Thursday, November 7, 2013

Movember 2013

Hi All,

That wonderful time of the year when Movember returns and peace is restored across the galaxy....

Due to popular demand I have decided to alter the Mo design slightly as we move towards gaining more sponsors, a few designs came into mind but two stood out for me.

The Mini Mo, this is where I will grow my normal over the lip but then have a smaller one etched in under my bottom lip without touching the other.

But the one which got the vote this year and makes me think of Star Wars all over is..... The Dual Mo. Every time I think of the name Dual Mo it makes me think of the epic Star Wars battle between Qui Gon, Obi Wan and Darth Maul. The soundtrack to this battle was named "Duel of the Fates".

The Dual Mo is just that, two mo's instead of one, here's an early photo. I've carved one in the normal spot and another underneath my bottom lip.

So far its been received with mix reactions, majority from my work are shocked but hey - I'm not doing this for approval, this is for charity!

This year I've started off a little slow as I was interstate for the first week until now, so all my normal emails pleading for donations went out rather late and subsequently my donations tally isn't looking healthy at the mo.

I'm confident though of it moving towards the $1k mark, I've been participating in Movember now for 8/9 years and in all that time I think I've missed raising $1k only once. So it makes me proud that I've been able to raise approx $7k to this fantastic charity, one which is growing in popularity at a rapid rate. When I first started Movember then was in its infant stages, not many knew of the charity - now its all over the media and expanding all over the world!

Looking on the website the Movember event started with as little as 30 people back in 2003 and has propelled into a massive 1.1 Million participants in 2012. Back then the idea was born but no real funds raised, in its first real fundraising year, 2004, Movember raised a total of $54,000... Compare this to a staggering $141.5 Million in 2012 and you have yourselves a massive event!

So, with those stats now comes my plea. As I mentioned I've raised approx $7k in the history of my Movember, This isn't enough and I aim to push towards $10k and beyond. I do this for the charity only, no personal gain - One month a year of having a Mo which most will laugh at is a small price to pay for this great event.

Please, hop online by clicking this link: This is the link to my Mo Space, please check out and donate anything you can - remember everything over $2 is tax deductible and greatly appreciated.



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Richmond Tigers 2013 Report Card

Well another season has been and gone, last year I completed my first ever review of the team and I'm back to complete another analysis...

Last year I received some good feedback but also hit a few raw nerves with some supporters as I criticised their favourite players.. I make no apologies as it is just my humble opinion - anyways heres my list and I hope you like it!

Richmonds season was surrounded by huge expectations, not only by the supporters and sponsors but the club itself viewed 2013 as the Tigers breakout year. Personally, and I'm sure my mate Rod via Twitter will support me - I viewed Round 1 as the whether we will make finals or not. Win we're in, Loss and it was a no from me.

In fine form we beat our across town rivals by the narrowest of margins, but, it was a huge win for the confidence of the players and the supporters.

Richmond would go on to win 15 games in 2013 and finish 5th on the ladder, we would play our first final in 12 years (you can read my take on the Elimination Final here: and our club secured the majority of our required players in pursuit of some welcome additions over the upcoming trade period.

To me the Richmond Football Club should be rewarded with a B+ for their fine year, alot may argue first finals in 12 years deserves an A atleast, to me, no. One more win would have seen us Top 4 and that elusive double chance, also the loss to Carlton twice within 4 weeks, including that fateful Elim Final I believe we haven't quite reached the A status yet.

In number order I'll go through each player, I think to be fair I won't give a score to the reserves players who didn't play this year:

Chris Newman (C+) The veteran favourite, Chris now holds the record for most games without ever playing finals. Had a quiet year again but still shows great class on the half back along side Bachar. Didn't have the impact he once had and I reckon he stays as a C+.

Dylan Grimes (B-) Last year he was plagued by injuries and unfortunately the same continued this year, was great early on but wasn't seen much and only played 9 games, sadly drops to C

Brett Deledio (A-) Averaged 23.8 disposals a game which was down from last year but was still very noticeable in some games this year, often tagged quite heavy but still manages to have an impact each game. I'm happy to keep Lids as an A- this year.

