Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Round 4 - Richmond v Collingwood (AFL)

Ok I've held off for as long as I could, was very tempted to write this last weekend straight after the game but that would have been full of negative thoughts and no constructive criticism..

By now your reading this knowing the result wasn't what I had expected or hoped, yes my boys lost.

The wound goes deeper than just the loss, earlier in the day I made my long awaited come back to football, I last pulled on the boots some 12 years ago, back then I played my last season with the Vikings and kicked a nice 50 odd goals in only 10 games, including my never to be forgotten 10 goal haul against Christies Beach (in just 3 quarters of football...).

Knee injury was the reason I stopped playing and also I met my wife to be and moved 20km's away from the footy club, I was spending more time doing other things and sadly football lost. My knee wasn't right though, I spent my last season of football at Happy Valley with a massive knee brace which was awkward to move in and took about 10m off my old 60m kick...

Since then i've moved to a local club, Broadview Football Club (Tigers!!), my son has been playing junior football there for the last 5 years. Talking to one of the members he mentioned their D grade were short of players so I had a few days to think - yep lets do it..

Now, I'm atleast 20kg's heavier than last time I played, no where near as fit and 12 years older... My first training session everything was great, the next few days though - pain, just pain - body wasn't ready for such a training session hahaha. Over the course of the week I then had niggling issues, first the hamstring, then my driver but was still confident of overcoming these and lining up for the Tigers.

That I did, I got my chance to hit the ground midway through the 1st quarter and slotted into the forward pocket - very unfamiliar ground, most of my footy at HV was at Full Forward.. From the time I jumped on though I had nothing but hesitation in my mind, new club, new players, hadn't played for years... I just didn't know my place and what I should do - sadly two leads in the groin went... I hobbled to the bench at quarter time and rested it up. I guess to my credit (and a stern pep talk from my wife) I got back out there midway into 3rd Quarter and it was then I had my first shot on goal as a Broadview Tiger.

Sadly it just went shy of the left post and a point awarded, I finished out the rest of the game getting my hands on the ball a few times but in the end it didn't come down that much as we were soundly beaten by 18 goals... infact, that goal I missed, would have been our first and only goal for the game...

So - missing the 1st half of the Richmond game I sped home, sore and a gutted feeling...

Listening on the way home I heard the Tigers had a great first half matching Collingwood and allowing our midfield to dominate again - sadly the same issues from previous weeks reared their heads again... Missed Scoring Opportunities.

I hope this is a sticking point for Dimma at training and something he is focussing on as at this level the amound of easy shots on goal the Tigers have missed this year is disgusting. Tigers at the moment are content on just doing enough to maintain a lead rather than going for the kill and murdering the hopes and moral of the opposition.

Unfortunately what I saw when I got home and sat and watched the last half was nothing short of poor, this is harsh but I think the 3rd quarter we saw last weekend was by far the worst we've played all year.

Collingwood hit Richmond hard, their midfield dominated the centre and flooded it into their forward line where their million dollar focal point was winning a tough battle in the air against Alex Rance. To Rance's credit he fought hard, unfortunately the arm reach of Travis Cloke is a tough one to defend against, he has great hands, sadly I wish he came across during last trade period!

Rancey was given a spell and Chappy took over the duties on Cloke, sadly by that time the damage had been done, Collingwood piled on the goals and took a 4 goal lead, but by that stage our heads were already down. Chappy was the next casualty of the onslaught taking on some friendly fire to the head in a clash with newby Chris Knights.

Collingwood piled on 8 unanswered goals during that quarter and I watched in amazement as one of our best midfielders, Dustin Martin fell into his 3rd quarter curse and began increasingly quiet as his player Harry O'Brien ran freely and aided Collingwoods demolition.

To the Tigers credit they managed to add 2 goals late in the 3rd quarter to somehow still be a chance.

Even though the quarter was done and dusted, heads in the sand, there was still a feeling we weren't done and early goals would worry Collingwood...

