Saturday, August 24, 2013

All About Me

Thought I might do a quick article about me now and whats been happening since March last year and what I've been up too!

Well as some of you may have read, in March I played my first ever finals game in any sport i've ever played! Baseball - which looks like the game for me as I venture to retirement of all sport (You'll see why soon), was giving my my first taste of what Finals is being that every other sport my team had bombed out.

I spent a good portion of my life playing football @ Happy Valley Football Club, back then, The Vikings, had one of the most successful seniors team around, sadly I was in juniors at that time.. All throughout my time in juniors playing Under 15's, 17's and then 18's when they changed the rules around, my team was thoroughlly thrashed at most games, some games even belted by 30 goals...

When I moved to the C grade it was a bit different, we weren't getting the thrashings but were missing finals by one or two wins..

Knee Injury forced me to finish up with Happy Valley as well as moving out north west to be living with my now wife... My final season with the Vikings was the year after my knee went caput but was prob one of my most successful seasons - kicking 10 goals in one game and finishing with approx 50 in the 10 games I played that season...

But that was 12 odd years ago and now my main focus is Baseball, with East Torrens Red Sox! We had a pretty good season, matching it against the top teams and heading into a Semi Final against Adelaide, it was there I suffered not only a broken bone in the nose.. but also a chipped bone in the forehead and a broken thumb.. All in same game and happening at different times in the game.. (Hey we won though but that was season over for me!)

Worst thing was heading off to the Soundwave Festival with no painkillers, a broken thumb, a head that looked like a horn was growing and a purple nose.. Basically looked like I had been in a really bad fight - nope, just me stopping the baseball with my head!

Our team went on to narrowly miss the grand final by 1 run.

Since then i've been studying and also decided on a return to football....

With Studying I've always had an interest in plants and bonsai etc, but never been able to do some things i've wanted to do with them like growing from seed, cultivating etc.

Whilst talking about this at work a collegue mentioned the local government has a skills for all scheme happening where they will fund approx 200 courses for free to better equip people in our state.. Nice!

I wandered on there and found a Certificate II in Horticulture, had a quick look and thought it looked quite interesting so applied! Three subjects in and i've aced each one and getting excellent feedback from the lecturer (Ha, never got that in finance!!)

So, the return to Football, possibly not my finest of ideas but I had it for the right intentions.

The intention was never to be this awesome footballer to come and kick a bag of goals for my local team, it was to fill in whilst they were short on numbers. Broadview Football Club has 4 senior teams, One Division 1 side and its Reserves team, and the other is in Division 7 with a Reserves team.

The Reserves for Division 7 were running low on numbers so I thought i'd whack on a guernsey and see what happens.

Now, I'm alot older since I last played football and definately don't have the fitness levels I had back then... I found first training quite challenging to say the least haha Found alot of the time I was hands on head sucking in as much air as I could.

But with that the players were very welcoming, even the higher grades, always encouraging you to keep at it.

The first few games of the year my team had won so I was looking forward to getting in and kicking some goals from the forward line, sadly the higher grades sustained some injuries so alot of our better players moved up to fill the void, some even had to play 2 games each weekend straight after each other..

With the loss of players came with some of our heaviest defeats, my first game against Flinders Park saw a huge loss, infact my only shot on goal came in the 3rd quarter I think it was when I took a mark about 40metres out and had a shot on goal, looked good initially however didn't allow enough for the wind and it narrowly missed.. Shame, if I nailed it I would have been the leading goal scorer.... Highlight though was standing an ex Adelaide Crows player Sudjai Cook who was lazily standing on the Half Back Line. Wow - he still has speed, he was just standing there rebounding the ball and moving it with great skills - was great to watch.

In the end I played 5 games, the fateful game for me came after a week long Adelaide drenching where the heavens truly opened up giving us a taste of a true old fashioned Adelaide Winter!

The final game was very water logged but also the ground sunk when you walked on it. I was placed at Centre Half Forward which is where I did play alot of Junior Footy, my favourite role is Full Forward.

Half way through the 1st quarter one of our big left footers took a mark on the right hand wing just forward of our goals, I was walking just inside our 50 ready to lead and all I could hear from the bench was Lead Lead!!! so I bolted towards him, for a big guy I do have early speed and got a few steps infront of the defender, 2 players were sitting under the ball which was perfect for a screamer...

As I approached the 2 players I proceeded to ready Launch! But it was at this point my right foot sunk in the mud and got stuck, by that time though all my weight was on the right leg and it buckled at the knee, I felt it pop out as I launched into the pack, still got my hands to the ball but knew I was in big trouble...

One thing I remember was one of our much smaller players, his face cracks me up each time I think about it - As I hit the pack and was on my way down he was at the front looking up as what prob looked to him as a wall of mass coming towards him - his face showed pure terror and fear as I fastly approached, I turned my shoulder and bang. He was flattened - quite hard too, I mean I am a big unit...

I layed there knowing my knee had gone, I had a quick feel around and could instantly feel my Medial was like jelly - my lateral and others felt ok though, massive pain from the bone on my right side but the ligaments felt good on that side.

They carried me off and I sat on the bench icing away. Good thing was I can still put weight on it so was able to hobble to the changerooms, grab my keys and stuff and drive down to the local Sportsmed for a check.

Initial fears were quickly brought to light, Grade 2, possible Grade 3 tear of the Medial Ligament. F it. I also suffered severe bone bruising on the right hand side of my knee..