Dustin Martin (C+) Ah Dusty, Such raw talent and skill but can let his off field mentors confuse the kid on where he needs to thrive. Can turn a game on its head and dominate greatly with his don't argue trade mark defense and long long kick. He's improved greatly this year and finishing 2nd in the Best & Fairest shows that. Just very glad he decided to re-sign! Dusty shoots straight up to an A- this year, still has areas to improve on but next year will be a stellar year for him.

Brandon Ellis (A-) Wow what a season Brandon had, last year I gave him an A- which I think now was a bit high, I think he deserves an A- this year only due to injury, had he been fully fit would have moved up for sure - standout game was Round 8 when he massed 39 posessions against Demons.

Shaun Grigg (B) One of my favourites, love the Houli & Grigg inclusion a few years ago, always love a left footer! Was quieter this year, maybe due to clubs starting to realise his influence potential, one noticable feature was his massive jump in tackling, went from 44 in 2012 to 74 in 2013. Dimma's hard work on defense is paying off, sadly though I give Grigger a B- this year.

Matt Dea (C+) Last year he showed some promise and was harsh done by in a few games however he struggled again to make the seniors this year, personally I feel alot is down to pressure and his disposal. Injuries also hurt him a bit but in the end only played 3 games, this year is a D.

Jack Riewoldt (B-) Funny I rated the Coleman Medal Winner a B- last year... Jack just missed out on Coleman again this year and maybe that was due to his transformation into a big team player instead of focusing on individualism.. Jack should get big credit to him this year as it was really fun to watch him lift his eyes and find a better option rather than blaze away from the pocket with the small hope of it coming close. I really rate his season highly and think he is a class A- this year.

Trent Cotchin (A+) Trent must have known after near missing a Brownlow in 2012 this season would be much tougher, and it was, he was tagged quite heavily but shrugged them off in the first half and still managed to dominate. Was quieter in second half of season and was missing at times during the last 2 Carlton games. I still rate him very high at our club, no better choice for Captaincy in my opinion. A this year.

Shane Edwards (C-) Titch really showed his value this year although injuries did cost him a few games, his stand out for me was against Port @ AAMI Stadium, his first quarter clearances where outstanding, if only we could bottle it and get it 4 quarters, wow - he'd be a brownlow for sure, and his value would surpass Dustin Martin in my humble opinion... A- this year.

Jake Batchelor (C+) Poor Jake struggled into the senior team this year, feel for him as I do like his game but his work rate does struggle against the quicker forwards, at times disposal is poor which I touched on last year. Just re-signed and I still see alot of value in this young defender. C- this year.

David Astbury (D-) Another young defender but boy does this kid have alot of supporters frothing at the bit, they see alot of talent in this one and it showed late in the year when defending strong against the premiership Hawks! Still only played 5 games this year so I think a C- is fitting, but one of the youngsters to watch pushing for a spot in the senior 22.

Ricky Petterd (n/a) Secured from Melbourne in last years draft period, was a handy pickup with AFL experience to help our youngsters. Played 12 games and did show some promise early, missed middle half of season with an injury. Disposal has let him down this year but I still see value in this one, deserves another 2 seasons at the club to prove his value to the faithful, this year I rate him as a C+

Bachar Houli (B) Whats not to love about Bachar, silky left footer and streams off the Half Back to boost it into the midfield and forward line. Injury cost him a couple of key games and struggled when he wasn't playing. Is evident without Bach in our backline we do struggle with the rebound - I give Bach an A+ this year.

Chris Knights (n/a) Picked up in the 2012 Free Agency from the Crows, has a fantastic long left foot kick on him and very accurate, only played 5 games and had an outstanding game against Freo. Sadly on his way to booting a goal against Port his knee gave way and that was the end of the season for him. I'm going to give him a C for this year, didn't see a huge amount of him but what we did I'm pumped with!

Luke McGuane (C-) Luke looked to be a master move from Damien Hardwick when late in 2012 was added into the forward line, has a great overhead mark but sadly he has a true defenders kick.. Struggled to have same impact this year. Despite playing 12 games and kicking 20 goals we all expected far more from the forward. This year again I believe him to be a C-, looks likely to be in a Brisbane guernsey next year.

Alex Rance (A) Alex Alex Alex, what a gem of a season he had, shut down the best full forwards in the comp, notably keeping young gun Jeremy Cameron goalless late in the season. I've always rated Alex as the next big Full Back for this club, still only young but he's a gun. A+ from me this year!!

