Thursday, September 19, 2013

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

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

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

Fans Leaving Messages for the players prior to game

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crossing the bridge to Adelaide Airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shane Tuck - The Legend

Now I want to dedicate the one article to the great man that is, Shane Tuck or Tucky as most of the fans like to call him.

Tucky for me was one of the most underrated players in the Richmond outfit, over his years at the club he's had to time after time prove his value and for me has worked the hardest in some time to constantly show why he is as great as he is!

Shane began his career with the Dandenong Stingrays where he showed early his ability to get the hard ball gets - was on the watchful eye of Hawthorn Footy Club under the father son rule and was added to their rookie list in 2000. He spent many years on there playing in the 2's but couldn't quite catch a break and was finally delisted by them in 2002 and moved over here to Adelaide in 2003 to play a season with West Adelaide.

All reports in that year pointed to a much rejuvenated player who had learnt a great deal under then coach Shaun Rehn, Rehn had huge raps for Tucky. News spread and the Tiger scouts sent report after report of a son of a gun ready to be drafted.

In the 2003 National Draft finally, Tucky was reborn taken with Pick 73 by the Richmond Tigers. In my humble opinion, its one of their better selections i've seen in the last 13 years. We've seen some real spuds selected even higher than Pick 73 and its always a real delight when someone low in the order comes out as good as Tucky.

Shane made his debut in Round 14 of the 2004 season up at the Gabba against the Lions, sadly he would only play 2 more games that year as the Tigers also struggled. The club shortlisted Tuck as one of two players to retain for the next season - it came down to Tucky and Tim Fleming, as Tucky was only 22 the club took the punt and re-signed him, best decision!

In 2005 he played all 22 games for the Tigers, in Round 9 against Brisbane he amassed a career high 31 disposals including 22 kicks. He would now go on to play 104 consecutive games between Round 1 of 2005 & Round 16 2009.

To top off his transformation as one of the clubs best ball getters, Tucky received the Tigers Best Clubman award and finished 3rd in the Best & Fairest for 2005. He had also started to receive a big following...

Sadly, Like some of our greats like Richo, success at Tigerland didn't come in droves like other teams constantly in the finals like your Collingwoods and Hawthorns...

Tucky's tenure at the club has been at the foremost of discussions and controversy for many seasons now, on several occassions Tucky was sent back to the 2's for a number of reasons, at times his disposal could let him down and he would fall out of favour.

2011 was the moment we all worried for his future, he only played a 10 games and fell right out of favour with new coach Damien Hardwick, from what I understand Tucky was issued an ultimatum to prove his worth, learn from mistakes and implement in the 2's. He returned in the final 5 games and proved his worth, a big preseason helped us witness the resurgent Tuck and he ended up playing 22 games and racking up the posessions! Again the Tigers would miss the finals but the signs were there it would not be far off.

2013, the season the fans, the media and the rest of the footy public saw as the year the Tigers would break their long finals drought and players like Shane Tuck would finally get their taste!

Tucky started this year well and was a constant addition in the clubs starting 22 however it was the Port Adelaide game which would be his letdown, in a tough clash Tucky injured his shoulder badly and moved to the bench.

Most players would have given up and put themselves first, Tucky, not wanting to muck up the teams rotation, returned to the field - in absolute agony. All of us supporters could see it, each time he lifted his shoulder he would grimmace in absolute agony. We felt for him but he earnt big respect from us all in this game, he only ended up with 15 disposals but he would play a pivotal role in the 41 point away win which would help shape our beloved Tigers destiny, of playing Finals Football!

Sadly, Tucky would miss the next 10 games.

To the Tiger faithful came the next announcement, the great man Shane Tuck announced his retirement 2 days before the Round 23 clash with Essendon. To some they weren't suprised, others were shocked thinking he had atleast one more year in him.

The Tigers finished 5th in 2013 and Tucky, along with the majority of the football club, would see their first finals appearance. Sadly however after a strong first half, the boys fell over in the last giving the game to Carlton, an early exit after such a big year. Some will say finals inexperience, some will say poor management on the day. Personally after the pain wears away a bit I'll disect it and put it in another article.