So began my recoup and soon rehab, I even experienced acupuncture for the first time ever - won't be my last but it also won't be the first thing I run off to go and get if I'm in the mood for pain!

That was approx 8 weeks ago and my leg is much better, it still isn't ready for anything but I am walking ok and now have the knee brace off. Stupidity has set me back a few weeks as I slowly jogged around the oval with my youngest daughter, sadly the weight on my knee really put too much pressure on the right hand side and have aggravated the bone bruising..

So now pain when I walk but it is getting better.

As we speak right now, I am preparing for my sons final football game for the year and he ventures towards starting Baseball for another season. I too will return just not sure if it will be Round 1 (Physio believes it will be) or later in the round like round 4.

My Richmond Tigers are in the finals for the first time since 2001 when we were cruely knocked out of the Prelim Final, we are still 2 games to play but its likely we'll finish 5th and play Port in the first round of the finals. Both Noah and I are extremely looking forward to this!

Earlier in the year we decided we would take the family to the Gold Coast for 10 days, that meant no Melbourne trip for Noah and I unless we made the finals... sure enough they made it! So we're anxiously awaiting to see what day they will be playing so we can fly in and hopefully fly out same day.

So now you know what i've been up too, hope to add more posts over the next few weeks and push my blog to 100 articles!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Richmond Tigers Rounds 6 - 21 - Review

Ok I've been a bit slack in regards to my updates of the Tigers and the games I was hoping to cover on a weekly basis, sadly time got the better of me and suddenly I was not one or two games behind but 10...

So i've decided with 2 rounds to go, i'll write my blog about their games since I last covered against their narrow loss to Fremantle, a game i'll never forget when the goal umpire decided to "cover up" his mistake and pretend like it never happened, then the geese up in the review room also protected their umpire friend and too pretended like it never happened... Anyhow, no point dwelling on past indiscretion's...

Here's my quick take, Round by Round:

Round 6 - Richmond v Geelong

Sadly this is one of the games I was unable to see, a group of us have a syndicate we've formed betting on anything on TAB, however this day we had booked to go to Morphetville Racecourse and spend the day at the track.

I originally thought it was the copious amounts of ales I had consumed throughout the day as I checked my AFL App on my iphone as it showed the Tigers were infront and in contention for most of the first half!

Sadly, and as I returned home from a massive day, the Tigers then were outclassed & outgunned by one of the flag favourites as Geelong steadied the ship, built a good lead and then held off the tired legs of Richmond to run out 44 point winners.

Final result:

GEELONG          3.3   9.3   15.7   20.11 (131)
RICHMOND        4.1   8.4   11.7   13.9 (87)

Christensen 3, Bartel 2, Johnson 2 Smedts 2, Hawkins 2, Duncan 2, Stokes 2, Murdoch, West, Selwood, Enright, Blicavs.
Richmond: King 4, Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Knights, McGuane, Ellis, Grigg.

Geelong: Christensen, Johnson, Duncan, Stokes, Selwood, Enright.
Richmond: Edwards, Jackson, Newman, Cotchin, Petterd.

Official crowd: 55,625 at the MCG.

Round 7 - Port v Richmond

Wow was I looking forward to this game, in my home state and against one of the teams I hate the most.

Grown up hating Port as a Glenelg Supporter and nothing changed when they joined the AFL!

This for me was a real gut wrenching game, I had real bad nerves circulating in me, worried which Tiger outfit would turn up and whether we could beat an unbeaten Port...

My son and I then watched in absolute shock and elation as the Tigers started their onslaught, controlled, maintained and held complete dominance in the midfield and piling on 8 first quarter goals. The entire Port crowd was in shock and awe as the Tiger army roared over the top of them.

Now, we've been in this position before - the worry was our legs were spent and they would come back. To our amazement that was further from the truth, Deledio, Martin & Cotchin were simply amazing, Shane Edwards quick hands and centre clearances were outstanding and big Jack booted 5 as the Tigers took the lead early and never looked back running out 41 point winners!

The sad note for me was the injury to Chris Knights, real shame as he was looking the goods in his return - lets hope he recovers and we give him another year! The loss of Tucky also with a shoulder was tough to watch as he stayed on the field and helped the midfields rotation whilst in absolute agony!

Final Result:

RICHMOND                8.2   11.5  15.6  18.6    (114)
PORT ADELAIDE      2.1   4.5    6.10   10.13   (73)

Riewoldt 5, King 3, Grigg 2, Newman 2, Tuck 1, Nahas 1, Vlaustin 1, Knights 1, Martin 1, McGuane 1,
Port Adelaide: Schulz 3, Mitchell 2, Gray 1, Monfries 1, Moore 1, Wingard 1, Broadbent 1

Deledio, Martin, Riewoldt, Stephenson, Ellis, Newman
Port Adelaide: Boak, Schulz, Wingard, Mitchell, Carlile Redden

Official crowd: 25,372 at AAMI Stadium

Round 8 - Richmond v Melbourne

Still feeling the high after knocking off Port @ AAMI Stadium there was a high degree of expectation that the Tigers should thump Melbourne by 100+ points.

Sadly this wasn't the case as the Demon's came out to play and the game was at a real stale mate for most of the game, to me, the Tigers looked the winners from the start of the game but just didn't take their opportunities in front of goal and put them away. Instead easy shots were squandered and this allowed the Demons to claw their way back and be in touch at each break until the Tigers put on the brakes and held them to the solitary goal in the final term.

