Richmond emerge to survivor style “the tribe has spoken” drumming from a group of enthusiastic youthful Punt Road volunteers. The 12 o clock arm lift and skin hit technique as favoured by new Beatle Ringo Starr back in the Cavern in ’63, quickly morphs into the “Oh We’re from Tigerland” anthem further stretching the safari metaphor.
As most Tigers fans know the AFL is a jungle out there and it makes me wonder what it keeps em from goin’ under. The pre-game highlights of past glories end at the 1980 Grand Final and most of the rest is in black and white, from the early to mid seventies when Richmond was the powerhouse club of the AFL. The past 34 seasons are a horrific GroundHog Day style rerun of revolving door coaches, tin rattles to save their skins, board upheaval, paucity of finals appearance and under achievement. Once proud, now a laughing stock – even beaten last year by nemesis Carlton in the Tiger’s first final since Sir Joseph Banks pulled on the boots for the infamous Scientists V Shippers scratch match at Sydney Cove. Carlton! Who only made the finals because Essendon season was supplemented with an AFL penalty.
About the only thing that puts some sauce on the weekly MCG pie for these success disenfranchised Tiger lovers is the opportunity to belt out that YELLOW AND BLACK bit during the song before the game. After the match of course that potential a lot less assured. You feel like you’re being stalked by a bogeyman at a panto – “Where is He?”…..Booo!!!!…..”Oh God please reveal yourself….Boo!!!…then…..“YELLOW AND BLACK!!!!!” – oh yeah hey mate you’ve just spilt pie on your sash. Personally I’d be a lot more confident about the Tigers if it was BLACK AND YELLOW.
We’re a tad worried today about our Hawks, given the hold the Tigers have had over us in the past two outings where essentially we’ve been spanked by these later day basket cases.
Tiger legend Bryan Wood is interviewed in the goal square in front of the cheer squad about the glory days. He’s then invited to ceremonially – for the good old days – shoot for goal from a mere 10 metres out, with virtually no chance of missing. He playfully slips a mongrel off the boot about a wheelbarrow height off the ground spiraling in the fashion of a kick for goal from big Hamish McIntosh. This epitomises the current state of the Richmond Football Club – an easy quick one. Why not take Woody out to 30 metres from goal to give him a heart starting real test and to simmer the blood of the fans?
I’m also concerned about the half time entertainment during this Richmond home game. Cuddle Cam. That’s where a sweep of the camera through the stands stops upon cuddling couples for the enjoyment and mirth of fans. Before you reach for your travel sickness pills, its not the “get a room” free for all you’d expect. Most of the cams stop at blokes cuddling in Tiger jumpers providing ample evidence for the historical steady decline in Richmond membership uptakes.
The game itself sees the Hawks in control of the first quarter and despite shanking 7 points, take a 19 point lead. Tigers look shot until Dustin Martin wills himself into the game evading 3 tacklers to snap over his shoulder fully on the run. In the second, its an arm wrestle with the Hawks extending the lead by 7 points.
Its set up for a cracker in the the third quarter with Richmond sensing their defensive pressure can unhinge the Hawks precision game, their hold, run and carry. That solid thought melts into air as Cyril Rioli turns the game on his head with 4 sensational goals from strolls, dummy sells, snaps, and steals off the boot. The game is dusted there. While on Martin, today he plays a sweeper role across half back mostly to give some badly needed clearance outta there. He plays the game with a marked self assurance and without his presence the margin surely would have been north of the final 66 points.
Deep in the last quarter an invader joins the game nearly running through the play on the Tiger half back flank. He’s obvious been on the jungle juice and gets the jump on security guards caught off their game presumably due to a bit of Angry Bird action on their smart phones. Attired in a Tiger guernsey worn over the top of a green untucked t-shirt, he makes it about 15 metres out before he stops suddenly as though realising he’d got much further than he expected and is not in possession of a Plan B. He does an obligatory little sell the dummy with the first security guard on the scene more out of habit than strategy. He then puts his hands up to surrender and to manfully accept the consequential $6000 fine. He’s ready to leave for the cells, but the Security Guard decides to get physical trying the ol foot behind his foot push and trip method which thankfully fails given the likelihood of a damages case should bone crack and break. This is purely for the crowd and to regain some respect in the eyes of the crowd for sitting 15 metres on the back marker when the invader bolted on the starters gun. Now most security goods are trained for the venue situation, for example an entry queue, a door or a passage. Areas easy to control, monitor and corral and deal with those who want to act up, sneak in, are pissed, banned or for whom they simply don’t like their look. The big game invader compels us to confront the lack of fitness of many of these brethren publicly amplified on the big MCG stage. Post game there’s often a smaller ring of security guards close to the centre of the ground. These positions are usually reserved for the least fit of all as most invaders will be cleaned up by the outer drag net close to the fence.
I’d like to see the odd crowd invader paid by the AFL and or MCG to invade the ground at regular intervals to both build and test the fitness of the guards in a form of just in time professional development that is becoming trendy in corporate circles. I just hope that I’m not now fuelling the opportunity for the lads to set me up via a bogus SMS to the anti social hot line. Look for me on crowd sourcing sites should I decide to make a dash for it.
During this incident, Jack Riewoldt is mistakenly given a soft boot get stat for retrieving the invaders lost shoe which he also shanks over the boundary on the full.
He goes into the book.
There’s a bit of push and shove no where nearly as entertaining as ground invasion. Sammy Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne are chaired off in their 250 along with Tiger Daniel Jackson on his 150th.
Hawthorn 18 10 118 defeated Richmond 7 10 52