Tigers started fresh and pushed the ball constantly into our forward line but 4... i repeat 4 early chances, some easy shots, were missed. We finally added a few through the two big sticks and crept to within 3 goals but by then the damage had been done, the early misses cost us again as Collingwood regrouped and surged again adding a few and then doing enough to keep Richmond off and securing the 34 point win.

34 Points doesn't really give Collingwood the notion of how dominant they were in the last half, 11 goals to 5 doesn't depict the 3rd quarter fright they gave the rest of the competition after they had 8 unanswered goals and looked unstoppable.

Highlights for me in terms of best players, the ever reliable Cotchin, Lid's tried hard, Grimes and Petterd. Ricky Petterd isn't featuring in the Tigers so called Best players which is a shame, his addition to the team this year has been nothing but positive, he's been getting his hands alot of the sherrin and his disposal has been quite good.

Looking at the Best players below i'm shocked to see Bachar Houli in there, his last half disposal was terrible which is a big shock considering I believe him to be one of the best out there. His first half must have lifted him up there cos sadly my Bachar didn't impress me...

How do we beat Collingwood next time, or even look ahead to Freo, Geelong and Port?

The answer is simple, our shots on goal. 11.13 is a terrible result, I saw 4 points that should have been goals atleast but thats not the only example, look back to the Carlton and St Kilda games... Early in first half we had them both dead and beaten - shocking misses though didn't bury them and kept them within striking distance. Yes the result was we won, but we didn't win convincingly like a Top 4 team like Collingwood, Sydney, Geelong or Hawthorn would do.

If we are to be one of the teams others fear, we urgently need to rectify issues like this, we can't in this our season of change, allow us to have so many close games when really we could have thrashed them.

Well, this week we're out at Freo on Friday night, should be a cracker of a game, I actually think we can win this providing our midfielders maintain for four quarters and we start hitting easy shots and get the goals up!

Players best be on their A game, we have the likes of Aaron Edwards booting 7 in the reserves and we're also expecting the debut of Nick Vlastuin this week... Nathan Foley also had a good hit out, expect him to return in a month's time if all goes well...

 Final Scores:

RICHMOND                    3.3   6.5   8.6  11.13  (79)       
COLLINGWOOD           1.4   5.8   13.12  16.17 (113)

Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Vickery 2, McGuane 2, King, Edwards, Houli , Maric
Collingwood: Cloke 7, Sidebottom 4, Clarke, O'Brien, Elliott, Swan, Dwyer

Richmond: Cotchin, Deledio, Grimes, Houli
Collingwood: Cloke, Shaw, Fasolo, O'Brien, Reid, Sidebottom, Swan

Richmond: King (hamstring), Chaplin (head)
Collingwood: Brown (groin)

Richmond: Shane Tuck replaced by Brandon Ellis in the third quarter
Collingwood: Josh Thomas replaced by Dale Thomas in the third quarter

Collingwood: Goldsack replaced in selected side by Macaffer

Reports: Nil
Umpires: Rosebury, Meredith, Mollison
Official crowd
: 81,950 at the MCG

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Round 3 - Richmond v Western Bulldogs (AFL)

Tigerland is a buzz at the moment with supporters and the media going nuts over the boys sitting 2 wins and no losses at the start of the season...

One hoodoo down our Tiger boys set firm target on the lowly Bulldogs, we haven't won our first 3 straight games since our dominant year of 1995, the year we almost made the Grand Final...

Cotchy headed to the centre of the ground for the coin toss, just as one of our lasses botched the initial toss... finally the toss had been corrected and we got the result we wanted.

Much anticipation surrounded the first quarter, the third is usually the one to nail the game but it was super important for the Tigers to stamp their dominance early...

And that it did, the ball fell into the hands of Brett Deledio and he sprinted towards striking distance and launched a ball some 60+ metres and it went through one bounce for a goal.

Experts are stating that was the quickest goal in AFL history, TV commentators are saying 14 seconds, when I was watching the clock on the TV it looked more like 10 seconds!!