The big winner for the day was the emergence of Brandon Ellis, his 39 possession game was well highlighted as he shot himself into the Tiger faithfuls cheer as one of our midfielders to watch, Vlastuin was another key to watch who was still only in his first handful of games. Either way you look at it, the youth of Richmond is a deep well of skill and will each help us to be a powerhouse in the near future.

So end result was Tigers by 34 points but it wasn't a convincing win:

RICHMOND            2.4   7.9   12.14   15.16 (106)
MELBOURNE         3.0   7.2   10.4     11.6   (72)

Riewoldt 3, Martin 3, King 2, Deledio, Nahas, Ellis, Vlastuin, Morris, White, Chaplin
Melbourne: Davey 3, Dawes 2, Dunn 2, Nicholson, Bail, Howe, Evans

Ellis, Vlastuin, S. Edwards, Deledio, Grigg, Houli
Melbourne: Davey, N. Jones, Magner, Terlich, M. Jones

Official crowd: 39,148 at the MCG

Round 9 - Richmond v Essendon

Dreamtime at the G is always a game both the Tigers & Bombers fans love to flock too, and this years game was no exception, over 80,000 turned up expecting a big upset by the Tigers.

Brandon Ellis was an early exclusion from the previous weeks leather poisoning and the Bombers hierarchy did their homework well as their troops placed some great tag's on the likes of Deledio, Martin and Cotchin who each struggled to get their dominance in the game.

Dimma summed it up well in the conference after the game, what was only a 20 point lead to Essendon at halftime, it felt more like the Bombers were 10 goals up as they controlled the game well in the first half with Watson dominating yet like the Tigers last week, didn't make the most of goal opportunities.

The best players really sum up how the game finished with 5 of the 6 listed all from the backline, Rance & Chaplin were pushed to the limit as the ball was constantly bombarded into the backline.

Matt White came into the game during the 3rd and provided some spark but one player was not enough to lift the rest of the team and sadly the end result was the Bombers by 29 Points:

RICHMOND               2.2      4.5      6.5       9.8 (62)
ESSENDON               2.3     7.7     11.9    13.13 (91)

Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Cotchin, Edwards, King, Martin, McGuane, Nahas, Vlastuin
Essendon: Crameri 3, Watson 3, Zaharakis 2, Hibberd, Howlett, Melksham, Stanton, Winderlich

Richmond: Rance, Grigg, Chaplin, Vlastuin, Newman, Jackson 
Essendon: Watson, Zaharakis, Stanton, Goddard, Hibberd, Hocking, Dempsey 

Official crowd: 84, 234 at the MCG

Round 10 - West Coast v Richmond

The trip out west was one the Tigers wanted to make to show why it is they are a genuine top 8 contender, the Tenacious Tigers, still reeling from the previous trip out West, burst into Perth and, like the Port game, their midfield stamped their authority in the first half and never looked back.

The first quarter was closely guarded with both teams using possession well, it was the Tigers however who came out in the 2nd quarter and kicked 6 unanswered goals to lead by 5 goals at halftime.

But they didn't stop there, they continued to kick the next 4 goals without reply - the Eagles were shell shocked as they watched 10 straight goals go on the board.

Their midfield woke up late in the last but by then it was all over as the tigers ran out 41 point winners.

Deledio, Jackson and Cotchin were brilliant and Vlastiun nailed 3 goals as he continued his push for a regular gig in this already flushed Tiger outfit... 

WEST COAST      3.3   3.6   5.9      8.14  (62)                  
RICHMOND          2.3   8.4   14.5   16.7  (103)          
West Coast: Kennedy 3, Hill 2, Darling, Kerr, S Selwood
Richmond: Vlastuin 3, S Edwards 2, Newman 2, Vickery 2, Riewoldt 2, Jackson, King, Martin, White, A Edwards
West Coast: S Selwood, Naitanui, Kennedy, Shuey, Masten, Priddis
Richmond: Deledio, Jackson, Cotchin, White, Foley, Vlastuin, Martin

Official crowd: 37,781 at the Patersons Stadium

Round 12 - Richmond v Adelaide

Fresh off the bye (Still shake my head at why the AFL does this...) the Tigers were awaiting the Crows who were fresh off a 77 point thumping at the hands of Sydney.

Adelaide, still shell shocked, didn't do their homework and allowed the Tigers to roam free. Especially Brett Deledio who spent the majority of the first half roaming free and rebounding the ball off the half back with ease and zero pressure!

Despite the Crows making a late push the Tigers held them off and ran out to a 38 point win. Martin & Riewoldt were great up forward and Ellis and Conca continued their charge.

The Crows continued their free fall from grace after last year missing the Grand Final by one kick, now languish in the bottom 8 and don't look any real threat of moving upwards..

The Tigers on the other hand have a big next 4 weeks as wins over Bulldogs, Saints, Roos and Suns could cement their place in the top 8!

RICHMOND    5.2    9.7   11.10    16.14    (110)                 
ADELAIDE      2.1   5.4     6.10     10.12    (72)         

Martin 4, Riewoldt 3, Grigg 2, Ellis 2, Cotchin, Newman, Maric, King, Edwards
Adelaide: Dangerfield 2, Callinan, Jenkins, Lynch, Porplyzia, Jenkins, Thompson, van Berlo, Mackay

Deledio, Riewoldt, Martin, Ellis, Conca, Chaplin, Houli
Adelaide: Dangerfield, Sloane, Porplyzia, Thompson, Rutten
Official crowd: 43,615 at the MCG

Round 13 - Western Bulldogs v Richmond

Any game against the Bulldogs is must win for me, not only does my brother in law go for them but I always hold a grudge for them stemming from the old days when the likes of Matthew Knights and Chris Bond were playing them. The old Liberatore hard hits on Knights always had the Tiger faithful up in arms as the claret poured from Knighters head...