Ivan Maric (A+) The big mullet was hampered with the troubling groin this year, didn't have the same impact as 2012 but was still our main man! Huge highlight for me and most of the club was his huge goal late in the Elimination Final! This year I think I'll give the big man an A-

Shane Tuck (A) Oh Tucky why did you have to retire, could have had one more year... Tucky is one of my favs, hard at the ball and gives his all. Evident in game against Port where he injured his shoulder yet stayed on field to help the midfield rotations, would miss 9 games from that injury - shows alot of his love for the club! Check out my article on Tucky for more of my thoughts on him! I'm giving him an A this year, missed games but its the heart and strength he showed in the games he did play that meant the most.

Sam Lonergan (n/a) Taken in 2012 draft period and only played the one game against his old club Essendon, failed to have any impact on the team and sadly is a D- for me this year.

Daniel Jackson (C) Woah, what a turnaround! I was harsh on him last year, was very much an individualist and undisciplined. This year complete opposite, tagged the best out of the game and was truly a team player. Took out the Best & Fairest and thoroughlly deserved it, happy to eat my words from last year suggesting he be traded. A truly worthy A+ for this year.

Ben Griffiths (D) Sadly injuries to this big man and out of form meant he was out of favour for the senior list this year, only played 1 game this year. I still see huge things for him but needs to be this year - sadly if he doesn't crack into the team I fear he'll be somewhere else come 2015. Sadly is a D-.

Troy Chaplin (n/a) Signed as a Free Agent last year, wow what an impact he made. Was extremely handy down back with Rance, allowing Rancey more help and for him to dominate and double team where required. Port supporters joked about his delivery off the boot, I don't think I saw many - he is definately an A this year.

Robin Nahas (D) I quoted last year that he was lazy in the forward line and attitude stank. I won't apologise for that as I'm sad to say not much changed. Evident in one of the early games when Chaplin came off injured and maybe coming off, Nahas sat there head down not interested instead of getting up and showing he was keen. His forward pressure lacks a lot and he seems to never be in the right position anymore which is under the feet of the forwards for the spill. If he's not delisted or traded theres something wrong, F for me.

Aaron Edwards (n/a) Another pickup in the trade period last year, had an off field issue not long after being picked up but I really rate this boy, didn't get a chance early but from what I saw with his presence and forward pressure I thought he should be included in starting 22. His goal scoring late in the season was very impressive and showed what he is capable of. I give him a C for his first year.

Jake King (C+) Fan Favourite, the little Push Up King. Such a little menace and so hard at the ball, prepared to get his head ripped off and put his body on the line. Flew more under the radar this year but still lifted his stats across the board and is crucial to our forward line humming nicely! B+ this year.

Ty Vickery (D-) Ok, everyone knows I'm not a fan of Ty, personally I think he's overrated for the height in the draft order he was taken. Has shown some games that he has the potential for great things but for me often is out of position and doesn't take enough of the marks he should be taking... My memory still burns from the Elim Final, especially the last half so this year I'm giving him a C-.

Reece Conca (B-)  Wow Reecey Conca!!! Had a ripper of a year too and was instrumental with a core group of players that lifted the Tigers into the finals. Not much of him and relatively unnoticeable but gets the stats up and is crucial in our midfield rotations. A for me this year.

Nick Vlastuin (n/a) Taken in last years draft and had alot of supporters frothing early, has alot of talent and I liked him for rookie of the year but he fell short. Played some ripper games this year and I see him in our best 22 easily. Hits the tackles hard and applies good pressure - few more years under his belt and he'll be a true gun. This year B+.

Brad Helbig (D-) Another quiet season from Brad, played only the one game and didn't show much with his limited opportunity. Needs to break in next year or could be on the cusp of being traded or delisted. This year D-.

Liam McBean (n/a) Didn't play a game this year for the seniors but hearing big big things for this forward, huge unit he is and kicking some handy bags in the 2's.

Matt White (D+) Another one I eat my words on, last year he had alot of issues disposing of the ball, this year he was known as the substitute. His speed was brilliant coming in late in the games and he provided some real highlights when pushing forward. Sad to see he left for Port this year and will be missed but is getting a good deal and better opportunity with them so don't blame him. I rate him an B+ this year.