Absolutely one of the best goals i've seen, nothing better than watching a midfielder with a huge burst of pace, bounce the ball all the way through and nail the goal.

The Tiger army was certainly in full voice, but sadly we failed to capitalise on our opportunities. Again, as we did against Carlton & St Kilda - we were extremely inaccurate infront of goal, missing some very easy chances. Dimma roared into the group ruing the missed chances...

At the end of the first quarter we finished with 9 points and only 4 goals to show for ourselves. Extremely disappointing given the early dominance of Deledio, Martin, Cotchin, Houli, Grigg etc... just to name a few...

Second quarter started and the Tigers were threatening to move, but just couldn't shake the Bulldogs as we only scored 3.2 for the quarter, again missing some easy shots but also a bit sloppy and turning the ball over.

Third quarter came and so did some relatives.. haha, I sadly missed a fair bit of the third quarter but thanks largely to the AFL app for the iphone, I managed to keep abreast of the score and could see we piled on the goals to extend the lead further by another three at three quarter time.

From all reports, the main group I mentioned before lead by Cotchin, Deledio and Martin were having a field day, the new comers Chaplin, Petterd and Knights also were having an impact across the ground.

Fourth quarter started and it was time to get rid of the Dogs although they managed to put the first two majors on the board. From then though it was all Richmond, piling on 7 out of the next 9 goals to run out victors by 67 points.

67 is closer than I expected, I really thought we again missed crucial chances to put them away early. Like all other games these early misses can dent the game but our midfielders were completely dominant this round and the Bulldogs had nothing to show for it.

Deledio, Martin and Cotchin were outstanding, Grigg & Houli threatened an entrance in the top 3 players but was hard with the efforts of the first three.. I found it really hard to find players that didn't perform on the day, it truly was a team effort.

Jumping Jack showed some great aerobatics pulling down a couple of great pack marks, Luke McGuane again was a key forward threat and Ty Vickory made his presence felt. Little Shane Edwards booted 2 and was a little livewire along with Jake the Push Up King!

Standout for me though was Deledio, he was just a joy to watch as he sped through the middle of the ground on numerous occasion's, acting as a conduit between the backline and the forwards. He has sat behind the likes of Cotchy the last few games but I reckon he pushed ahead this game..

You know,  its a damn exciting time to be a Richmond supporter when you look at your midfield led by Captain Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Dustin Martin, Shane Tuck etc. The amount of talent each one has is unbelievable. Each has the ability to change a game completely and when all are firing it is simply a lovely game to watch.

Well we know shift focus to Round 4, a massive massive clash against Collingwood. I've said this alot this year especially against Carlton & St Kilda, if we are to be Collingwood, this is the year to do it.

Some very interesting match ups will be made, I'm hoping the boys can stick closely with Collingwood until half time, keep the pace and energy in reserve and then nail them hard in the 3rd quarter. My prediction, Tigers by 18 points.

So Final scores for Round 3:

Richmond - 20.15 (135)
Bulldogs - 10.8 (68)

From this week onwards I'll start adding extra stats to each Round:

Riewoldt 5, Deledio 3, McGuane 3, S. Edwards 2, Martin 2, Knights, Houli, Jackson, Tuck, Maric
Western Bulldogs: Jones 4, Cooney 2, Stevens, Griffen, Giansiracusa, Dahlhaus

Martin, Deledio, Cotchin, Houli, Maric, Morris, McGuane
Western Bulldogs: Cooney, Griffen, Jones, Morris, Wallis

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Footy Flashbacks - Richmond v Adelaide - Round 8 (1998)

 Whilst we anxiously wait for Round 3's Tigers clash against the Bulldogs I want to share with you some of my favourite footy flashbacks.

Growing up in Adelaide I never had the opportunity to build flashbacks of finals, grand finals or the 1st game of young guns whilst sitting at the MCG cheering on, instead I grew up coming from an SANFL background.