This game is no exception! Both teams want the win but the Tigers want it more, we have one of the best lists in some time whereas the Bulldogs are struggling and have a handful capable of the big stage - harsh, but that is the simple reality.

From the start you could sense the Tigers would dominate, but as has been the case in recent games, The Tigers could simply not take advantage of their inside 50's and at quarter time had 8 points with only 4 majors nailed. This gave the Bulldogs the breathing space to keep up with the Tigers and be within 11 points.

Sadly, For the Bulldogs... that would be as close as they get as Richmond's midfield lifted their intensity and held the dogs at bay while they increased the lead. Lead strongly by the efforts of Martin, Conca and Grigg in the midfield and Houli & Riewoldt off the half back the Tigers then held the Bulldogs to just 2 points in the "Premiership" quarter as in turn they added 5 to be 53 points up at 3 quarter time.

In the end the Tigers held on to win by 60 points, a good solid win which perhaps with a bit better goal kicking could have been 100 but still helps our %!

WESTERN BULLDOGS      3.3    5.9    5.11    8.13 (61)     
RICHMOND                           4.8   8.13  13.16  17.19 (121)        
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 2, Cooney, Jones, Hunter, Giansiracusa, Murphy, Boyd
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Conca 2, Vickery 2, A Edwards, Foley, Houli, Grigg, Martin, White, Jackson, Vlastuin, Cotchin
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Boyd, Murphy, Macrae, Hunter, Roughead
Richmond: Martin, Conca, Houli, Jackson, Grigg, Riewoldt, Deledio

Crowd: 29,788 at Etihad Stadium

Round 14 - Richmond v St Kilda

Maybe its just me, but this is another team I love our team to beat and beat soundly, for years the Saints were a good side behind the likes of Dal Santo, Montagna and Goddard. Now they are hit with injuries, Goddard departed for the Bombers and the Saints are no longer the powerhouse they once were.

Led by one of our fan favourites, Axel Foley took control of the game and was at every exchange, his sleek skills, quick feet and hard at the ball attitude helped the team dominate early and again smash the opposition in the 2nd quarter to have a handy lead at the half time break.

I've said it before and i'll probably say this again, the Tigers kicking in front of goal has been terrible this year - funny I can say that yet we are winning and in the top 8... some can never be pleased hahaha

But in saying that, whilst we led by 41 points at half time, it quite easily could have been 60 or more... In the 2nd half we kicked 7 goals and 8 points whilst the Saints could only add 4.3. But in a season where percentage is everything I feel the Tigers let themselves down a bit by not going out 100 point winners, yes 64 point win is awesome don't get me wrong - I just feel they need a good solid goal kicking practice each week as kicking 17 points in a game is not good.

Aaron Edwards was awesome to watch, only kicked the one goal but his work rate and presence often has me calling for his inclusion rather than Vickery.. Vickery at times can be slow and lazy up forward, I just feel Edwards has alot to offer our team.

Jackson put in another stand out performance and has truly improved this season to be one of the premier taggers in the competition.

RICHMOND               4.4 10.9 15.13 17.17 (119)
ST KILDA                   3.2   4.4    7.5      8.7   (55)
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Jackson 3, Grigg 2, Foley 2, Deledio 2, Ellis, King, A. Edwards, Vickery, Conca
St Kilda: Dennis-Lane 2, Steven, Montagna, Jones, Murdoch, Dal Santo, Riewoldt
Richmond: Foley, Vickery, Cotchin, A. Edwards, Jackson, Conca
St Kilda: Dennis-Lane, Armitage, Ray, Steven, Jones

Official crowd: 52,184 at the MCG

Round 15 - North v Richmond

I'm going to say this now, theres no real positives I can pull from this game.

The Tigers were simply out classed and out coached. Tigers looked awesome early on and hit the forward 50 nicely, but like a flick of the switch the Kangaroos stopped our inside 50's and piled on 8 goals in the 2nd quarter, all Richmond could do was stand in the path of the oncoming truck and stare at the headlights like a stunned Rabbit...

North certainly did their homework well, the Tigers with their backs to the wall went back to old ways of trying to bomb the ball into the forward line at every opportunity, only for their extra tall players to stand, mark and move it back down field.

Houli was omitted pre game and it was noticeable, his sleek skills and reliable presence was sorely missed!

I draw no positive from this game and will quickly end it here...

Final Result:

NORTH MELBOURNE             3.3      11.6     15.8     19.14   (128)                 
RICHMOND                                2.2       2.7       4.15       8.18   (66)         

North Melbourne:
Tarrant 4, Bastinac 3, Black 2, Mullett 2, Harvey 2, Ziebell 2, Petrie, Greenwood, Cunnington, Gibson
Richmond: Morris 2, White 2, Riewoldt 2, Ellis, Jackson

North Melbourne:
Adams, Hansen, Greenwood, Thompson, Hine, Swallow, Ziebell, Goldstein
Richmond: Morris, Cotchin, Chaplin, Foley
Official crowd: 45,966 at Etihad Stadium

Round 16 - Richmond v Gold Coast

Blustery and wet conditions plagued the big clash between the Tigers and the Suns, worst fact is the Tigers have never beaten the Suns since they entered the competition. Another poor fact is they have never met on Richmond's home ground the MCG as for the past few seasons the club sold the rights and played them up in QLD...