Alot of us stayed and helped clap off Shane in his final walk off the MCG, no carry off by the players just a humble salute as he walked off the ground, sort of fitting considering the man he was - very humble in his approach. As I stood clapping, further tears fell in appreciation of how great he was and how he left an impression on the players, supporters and football followers alike.

My Boy front row @ AAMI Stadium
Shane Tuck to me is a great man, I don't know him personally, I imagine personally he would be a top bloke, very family orientated and always there for mates.

What he did for my family shaped my overall view of him. In 2008 I took my son to the football for the first time, we sat in the members and watched as the Tigers and Port Adelaide matched off against each other @ AAMI Stadium, at 3/4 time we led by 28 points until Port made a spirited fightback - we ended up winning by only 4 points.

It was then as the song was being sung by the crowd that we noticed the players were beginning to spread out and take footballs out to the crowd. I told my boy Noah to stand up and wave your hands to the players on the off chance they come to you.

And that they did, we looked up and Shane Tuck was jogging over, he saw little Noah and you could see who he wanted to give the footy too. He jogged over, handed the footy to my boy and ruffled his hair and said there you go mate. My boy was in shock and couldn't believe it, I couldn't either, his first game, he gets the win and a signed football.

I know it wasn't all Shane, the football club launched this great initiative and its done a hell of a lot for this clubs image. But Shane's gesture of giving it to my boy has gone a long way into ensuring he's a Tiger for Life.

Ever since he's had a real soft spot for Shane Tuck, has leaned to Trent Cotchin as his favourite but always loves watching Shane also. Noah was luckily enough to see Shane again not long after and had his photo with him - we mentioned to him of the lucky night and he was quite happy to chat with Noah (who was a bit shy at that stage hahaha).

I wish we were able to give Shane a better send-off than we did last weekend, when I used to coach I liked referring to players like Shane Tuck and Trent Cotchin. Shane for his hard ball and contested footy, he has a real hard knack of just getting in there and getting the ball on the bottom of the packs, hitting it hard, bouncing off and pushing it forward any means necessary. Junior hard nut players can learn alot from Shane's approach to the game, but also those who doubt themselves or aren't making the regular 22.

Shane has shown that if you listen to your coaches and support around you, you can transform your game to conform with what is required. Training and listening is the key - train hard, work on the minor issues and listen to feedback on your game - don't dismiss people's opinions if they've taken the time to give you constructive criticism.

So - in the end Shane Tuck played 173 games for this great club, overall averaged 23.4 disposals per game and kicked a total of 74 goals.

He leaves the club as one of our top midfielders in a time where everything is looking up at Tigerland, we broke the finals drought and he's paved the way for younger players to step into his mould and lead as he did.

Good luck in your retirement Shane and all the best for your future, thank you for everything you've brought to the club and thank you for your absolute grit and determination which has made you one of the fan favourites.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 - PS3

I was thinking about this last night, why have I not written an article about possibly my most favourite game of all time!

Years ago I was sitting at home playing Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic on my then Xbox when my brother in law asked if I had bought the new Modern Warfare 2 game and played it online. I said no as I have an Xbox and haven't bothered to buy a 12 month access to play online but hadn't really played much of the COD series as yet.

I went down to his place and he showed me the PS3, I did consider getting one as I heard the graphics were better and it had a Blu ray player also but I ended up going with the Xbox for 2 reasons, 1) It was by far cheaper and 2) It had Knights of The Old Republic...

We played Call of Duty Modern Warfare on split screen and online, I asked how much it costs per year for online access and he said... nothing... I stood there like a stunned mullet, nothing??

I loved COD, it was unbelievable - Immediately I was hooked and was now on the hunt for a PS3.

A few months later my Xbox died with a bad lens or something the repair man stated, the cost for the new parts was substantial and thought well why spend the $$'s on something I want to get rid of anyway so immediately began the search for the best available priced PS3.

Luckily it was Xmas and both my boy and I had been good that year so Santa decided he would give us a joint present and delivered us a brand new PS3.

News broke of the next instalment of the COD series was due for release shortly, Modern Warfare (MW) 3, I hadn't even played 2 yet so we immediately bought a copy and began our "Free" online journey.