Misguided in my youth I started following the Crows in their first 2 years joining the AFL, yet I never had a favourite player and didn't get a chance to go to many games.

Towards the start of 1992 I started to follow Richmond closely, still not a full fan but had this feeling of really liking this team. A friend from school was a huge Tiger, he grew up in Melbourne and moved to Adelaide before he got to high school. We became good mates when he moved to my school and I found his passion for the Tigers was growing madly within me.

By the end of 92 I was ready, Begun my move to Tigerland has. (sorry tried to sound like Yoda from Star Wars..)

Anyhow 93 I witnessed the first game of probably the best player I've seen, Matthew Richardson. Enter my full passion, now I was following Richmond but more importantly a player which i'd drop everything to go and watch.

From that point on there was no going back... what had I got myself into... I later learned the history of the club and its depression since 82, sitting here now i've seen my team reach the finals only twice, poor Richo has retired but we are on the verge of our first finals campaign since 2001. Good times ahead.

The path of being a Tiger has never been easy, I witnessed some shockers with us losing by 15+ goals, one here in Adelaide where Modra kicked 10+...

But I've witnessed some real spectacular wins also and close games, the game I'd like to share is one of my favourite games i've ever been too.

Back in 1998 I started working for the SA Law Society, back then I was a fresh 19 year old still looking for work but never went onto Uni like most did. I found it tough as I had no experience, great with computers but noone would hire me as "sorry you don't have experience"... towards the tail end of my applications my response was, yes, until someone gives me a chance how do I get experience!

It was pure luck I found myself at the Law Society as part of an opportunity that came up through Work for the Dole. Somehow they found a small role there for me to start off with which then turned into receiving a contract for my first full time role. A few months into the position I made alot of friends and copped alot of grief from them being a Tiger, proudly displaying my Richmond desk flag for all to see.

May was approaching and I was really keen to go to the Adelaide v Richmond game but as Adelaide was realing in Crows Mania majority of the games were becoming sell outs so near impossible to get there.

By chance someone I worked with (who I still didn't really know) had a friend who was a season ticket holder and yes.... had a spare ticket. I jumped at the chance as I all I wanted to do was watch the Tigers, I had a inkling we would win but not 100% sure...

I met up with the unknown Crows Supporter outside the North Western side of the ground, nice lady she was in her late 30's early 40's and she took me to my seat, western side just off the middle of the centre.

Right from the get go it was a close game but the Crows managed to pull away from us in 3rd quarter, by that stage though the heavens decided to open up on us.

Thousands of Crows supporters, except for those diehard supporters, headed for cover to retreat from the rain. I myself, was going.... nowhere.

All throughout the game the nice lady, whose name I can't recall.. was really cheering for the Crows, each time they would get near there goals she would be nudging me and then a big nudge if they kicked a goal...

By the last quarter the rain was alot harder, this is a moment I'll never ever forget. The rain was the type of downpour only described as really big drops, heavy and straight. The rain fell so vertically we were drenched within seconds.

I looked back at all the supporters, they were cuddled up in their warm rugs and out of the rain sipping on warm drinks....

Momentum shifted, the dominance of the Crows in the 3rd started to shift to the Tigers coming back. I remember our boys handling the ball like it was dry weather, they silkily moved the ball into the forward line and kept pressing until the goal was scored.

We moved to within 2 goals, you could hear the cheer of the Tiger faithful who were still out in the rain, other than that you couldn't hear any Crows supporters. A roar in the background surrounded us as the rain got heavier, the rain hitting the roof was extremely loud.

Suddenly lightning begun to crash close by, big claps of thunder started filling mother natures symphony.

I remember one massive bolt flashing out of the sky and just like that the lights went out. Noone knew what to do and sat frozen in their chairs, I can't remember for sure but I think it was a few minutes before the lights came back on.

All the supporters undercover were shouting for the game to be called off, they were sure they had won.

Umpire blew the whistle and the game recommenced with only minutes to go.