Matt McDonough (n/a) Played just the one game against Carlton late in the year and showed some goods, still just a young kid though with alot to learn - racked up 11 disposals but had some trouble with finding a target - but as I said still very young. I see a great future for Matt, just hope he doesn't get homesick and come back to the Crows or Port, I give him a C-

Orren Stephenson (n/a) Came over from Geelong during last years trade period, filled in for the big Maric whilst out injured, had a good debut for the Tigers but never really had the same impact around the ground, looks more like a tap ruck man. For me he's a C+.

Steven Morris (A) Steve was a revelation last year, burst onto the scene - shut down most he stood and stamped himself as one of our major defenders. This year he didn't quite have the impact he had last year and slowed a bit this year - however in saying that he had some outstanding games too including his pivitol role in shutting down Cyril Rioli. For me Stevie is still a required player and stays as an A.

Tom Derickx (F+) Played in NAB Cup however failed to get a nod in the regular season, spent most of season off with broken ankle but never really looked like getting a call up, content to keep him on F+.

Nathan Foley (C+) Poor Axle, plagued by injury most of his career, reminds me of the luck Mark Coghlan had... Worked hard to get into squad after so much time out and showed some of the old Axle however fell out of favour just before finals and sadly missed his finals chance. I still think he has alot to offer but with so much talented youngsters it looks like a tough road ahead of him. For me he gets a C+.

Todd Elton (F) Same as last year, failed to gain a call up prob needs another year or so - but is running out of time... F again.

Matthew Arnot (n/a) Taken in the 2012 draft, made his debut against St Kilda in Round 14, another youngster with high potential - struggled a bit to get into the games and just needs a bit more time. Like McDonough I think they'll both be tapping on the door next year and more gametime will go a long way! C- this year.

Richmond Football Club (C+) Last year was poor and everyone knew change was coming, the hard work by Benny Gale and Dimma and everyone else involved - all the signs pointed to success. Must admit, being a long suffering fan I'll admit I had alot of moments during the year that I fell back in the cloud of worry but hindsight, there was nothing to worry about! The Tigers broke their finals drought of 12 years and soared into an Elimination Final.

Pleasing thing this year was the transformation of the entire side, all lifted across the board and we had standouts which were tough not to make the All Australian Squad. The signing of all required players is an indication of who wants tot wear the guernsey and push further in the finals.

Dissapointing for me was losses which shouldn't have happened, loss to Freo in Perth and belting by Kangaroos - just one more win would have seen Richmond with a Top 4 spot and double chance. Still 15 wins is an awesome result. Sadly we didn't perform against Carlton when it mattered and fell out of finals quickly.

For me I think the Richmond Football Club's Season for 2013 deserves an A. It delivered its fans the long awaited finals berth, ok it fell out early - but its an important taste of things to come, not just for the fans but the players too. Now they know what it tastes like and will be hungrier than ever.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Elimination Final - Richmond v Carlton - A Father & Son Journey

Finally, after 12 suffering years our beloved Richmond Football Club has made finals.

15 glorious wins and we finished 5th on the ladder, for me finishing 5th exceeded my expectations or this year - I had thought they would finish 7th or 8th. 5th meant we finished higher than Collingwood, Carlton and Port which was an awesome feeling.

Fans Leaving Messages for the players prior to game

The Elimination final for me meant far more than it did for most, for me it was my first ever live final - of course I watched their finals in 2001 & 1995 however it was the first time I had gone and watched them play it. Being in Adelaide its far harder for me to get to the games like a local melbourne sider would but I was determined this time, as soon as I knew they were in and what day they were playing - I would be there!

This in itself was huge but the proudest part of it all for me was sharing this first final experience with my son, Noah, who would also see his first ever final.

Monday morning came like a bang, the anxiety was huge and my stress levels were peaking! I had a heap of tasks to get done, firstly, book annual leave - whilst looking at flights Sunday night I realised getting there wouldn't be the problem, it was flying home the same night that would be. Not only was it very close to the end of the game (within 2 hours) but it was also going to cost over $350 each to fly home... I think not!

Second was getting the tickets, my son was previously a Cotchy Club member and not eligible for tickets, the team in the membership department suggested I sign him up for the $1 special that was happening - this way he could get tickets. Only problem, his sale went on @ 11am... I was stressing I wouldn't get any by then and they'd be all sold out!

