMOND: Riewoldt, Martin3, King 2, Vlastuin, Ellis, Morris, Nahas, Chaplain, Deledio, White                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MELBOURNE: Davey 3, Dunn, Dawes 2, Howe, Evans, Bail, Nicholson

MY VOTES: Cotchin 1, Vlastuin 2, Ellis 3.

About John Harms

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

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