The Tigers pushed, scored two more and we took the lead again in the dying minutes of the game, the look on all the Crows supporters was one to remember, for the Tigers supporters we were shocked, pure shock at the comeback.

With less than a minute to go we slammed on one more goal, surely that was it......

Siren went and the cheer from a thousand sounded more like 10,000!

All I remember from the siren was standing up, both fists held high and turning to the lady who was nudging me every Crows possession and screaming "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"!!

Not being aggressive or anything like that, it was a mutual supporter moment that she knew was all ok.. She grinned and nodded her head - well done she said.

The song came on and I launched onto my cold metal seat, turned around to all of those under cover and proceeded to sing the song the loudest I had ever before. With my right hand I began to point at all of those under cover and gave them the best damn rendition of We're From Tigerland I'd ever performed.

I think had those supporters not all scramble for cover and brave the weather like the rest of us I wouldn't have cared. But they made me angry that night, all ran for cover, just like their team did. So I let them know, I wasn't looking for a fight or anything untoward, I just wanted to let them know they needed to stay in their seats and support their team to the end, rain, hail or shine.

The Tigers stayed on the ground and sang the loudest rendition of our song heard interstate and with bucketing rain. The picture above shows it all, the torrential downpour, the elation and passion of the team as they fought one of their best battles.

I think for me this is one of the best I've ever seen, we didn't make the finals that year, but we did beat the Premiers at their home ground and never weakened until the final siren sounded.

It was a game that helped shape my love for Richmond, a game that sticks in your mind and you share with people and younger generations. It helped build hope that this club can be a great winning club, they just need the confidence to know they can.

Final Scores:

Richmond 14.8 (92)
Adelaide 11.13 (79)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Round 2 - Richmond v St Kilda (AFL)

Well Round 2 there was increased hype surrounding the Tigers, they finally ended their hoodoo with Round 1 defeats at the hand of Carlton and their cubs showed why they have the most formidable midfield in the competition.

I overheard someone saying Richmond were again staring down the barrel of another record they need to overcome, They hadn't won their first 2 games to start the season in 16 years.

That's a massive amount of time to chalk up 2 wins from 2 games... I was sure that was wrong as there has been seasons where we started really strong then fell over in final 10 or 12 games.. Nope the record books has it correct.

So again the hype surrounding our great club was truly peaking and so were the hopes and ambitions of some 50,000+ members.

St Kilda, after their loss to Gold Coast the week before, was expected to show alot more fight however their fitness was a concern as the conditions up in Queensland were quite humid and hot with a number of players going down with cramp in the final quarter.

Luke McGuane showed real glimpses of being one of our power forwards with two ripper pack marks and snaring a couple of goals whilst Dustin Martin was busy early having the ball sticking to him and racking up 11 possessions.

Richmond again dominated the possession and inside 50, but, like the Carlton game was wasteful and again amassed a 10 points for the half and only finishing with 8.10 (58). Richmond really need to review this, yes some are rushed but easy set shots not taken can really hurt the team as this builds momentum and kills the mindset of the opposition if you pile on the goals... If we had and finished more like 12.6 going into the half i believe we would have finished them off in the 3rd.

The second half showed much of the same although the Riewoldt battle heated up with both going head to head.

Trent Cotchin in his usual self shook off the tag placed by Clint Jones, only having 9 possession's to half time Trent amassed 22 in the second half to finish a top with 31 possession's for the game.

Richmond showed more poise this week in the latter part of the final quarter, against Carlton last week they looked worried and were nervous when attempting to move the ball out of their backline, this week they looked a little more settled and were able to counteract the Saints push and keep them at least 10 points clear.

The Tigers ended up getting over the line by 17 Points, for me, this was closer than I believe it should have been. The Tigers took over the lead in the 1st Quarter and never gave it back, at times were very wasteful in their shots on goal but also hitting the target.