The game was all about a couple of major factors, The wind and Gary Ablett.

Daniel Jackson secured some pretty handy brownlow votes in this game, he held Gary to only 26 touches and looked well held all game whilst Daniel racked up 30+ and kicked two important goals!

The wind was the other factor, The Suns and Tigers played the first half utilising the wind but it was the Tigers Tenacity in the 3rd holding the Suns to just the one goal in with the breeze whilst keeping the lead was a huge factor as the sky opened up and the rain fell.

As good as this third quarter mauling was, it wasn't enough to give the Tiger Faithful the frights late in the game as the Suns made a final push to snatch the win, in fact in the last few minutes I remember vividly remember not being able to watch as they had multiple shots on goal...

RICHMOND        1.3     4.10    5.13   6.17 (53)
GOLD COAST    3.3     4.4      5.6     6.8 (44)  
Richmond: Jackson 2, Riewoldt, Arnot, Foley, Ellis
Gold Coast: Brown, O'Meara, McKenzie, Day, Bennell, Shaw
Richmond: Jackson, Martin, Cotchin, Ellis, Chaplin, Deledio
Gold Coast: McKenzie, Prestia, Ablett, Nicholls, O'Meara, Shaw

Official crowd: 11,197 at Cazalys Stadium

Round 17 - Richmond v Fremantle

Payback best describes my requirement for this game, the Tigers are firmly in the top 8 and I want revenge for the last time we played, where yes, I am still filthy about the goal umpire...

No Pavlich, Sandilands or Ballantyne I was sure a solid win would occur...

The first half was fought hard by both sides, the Tigers however seemed the dominant figure. Although only 2 goals up at half time it really felt like they were 6 goals up, again some poor misses in front of goal...

The Tigers midfield, led by our captain courageous, Trent Cotchin, pushed the ball inside 50 and increased the pressure on the Freo backline delivering pin point accuracy to Jumping Jack who finished with 4 for the day. Jacko continued his brilliant 2013 form and for me is one of the front runners for the end of year Best & Fairest, his unsung efforts are starting to be noticed!

End result was the Tigers winning by 27 points, a good hard fought win over one of the Top 4 contenders!

RICHMOND       3.3   4.6     9.9   12.12 (84)
FREMANTLE     2.2    2.5    6.6    8.9 (57)
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Deledio, White, Martin, King, S. Edwards, Vickery, Cotchin, Jackson
Fremantle: Mzungu 3, Mayne 2, Walters, Silvagni, de Boer
Richmond: Cotchin, Rance, Ellis, Vlastuin, Jackson, S. Edwards 
Fremantle: Mzungu, Crowley, Dawson, Clarke, Johnson, Fyfe, Mundy

Official crowd: 40,125 at the MCG

Round 18 - Sydney v Richmond

A picturesque SCG was the birth place for what was an important game to Richmond, not only to see how we can match against one of the best but it was also important to get an away win and help secure the finals push.

The first half I think Richmond was awesome, they put it to one of the flag favourites and really had them worried.

The usual suspects in Martin, Cotchin, Grigg and Jackson stood tall and matched the likes of McVeigh, O'Keefe and Jack and sat within 15 points at half time, i actually believe we were good enough to be infront but sadly just fell behind them.

The question was always going to be, At the SCG can the Tigers match the Swans for 4 quarters. Unfortunately the answer was no as the Swans showed why they are Top 4 worthy and piled on 5 goals to 2 and stretched their lead at 3 quarter time.

Errors cost us dearly in the game and our legs fell off in the last half, Sydney ended up taking the points winning by 47 points.

The loss further dampened by the bad concussion of Ty Vickery.

A loss but alot to learn from it, hopefully we can repay the favour in September.

SYDNEY SWANS  5.3    8.7   13.10    16.14 (110)
RICHMOND            5.3    6.4    8.7         9.9 (63)

Sydney Swans: White 4, Tippett 3, Mitchell 2, K. Jack 2, Lamb, B. Jack, Pyke, Smith, Bolton
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Conca, Jackson, Vickery, White

Sydney Swans: O'Keefe, Jack, Mitchell, White, Bird, Tippett, McVeigh
Richmond: Martin, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Grigg, Jackson

Official crowd: 29,738 at SCG

Round 19 - Hawthorn v Richmond

Wow, just wow.

Storms circulate Adelaide as I returned home from watching my boy play soccer, he just booted a piercing cannon of a shot through the back of the net as they took the win 1-0.

High on emotion we returned home to find the Internet was down, 1 hour later and with 20 minutes to game time it was a lost cause as the last Telstra operator I spoke with, located not even in Australia, proceeded to be non helpful and suggest someone come and view my system...

Full of anger and disgust I retreated outside to begin sanding my pallet for the new pallet garden we were trying out (Check it out on Sustainability & Recycling article on my blog), my son was extremely worried as I was sanding that hard the Pallet could soon be a toothpick...

From what I heard the Tigers started well, led by our midfielders we put it up to the Hawks and showed why we are Finals bound, Quarter time the Hawks fought back quite hard led by their brilliant midfield - they showed why they are the top side of the competition...

Until that is, I returned inside and found the Internet was back on... I vividly remember us being down by just under a goal and then bang, the Tigers blitzed the last half booting 10 goals to 3 as Cotchin, Ellis, Grigg and Martin stamped their dominance.