Third on the list was flights, I knew I could fly in nicely with Jetstar for approx $100 each, the stress would be how to get home, we managed to score seats on Virgin the day after for $150 which was good.

Fourth and final was accommodation, I remember back 12 odd years ago I flew my wife and I over to Melbourne to not only watch a game but also take her out for dinner. Being I spent most of our cash on horse drawn carriages and dinner at the Windsor.. I spent less on accommodation.. we stumbled upon a place called the George Powlett, astonishingly it was 2 minutes walking distance from the MCG. I immediately looked it up for this trip, as really, all Noah and I need is a roof, 2 beds and thats bout it. Booked!
I broke the news to Noah later that night, we were all booked, he and I would fly out first thing Sunday Morning and would be on our way to the glorious home of football. His face was priceless, he loves his Melbourne Trips.

Crossing the bridge to Adelaide Airport

Speaking with alot of people via twitter one thing was common, the week was going just too damn slow!

Finally, Saturday night approached, we had our backpacks filled and our Richmond Flags ready to go. Before I knew it the alarm was going off and I snuck in and woke Noah up - 5 minutes to get ready and head straight for the airport.

The plane departed Adelaide nicely and it was clear skies toward Melbourne! Noah and I love flying and pretty much our favourite destination is Melbourne to watch our beloved Tigers, but this trip just meant so much more. I could sense Noah was extremely edgy about the game, 10 minutes in he announced there were no games to play on his DS... I said whats wrong with the 30 you have.. they're all boring...

Just like that we touched down in Melbourne, colder than normal but god it felt good to be back!

We arrived at our hotel, the George Powlett, which is a 2 minute walk to the MCG and about 5 mins to Bridge Road - awesome, the plan was to get our Guernseys on and have everything we were going to take to the game and go for a wander down Bridge Road to see what the shops had to offer..

That plan was quickly shelved as we stared out the window and saw one of the great Light Towers, we quickly got dressed, grabbed our flags and departed for the MCG. As we crossed the road we approached a bridge and noticed the train line in the picture opposite, I'm jealous of the public transport in Melbourne, it all makes sense and is so widely used - Adelaide we have a failing bus and train system and one Tram...

We made a quick detour as we noticed the gates weren't yet open, 3pm game and we were there @ 12.. is that too much to ask haha. The detour landed us at Punt Road Oval, more importantly, amongst the masses, we moved into the Tiger Den to see if any specials were available. Being we spent so much travelling to and from Melbourne we decided to not spend much on merchandise.. In the end I bought Noah a Dustin Martin hat which was on sale (Now I know why!!) and a player badge.

Before we knew it we were sitting at the G eating one of the most expensive souvlakis and hot dogs available, as we approached our seats (affectionately adorned as the "Nose Bleed" section), we sat down knowing 2 and a half hours to go..

Thankfully the MCG was playing the replay of the last time Richmond and Carlton played each other in a final, it was 2001 and what a glorious win and year we had!
We watched as the crowd slowly poured into the ground, the sea of Yellow & Black was starting to take shape. 

Suddenly - just like a switch had been flicked, the ground was full and Carlton was running onto the ground - the stadium filled with jeers and boo's as they crashed through their banner!

Like a flash of lightning the crowd lifted and watched as Richmond entered the stadium, the roar of the crowd was deafening as we all sang the song whilst clapping them. I took a moment and looked over at Noah, his face and jubilation was everything I wanted to see - there were nerves, just like me, but I wanted everything for him to see and witness what it would be like to sit and cheer along with 94,000 others. I must admit some happy tears started to form.

The siren sounded and like the whole world flashed before our eyes the game began.

Carlton made the first dent on the scoreboard but failed to execute early chances and our Tigers gained their feet and started to maintain the midfield well, Ivan Maric was dominating the taps early and you could see Martin, Cotch, Ellis, Jackson and Deledio all full of run and gaining good possessions.

The loss of Conca was mixed emotions, we just lost one of our key rotating midfielders but we saw early the addition of Shane Tuck who was earlier was listed as the sub.

At quarter time we held on to a minor lead of just 8 points.

Carlton again kicked an early goal in the 2nd quarter but after that it was all Richmond, the midfield completely dominated the 2nd quarter helping us pile on 7 goals to 4 and holding on to a handy 26 point lead at half time.