The biggest worry for me Friday night was the ease in which St Kilda dominated us in marks in our attacking 50. We constantly bombed the ball in long or went towards a pack only for our forwards to be out of position and the tall saint defenders taking the grab.

I don't think this will be an issue against the Bulldogs this week but one to watch out for when we face Collingwood the week after...

Disappointment's: For me there wasn't alot to be disappointed with other than the marking inside our attacking 50 (yes I say this despite the big grabs by Jack, Jake and Luke...)

Jake Bachelor was ok but often looked for the player in contests rather than keeping his eye on the ball, which led to a lot of marks against him and easy shots on goal.

Ty Vickory was not impressive at all, which is a shame as last week against Carlton he found alot of space and took some great marks, maybe he's feeling crowded with both Jack & Luke there?

Positives for me: Well there were alot, Troy Chaplin played well in only his 2nd game since moving from Port. Jake King really impressed and was unlucky to pull down mark of the year. Luke McGuane is making a serious push to be the 2nd key forward to Jack Riewoldt, Grimes was great in his first game back since injury.

They big winners for me though were Ricky Petterd, Reece Conca and Trent Cotchin.

Trent showed why he is one of the favourites to win the Brownlow this year, yes tagged early but a great player knows how to shake off a tag and that he did, massing 31 possession's and being a big influence.

Reece Conca, I'll go down as saying that's the best game he has ever played for the Tigers. Alot of people have always had huge raps on him, me not so much as I think I was always overcome by the likes of Cotchin, Deledio and Martin as being the next youngsters to shine.. But I'll happily say that Reece was in the Top 3 of being best on ground.

Ricky Petterd, alot (critics/supporters) didn't like his invitation to pre-season, I always liked him though and thought Melbourne were stupid for getting rid of him last season. Ricky's presence and foot skills really helped us out and I would also put him in our top 3 best players considering it was only his first game for us too!

So, Tigers are sitting 2 wins and 0 losses which hasn't occurred for 16 years, We shift our sights to the Bulldogs this Sunday and hope to push for 3 straight wins.

If you're not yet on board as a member, get on now. Even if its just an interstate membership which I'm on, costs around $75 each year but your financially apart of the club and more importantly another tally to the clubs push of 60k+ supporters!

Final scores:

Richmond 14.15 (99)
St Kilda 12.10 (82)

**Photos courtesy of the Richmond website... www.richmondfc.com.au**

Monday, April 1, 2013

Round 1 - Richmond v Carlton (AFL)

Ok All, I'm going to try my hand at bringing Bo Gas's thoughts into the weekly AFL games, I'll bring my thoughts on how I saw my beloved Richmond Tigers, the high's, the low's, the hero's and the losers for the winter..

Much hype surrounded the Tigers over the pre-season, actually since the draw was announced late last year. Richmond were again given a Thursday night game against old rivals Carlton Blues.

Most could actually say the expectations were put on Richmond towards the tail end of last season, most saw 2012 as a stepping stone for the Tigers as they pursue their first finals campaign since 2001.

2012 showed the Tigers were capable of winning games, alot of the losses incurred were by narrow margins, the clubs punt on $$'s instead of home games hurt us again as well as a few off-field issues with Dusty and the now ex Tiger Daniel Connors.

2012 also saw the emergence of the Tigers future hall of famer and now Captain, Trent Cotchin. Trent's 2012 season was by far one of the best we've seen from a player who is one of the youngest, in past blogs i've rated him as our be
st by far and one of t
he best within last 15 years, 2nd only to my all time favourite Matthew Richardson.

But to compare Richo and Cotch on the same table is unfair, Richo spent the majority of his time in the forward line where he instantly gained the reputation as one of the best forwards in the AFL, also registering as one of the best Tiger forwards in history. It wasn't until late in his career did a coach finally realise this boy can run. So begun the Richo on the Wing experiment.

It was so successful that Richo not only racked up a ton of possessions each game, he also continued his goal scoring. To top it off he came within an inch of snaring a Brownlow Medal, narrowly missing out on the final game of the season.