Martin's efficiency was quite down but booted a jaw dropping bomb from outside 50 just before 3 quarter time.

The Tigers continued their stamp and dominance over the Hawks who appear to have had a stumble in their quest for the minor premiership, the Tigers nailed their 12th win of the season and stun Hawthorn by 41 Points.

Unsung hero is Alex Rance and Steve Morris who held Franklin and Rioli to just one goal between them, Franklin was full of confidence coming off a 8 goal game the week before against Essendon...

Final Score:

HAWTHORN      3.4    6.8    7.10     9.12      (66)
RICHMOND        6.4    6.6   10.10   16.11   (107)
Hawthorn: Puopolo 2, Franklin, Lewis, Smith, Burgoyne, Guerra, Ceglar, Hodge
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, McGuane 2, Edwards 2, White 2, Jackson 2, Maric, Newman, Foley, Martin, Tuck
Hawthorn: Smith, Lake, Lewis, Puopolo
Richmond: Rance, Cotchin, Ellis, Maric, Grigg, Chaplin, Martin, Astbury, Jackson

Official crowd: 64,324 at the MCG

Round 20 - Richmond v Brisbane

A win, the Tigers are in the finals and no one can dislodge us! Since 2001 we've been waiting for this moment, surely we can put the nail in the coffin...

Or can we, its only Brisbane who are languishing in the bottom 8...surely.

The story was the same for this game as it has been for us all year, mid's start great, we kicked 6 goals to 1 and really stamped authority on the game.

The Tigers however at times fail to slam the door shut on teams such as Brisbane and give them a faint sniff of a comeback, this was evident in the third quarter when Brisbane held us goalless and they crept 3 home to be within 4 at the main break.

The Lions continued to push led by strong efforts by Rich and Rockliff and got to within 16 points until the Tigers pulled determination out and put a few on the board to keep the win undeniably in Richmond's hands.

That's it - all we need now is the Bulldogs to beat Carlton and we are in, no doubt about it...

And win the Bulldogs did! They upset everyone and nailed Carlton in what was noted as the Blues worst effort for the year

But that's it - Tigers are in the Finals!!!!!!!!!! For the first time since 2001!

RICHMOND                      6.2   11.7   11.9   14.13 (97)
BRISBANE LIONS           1.3    4.4     7.7    11.8 (74)

McGuane 3, Conca 3, Vlastuin, Morris, Jackson, Grigg, Foley, Ellis, Riewoldt, White
Brisbane Lions: Mayes 3, Staker 2, Green 2, Hanley 2, Rich, Merrett

Cotchin, Conca, Houli, Ellis, Maric, Foley    
Brisbane Lions: Rockiff, Hanley, Green, Mayes, Redden, Rich

Official crowd: 46,961 at the MCG

Round 21 - Richmond v Carlton

Oh god this one still burns, like salt added to a deep gash...

So confident was I of the win I ran down to the local TAB and put a wager on it, the Tigers by 25 points - I was sure.

The first quarter was beautiful to watch, 8 goals piled on and Carlton looked spent early - Jack was dominant with 4 early marks, Vickery was getting his hands to the ball also and Dusty, Cotch and Deledio were prominent. Foley and Ellis were the stand outs for me.

Just like it is yesterday, I remember turning to my son and saying "Geez hope we haven't used up all of our run in that quarter...", just like that I put the hoodoo on Richmond.

The boys returned to the pitch and put my worst fears out there, their legs were spent. Not completely but their effort on the ball, run off the half back and through the middle, delivery to the forward line... all were compromised. Carlton's attitude changed in the 2nd and they pushed and pushed, always looking to be first at the ball while Richmond started playing catch up footy...

It still pains me to say it but Mitch Robinson was the match winner, his over enthusiastic presence was the deciding factor for Carltons resurgence.

From the 2nd quarter onwards our leadership group was non existent, Cotch, Martin, Deledio all tried hard but could not break the shackles. Jacko and Ellis were good but lacked the support needed..

So in the end Carlton held on for a 10 point win, one they deserved and one we should never have dropped.

One positive came from this game for me, Matt McDonough debuting - I think the young lad did quite well and should retain his spot against GWS!

RICHMOND   8.2     10.3    12.7    14.12 (96)
CARLTON      3.2     9.4      13.4    16.10 (106)
Richmond: Vickery 3, Riewoldt 2, Ellis 2, Petterd, Vlastuin, Grigg, Jackson, McGuane, Maric, Rance
Carlton: McLean 3, Henderson 3, Casboult 3, Gibbs 2, Menzel 2, Robinson, Simpson, Tuohy
Richmond: Deledio, Jackson, Astbury, Conca, Foley
Carlton: McLean, Simpson, Jamison, Murphy, Robinson, Gibbs, Casboult, Armfield
Official crowd: 60,825 at the MCG
So that is my take of the season since Round 5, alot of it positive, you just have to look at the difference players such as Ellis, Jackson, Conca, Rance, Edwards, Chaplin are making to this team this year.
Jackson has always been the silent assassin, some (including myself) were asking for him to be traded, in my point of view at times, in fact alot of his disposal was ineffective and wasted. I'm gladly happy to sit here and eat my words with his performance this year, he has undoubtedly put all doubters in their place and full credit to him - he has pushed himself as one of the major players this year!
Ellis, has always been touted as supremely talented, has stepped up this year. His presence and attack on the ball has seen him as not only a crowd favourite but a regular inclusion in any Tiger lineup!
Conca is the same, may not be as prominent as a Cotchin or Deledio but wow, he just manages to turn up at the right time and do his job.
Rance & Chaplin are amazing this year, Chappy's inclusion to the side after transferring from Port has been one to watch, the two of them are our core in defence and run it like a tight ship! When Grimes can be injury free the three will be one to watch!
With 2 games to go its an exciting time at Tigerland, we're in the finals and very likely to get a home final in the first round, I expect it'll be against either Port or Collingwood. I doubt Essendon will miss out but suspect they will be knocked out in the first round anyway - sweet justice if you ask me.
GWS this week and then the Bombers the week after, GWS cannot be underestimated as I feel they still have a good side but providing conditions are good I feel we will run over them. Essendon will be another story, I feel we will win but will depend on whether our legs run out of steam early or if we fail to capitalise on our goal scoring opportunities...
Ok I think that's enough of my dribble, now lets sit back and watch the rest of the season unfold! To all my friends in Victoria, Noah and I look forward to seeing you in the 1st weekend in September!