At this point Carlton looked a different team, body language was down and the Tigers and their supporters were full of roar!

Sitting there at half time though a sudden rush of nerve began to grow, we've been in this position before against Carlton, had awesome quarters then fallen asleep - god not today!

Just like that the switch had again been flicked, Carlton bounced into action. They applied massive pressure and hit the midfield running led by their former Captain Chris Judd, they dominated the 3rd quarter and all our players could do was scratch their heads and attempt to stem the bleeding...

By the 4th quarter the signs were there, Carlton had clawed their way back and not long into the final term had finally hit the lead. 50,000+ Tiger supporters all sat quietly in their seats as the unthinkable was starting to unfold, Carlton, boised by a huge running effort hit the lead and never looked back.

Sitting 3 goals down I think we were some absolute Maric brilliance brought one of the goals of the game, the roar from the crowd was second to none, we all stood screaming for joy as he too sprinted back to the middle trying to lift his team. But it wasn't to be as the next chance on goal went as one of our guns tripped over on the half forward and the ball spilled Carltons way as did the rest of the game.

Watching the time click over it was beginning to hit home, with a minute to go I sat in my chair, staring blankly at the ground - how and why the hell did this happen... The supporters were already on the march out of the ground, the Carlton crowd - along with some over the top drunk Tiger Supporters yelled abuse as they left early. 

The siren sounded and that was it, the Carlton crowd lept off their chairs and the sound was deafening, I looked to Noah who had tears flowing from his eyes - the look of a defeated 9 year old, the sadness and anger in his eyes were just too sad for me, I too had tears in my eyes (I'm starting to tear up again whilst writing this some 2 weeks after the fact...), I wrapped my arms around him and consoled him as best I could. The poor bugger!

Noah asked if we could leave and I suggested we stay to allow the crowd to die down a bit so easier to walk out. We both sat in our chairs staring blankly at the ground as the Tigers left for the changerooms but more importantly Shane Tuck received his final farewell, we stood and cheered him off then again sat quietly. Time seemed to pass slowly but before we knew it a considerable time had passed.. I gathered Noah up and said lets head back to the hotel, as we approached the stairs a sea of supporters were already waiting trying to leave also.

All I remember is just saying to Noah, 1) stay absolutely with me, 2) don't react to anything anyone says to you, 3) never leave my side.

An ocean of supporters both Richmond and Carlton ascended outside the MCG, some drunk and some abusive. We made our way peacefully and unscathed through the crowd and made it to the bridge we earlier crossed, we watched in shock as the train station which before was empty, was flooded with people all wanting to get the first train. It was madness and I was really worried someone could be hurt or killed.

We hit the hotel and sat on our beds still in shock. Later we peeled ourselves from the hotel room and made our way down Bridge Road to try and find something kid friendly for Noah and I to have some dinner. We stumbled a fair way down and came across a BBQ place with burgers and souvlaki - awesome, souvlaki is one of the best pick me up foods available! Noah and I sat, silently, as we waited for our food. Just after it arrived a shriek of horror came from Noah - a Carlton poster was on the wall... god dammit. I said its ok cos theres Richmond ones too as I pointed to the other side of the room.. Poor Noah, he was just so shattered.

After that we headed off in pursuit of dessert! On our quest we found the golden arches of Maccas - awesome - McFlurries all round!

Well this was our take on the Tigers finals push, I wanted to word this more so on the positives rather than the negatives, to do so would push me back into the stage of Anger I held onto tightly for many days. We returned back to Adelaide beaten, still angry but loved the experience. 

Ok the Tigers lost, but to me this game represented far more than just a final. To me, this was one of the moments in time I shared with my son which I will treasure for the rest of my life, this final was the first live final both he and I had ever been too. To share that moment with him, along with 94,000 others was electrifying. The sound, the atmosphere, the jubilation, the nerves, the gasping and finally the sadness and anger - it all created the trip of a lifetime for us despite the result.

I do hope this isn't the only time we'll be able to do this but for me this trip meant everything and meant much more than Richmond winning. 

Well I hope you liked our take on the Tigers Elimination Final, its hard I know but drawing your own positives from this extremely bad result has helped ease the pain in some way - but, the focus for us was always the experience and nothing more.