Cotch has spent the majority of his career in the midfield, and that's where he should stay. His sleek skills and massive work rate has earned him our current number one Tiger, with that the honor of being the current Tiger captain. His 2012 season was simply special, I firmly believe if our boys had won more games, Trent would have taken the Brownlow for sure, however he, like Richo, finished narrowly 2nd to Jobe Watson..

To say the hype and expectations from the Tiger faithful, the media and in fact members within the Tiger hierarchy, were high is an understatement. 2012 was a good year, but still didn't produce what we've all longed for....... Finals Football..

Thursday night came quickly, being an interstate supporter I can't get to every game but its rare I don't watch it from home.

I grabbed my son and we proceeded to inhabit the couch for the next 3 and a bit hours... My son was gleaming brighter that night, he got to watch his hero Trent Cotchin. Just to steer off course quickly for a quick explanation....

My son Noah, currently in year 4, was asked to do a project for school on his Aussie Hero, he chose Trent Cotchin. He really did a great effort and I've included some photo's here for you.. I was really proud of his effort, so proud I thought I might send the photos via twitter to the Richmond Football Club. The Twitter Tiger faithful were buzzing with Noah's efforts, but what came an hour later almost knocked me off my chair.

I received a tweet directly from the club which contained a link, I hardly ever open these as often its spam or someones account has been hacked... So glad I did. This photo was on the link:

Never in my 34 years have I been apart of something so special from a sports player, Trent responded with a handwritten note saying "Thanks for writing about me Noah, Go Tiges!"

I finally got to show Noah the response he got from my tweet after primary school, his face below tells the story.

To say he was elated is an understatement.

I have a massive respect for Trent Cotchin, boosted even greater for his simple act of kindness. I don't think Trent realises what his small gesture has meant to a boy like Noah, this will ensure he is a Tiger for life.

Not only to Noah though, Twitter and Facebook was a buzz over this, Trent's gesture has given more pride and love to the club and he also has a massive following, an army that would proudly stand behind him.

Ok I've led off course, lets get back to the big game, Round 1, Richmond v Carlton.

Our list going into the game is close to full strength, just missing a few players like Foley, Grimes, Knights etc. If ever our team was going to break the hoodoo of successive Round 1 losses to Carlton, this was the year.

Siren started and finally, football is back!!!!

Carlton got off to a good start ensuring they nailed the first three goals of the game and putting the jitters into all... Midway through the 1st, the Tigers kicked into gear booting two goals and getting a number of points onto the scoreboard, at quarter time the two teams couldn't be separated and scores were level.

From then on the Tigers never looked back, they added another six straight goals and begun to dominate the game, the midfield was the key. Cotchin, Deledio, Maric and co took control and cleared the ball from the centre with ease, by half time the game looked completely in control for the Tigers, if it wasn't for their complete inaccuracy infront of goal they would have sealed the win early.

The 3rd quarter saw Carlton stage a mini comeback with Betts, Gibbs, Judd, Joseph and Kreuzer getting a few back to reduce the margin back to 21 late in the quarter before goals from McGuane and King helped steady the ship and lead by 36 at the end of the quarter.

Signs were worrying though for all supporting Richmond, the run was starting to slow down and it was only a matter of time til Carlton awoke and delivered the heart attack we all feared would come. If Richmond kicked straight initially, we wouldn't be discussing this...

Judd & Gibbs were instrumental in the Blues comeback, teamed with Yarren and Garlett the Blue boys were suddenly awake and full of run. Judd's skills and presence around the stoppages was brilliant to watch as he showed why he is considered one of the best in the AFL. Gibbs touted as one of the young superstars not yet showing full brilliance gave us a glimpse of his potential, if Carlton could tap his last quarter and receive four quarters of it they would be unstoppable.

With the game hanging in the balance both my son and I began to fear the worst, I constantly had my head in my hands shaking in disbelief as what was a 42 point lead dwindled to just 5 points.