**Photos courtesy of the Richmond website!**

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Latest App Reviews

Well I sat on Top Eleven for a long time and loved it to bits, by the end however I started having grief with the way games were being decided.

Like most, we were left shaking our heads as a team in which we were massively overstocked against and far more superior on paper left us gobsmacked as they managed to either defeat us, or, score the equaliser.

So many theories showed on the Top Eleven Forum's on why this occurs, some suggest its the formation, others believe its how many friends are linked and watching - some also believe its a down right conspiracy.

Me - I'm just not sure, the last straw for me which broke the camels back was a team which i was approx 20 points better on average against. I had one 7 Star player, three 6 Star players and a handful of 5 Star players. Looking at the opposition they had one 5 Star player and the rest were 3's & 4's.

No friends of his were watching and he/she wasn't watching either, Personally, I was and had two friends watching also.

I then proceeded to watch as my team lost 4-1. To say I was filthy was an understatement, this was a game which I had been sucked into buying gold so I could buy high ranking players, I had a hugely stacked side compared to the opposition yet this lowly placed side beat me 4-1?!?!

I could find absolutely no logic in this occurring so decided enough's enough, my team should have finished top yet lost approx 5 or 6 games I should have won in the last 8 of the season and dropped to 3rd on the ladder.

Thats it - see you later!

So I decided to move onto some other games, love playing a few when I have some spare time. I moved onto the likes of Hay Day and Footy Coach. Hay Day was awesome for a while, but became really repetitive and Footy Coach became boring as you spent way too long waiting for health to rejuvenate so you could play against someone...

Whilst playing Hay Day one day I came across a video for Clash of Clans, thought i'd watch the video as i get free something for Hay Day if I do... It actually looked ok so thought i'll download and give it a go.

Clash of Clans is a fun game and very multiplayer friendly, but thats almost where it stops for me, yes once you've levelled up enough and save up your Gold & Elixir and build your Clan Castle you can Join or Create a Clan. Clans are handy as members will donate troops to store in your Clan Castle - if you are attacked or short on numbers you can use these troops.

But really this is where the multiplayer part of the game ends - My hope for Clash of Clans would be you work together to battle or rage war on other Clans, but nothing really happens for this side which is dissapointing.

Although, it still has that aspect of fun in it where you just can't give it up completely, its handy as you can instruct your builders for upgrades, collect some resources, attack some other players and then leave it for a few hours and return later. I think i'm really holding out for the upgrades and ability to buy the Tesla towers and Dark Elixir items such as the Barbarian King or Archer Queen.

Whilst playing this 2 other apps came across my screen when flicking through the App Store, one which i've held off playing due to the hype around it, Candy Crush, and the second was Airport City.

Candy Crush is one of those games which is so damn addictive yet it makes you wish you could poke out your eyes due to the increasing frustration that it provides due to a) running out of lives & b) sitting on one level for weeks on end...

There is the cheer and satisfaction though when you do finally pass a level, even better when you quickly follow up with multiple level movements...

Candy Crush is designed to test the mind, there is always those moves that you make that you wish had a undo button handy as you see another way which would have worked better - the other element also is linking via Facebook. Whilst linked you get the priviledge of knowing one or more of your friends are well passed you and some over level 350! All this while hanging on levels below 65...

After 3 and a half weeks of sitting on level 65 I finally passed it last night with 18 moves to go, the house shook and wife woke as I roared with relief as finally, I passed 65! All to then find out I have to wait a day to move to next level...

Airport City is a airport simulation game which allows you to build a city with an airport closeby then tempt you into sending flights and upgrading everything in the attempt to retrieve items from each collection of passengers, or, on planes returning from hour long flights to Bali!

This game has its moments too, it allows you to build up and own up to 3 or 4 planes early on but is limited on what you can do in terms of expanding your city unless you spend actual $$'s on cash to spend to do it..

Right now i'm stuck with no cash to expand my city and can't save $$'s up to buy the upgrade as i'm limited in the amount of buildings. The other issue I dislike also is the fact that part of your map is taken up by forrest's which can't be bulldosed or built on... Buildings also must have a road attached and cannot be built out the back of your car yard...

Overall each app/game has its own unique way of drawing you into playing more, I love playing all three but as is the case with most apps, something will come along soon to take its place if its more appealing or offers more..

