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 **

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