I looked at the clock, a minute and 45 seconds remained and the Tigers were spent, nothing left in the tank. They tried and tried to clear the ball out of Carltons forward line, constantly bombing it up the ground, only for Carlton to attack hard and get it back in...

The unthinkable was about to come true, Carlton pushed and pushed and with numbers behind the ball delivered it to Yarren who streamed towards goal, with time on his hands he rushed the kick from about 40metres on a 45 degree angle and missed... the game was there for Carlton to take but the crucial shot was shy of the mark.

Somehow the Tigers managed to push it down to their forward line but another long bomb failed to reach a target and the ball spilled from the pack into the hands of the Carlton Defender Bootsma, immediately I thought they still have a chance, I mean, it happened last year against Gold Coast...

Bootsma couldn't find a gap and proceeded around the pack, from nowhere a supersonic boom hit the MCG with Luke McGuane launching and pinning Bootsma to the deck, the MCG erupted to the cry of "BAAAAALLLL!!!!!". McGuane had done it, he nailed Bootsma and now had a shot on goal, a certain win!

McGuane got up, walked back, slowly got ready for his shot, eating away precious seconds, he sends the ball towards goal and it misses through for a point, shortly after the siren goes, Tigers have won! Tigers have won!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Noah and I lept from our chairs and gave each other a huge hug, the elation of finally starting the year with a win and over our biggest rival was awe inspiring - the hype was right, the Tigers are one to be reckoned with this year, forget the last quarter yips, the first 3 were awesome to watch, put the kicking right and we would have seen a 60+ point win!

The boys entered the change rooms (with one addition ASADA officer following Deledio closely...) to sign the song. Personally, because the officer had to follow him everywhere until he received his "Sample" I would have made him join the group for the song and other stuff hahaha.

Troy Chaplin entered the middle of the arena for his important first win as a Tiger, the boys showered him with Powerade and sang their hardest.

There it was, the important first win we were looking for had finally come, Dimma can now focus, with the help of Chocco and the boys, to look at the last quarter and work on the fade out.

Cotch was outstanding in his first game as the Tiger Captain, Rancy joined by the new Chappy were strong in defence, good signs from Vickory early but, really, it was a decent all team performance.

One other area of concern had me quite angry, early in the last quarter Chappy took a knock to the face off the shoulder of another player, he looked groggy so the Tigers brought him off to assess. The camera panned over to our sub Robin Nahas, Robin sat slumped in his chair, not at all interested in what was happening, mouth guard half out his mouth and just in another world. At one stage you could see Robin mumbling to himself and shaking his head.

The Channel 7 commentary team, although annoying at times, were right on the money for me. One was quoted as saying "if you were the sub player ready to come on wouldn't you be up and down the boundary line showing the coach your enthusiasm and that you want to go on?".

I love Robby Nahas but what I saw of him Thursday night dissapointed me, he beat himself up badly and his body language showed when he finally got on the field and dropped what should have been an easy mark.

Robby really needs a good boot up his bum from Dimma or Chocco this week, he needs to remember there is a long list of players who will be frothing at the bit to push for selection. Personally if Chris Knights was 100% I would have added him instead of Nahas last weekend, I understand from sources that he has a niggling calf injury so may be another week - possibly could be ready for this weekend though...

Add the young next Cotchin, Nick Vlastuin (Pictured left), as well as Dylan Grimes, Jake Bachelor, Matty Dea, Ricky Pettard, Aaron Edwards, Nathan Foley etc... There is serious depth in the Tigers lineup, all seven listed could walk into the line up and there are a heap more to be added.

So Robby, if your reading this, Its one game and we'll look at it that way, get your mindset right and show why you deserve that spot on the list - your much better than what you showed last Thursday.

This week the Tigers take on the Saints, friday night at the MCG. Tigers have had a good rest and ready to show the footy world why they should be feared this year.

My Tip, Tigers by 18 Points.

**Photos courtesy of www.richmondfc.com.au **