If I was to rate each App i'd give them the following:

Hay Day - 5 out of 10 (Too much repitition, game lacks extra things to do despite the recent addition of the fishing side)
Footy Coach - 4 out of 10 (Way too long waiting to play a game of football, very hard to start with as no real direction on how to play and in the end became boring waiting for games to play)
Clash of Clans - 7 out of 10 (Great game just lacking that whole Multiplayer Co-op mode)
Candy Crush - 7 out of 10 (Highly addictive and frustrating yet hard to turn your back on...)
Airport City - 5 & 1/2 out of 10 (Ok game but just lacks that ease to build your city to great lengths without spending real money on!)

So thats my review, hope its been useful but if I was to recommend anything it would be to try the above apps and decide for yourself, not everything I like will be the same as the next person...



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sustainability & Recycling Ideas

Hi All,

Well recently I started looking at different ways our family can work with the environment rather than always buying new things to use!
I stumbled upon this website while surfing via Facebook:

The owner of the site, Fern, shows some really interesting ideas for re-using items as simple as an old timber pallet and turning it into a real garden feature!

Please check her website out as I can take no credit for this idea, this article is more so to bring awareness to the idea and demonstrate how my family and I created our pallet!

Heres a list of things you'll need to get your pallet going:

1 Timber Pallet
1 Roll of Weed Matt
1 Roll of Sandpaper (Medium course)
1 Staple Gun with plenty of staples
5 Bags of 25L soil
10 - 15 punnets of plants

So, Step 1 is basically get your hands on a timber pallet, there are usually heaps lying around in nearly every suburb you drive through. I noticed this morning nearly all businesses have a pile out the back and you will also find one or two out the front of houses if someone has recently renovated...

Try and find a nice one but if possible one which has thinner wood than most heavy duty ones, you'll thank me later as the weight of these once soil added is huge!

Step 2, once you've lugged it home you need to nicen it up a bit with a solid sanding, my view on this one was the idea that little children can be involved so try and round off the edges, sand back any bits sticking out that could give off some nasty splinters and fix up any big bits that have come off.

Step 3, this bits easier, take out the weed matt and place it over the pallet, have enough extra on the sides as this can either be doubled up or trimmed off later. For extra durabilty we decided to double ours up on the edges just to make sure.

Once you've stapled them in, just run over all the staples with a hammer to make sure they're all in fully!

Step 4, lay down the pallet and proceed to add fill with soil, remember you need to make sure you pack soil at the bottom and top of each railing, pack it in really tight once plants are added to ensure the soil doesn't all drop out.

Step 5, the fun part! With the soil already added part the middle of each row to create a channel for you to add the plants, for ours, we managed to get our hands on super cheap punnets of flowers for only $1.50 each so we ended up buying 24 of them which helped give it an already established look.

Step 6, once the plants have been added now pay particular attention to filling the gaps up with soil, with a spare mini bucket add clumps of soil around the outside and inbetween plants and press it in firmly - this will help ensure that the plants and soil don't dislodge when you stand it up.

Step 7, give your new plants/pallet garden a thorough drenching! New plants love a big drink once they've been added to new soil and new surroundings so fill the water container up 3 or 4 times and drench it!

Now Step 8 is really up to you when you do it, stand up your pallet and attach to wall via bolts/brackets if thats how you intend to use it.

Myself, and I believe Fern via her website did also, couldn't resist and stood ours up not long after the drenching - I was too eager to see how it looks..

Must say, the sheer weight of my pallet was immense and I struggled to move it against our shed! So make sure you have two people to move the pallet and help you secure it.

I found this to be a really enjoyable little venture, it was fun to do and the kids loved helping too! This is a really family friendly thing you can do, it not only gets the kids outdoors and active but teaches them to think outside the square and see what you can create out of items which are usually discarded!

My boy Noah helped me throughout the whole process, my younger daughter Mia more so got involved with the planting side. I think this is a great venture schools and childcare centres should look to adopt, my only concern with it is the weight, so if anyone out there is considering doing this please make careful consideration to how you will use it after its finished. If its to be a feature against a wall standing up you must look at bolting it or some other way to ensure this can't fall over - the sheer weight would seriously harm a child or kill them if it landed on them! I'm definately no expert in this side of things so would consult a tradey or even pop down to your local Bunnings as i'm sure their team of experts will guide you!

Mine is placed nicely on a slant, my kids are big enough now to know not to climb or pull it over however I wouldn't recommend every do this if kids under the age of 6 are present..

With that in mind I still think this is a great, fun, environmentally friendly venture anyone can do! The pallet can be loaded with your favourite plants, or, whack a heap of herbs and veggies in there to grow fresh consumables!

Here's a list of the plants I used in the trenches:

  • Pussycat
  • Masterpiece
  • Caribbean Sunrise
  • Priscilla
  • Breaking Dawn
  • Space Crystals
  • Harbour Lights
  • Babyface

Dianthus - Gemfire

Once it was stood up and against the shed I originally just had some potts sitting on the top as I was experiencing soil loss on the top level, I found some gutter mesh I had left over in the shed so added that to see if this would stop the soil running and dropping out - worked a treat!

So with the soil now sitting nicely I added some Brussel Sprouts, Snow Pea and a couple of other small flowering plants (Can't remember their names...). With any luck we will get some yummy sprouts!

The first pallet cost me approx $60 but some of the items such as Weed Matt, Sandpaper and Staple gun can be used for multiple pallets - i'm hoping to get around 3 more pallets out of the initial purchase.

Give it a go and please share your experience and if you rate this as a good venture to do or get your children involved with! The beauty of the pallet transformation is you don't have to stand it up! This can also be used as a new veggie patch laying down instead of digging out one and fencing it off!