MW2 was great, I absolutely loved it, so did my son, as we began to play Team Deathmatch religiously for the next few months in the lead up to the release of MW3. My brother in law, at that stage, talked me into using the SCAR-L as the main weapon of choice, I agreed after a few games using it. The makers for me had this as one of the nicest ones to use whilst it calmly stayed on target with hardly any kickback.

Issue for me was the Kills. I had a habit back then of quite simply running into the kill zone and getting killed by much more experienced players, instead of learning the map and learning what way players usually will run to and spawn from.

With our pennies saved up (Aussie $$'s actually...) MW3 was released.

I already loved playing the Campaign of both MW & MW2 and was really looking forward to where the story was going for this one, the thing I love about the COD series is the storyline in which it has moved - I never really got into the Black Ops versions but found MW to be a brilliantly told storyline which I had hoped a filmmaker out there would take note of and have a trilogy brought out!

MW3's storyline was outstanding, starting with the evacuation of MacTavish in Afghanistan, to then help reclaim US states recently occupied by the Russian invasion.

Alot of people could have said the game could be centred around the reclaiming of the US but the developers didn't stop there. The team lead by Captain Price, Yuri, Nikolai & MacTavish go hell bent on tracking down the main cause of all of this devastation, Makarov.

The team journey through the far reaches of the world in their pursuit of Makarov going on tips of his whereabouts as they cross through Sierra Leone, Somalia, Prague & Dubai.

The developers didn't stop here as in true COD nature you also switch players and spend time fighting with Team Metal lead by Sgt Frost whether your in Lower Manhatten helping blow up a Russian Sub, destroying a jamming tower on top of the New York Stock Exchange or fighting for survival in Paris!

The ending is just unreal, 3 months after the war has finished Price, Yuri, and Nikolai finally track down Makarov at the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. Price and Yuri, dressed as Juggernauts, make their way into the hotel and proceed to the top level in pursuit of Makarov just as his helicopter is approaching for escape. As they make their way through the atrium and casino a Little Bird decimates the upper levels of the hotel and as a result both Price & Yuri are badly wounded, Yuri infact is impaled on a metal rod.

Yuri insists Price goes after Makarov and reluctantly he does, Price proceeds to hijack the escape helicopter and kills the pilots - but in the process the controls are damaged forcing it to crash land on the roof where Makarov is waiting. Makarov, just about to end it all for Price is seconds away but is confronted by the badly wounded Yuri who manages to buy time for Price!

Sadly, Makarov is able to defeat and kill Yuri. Yuri's actions and heroic feat was able to give Price enough time to gather himself and wrap a steel cable around his neck. Price then smashes the glass floor under them which kills Makarov!

Price survives the fall and smokes a cigar infront of his corpse.

Brilliant, just absolutely brilliant - it was a joy to play and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. If they don't make a proper movie about this then there's something wrong, a full trilogy or full movie would be brilliant and millions would flock to see it.

But the developers for me really topped the cake with the Multiplayer menu.

Multiplayer allows you to jump online and fight alongside and against other players from all over the world, at any point during the game I am fighting with and against fellow Australians but also could be people from America, Britain, India, Russia, France etc.

At the start you are given basic guns and add on's to help you begin your journey to Level 80. You not only increase your experience but also the weapons too. Each time you reach the next required level for items you can gain cool stuff to add to the guns like a ACOG Sights, Extra Mags, Silencer etc.

Strike Packages also allow you awesome bonuses when you get on a kill streak, you have the option to select Assualt, Support or Specialist.

Assualt requires you to record multiple kills without being killed, with each streak you get too you gain your selected items such as Care Packages, Juggernauts etc.

Support allows you to gain items whilst still being killed, beauty is it doesn't reset after each time you get killed.

Specialist is another which resets after each time you die, so the more experienced and stealth players generally use this - this package gives the player perks for optimum performance.

Once you get to Level 80 you can Prestige, the Prestige allows you to reset back to Level 1 but use a token each time to buy items to keep going forward. So if your a big fan of a certain weapon you can use your token to buy it to use once you've Prestiged.

As far as I'm aware there is no set limit on the amount of times you Prestige, currently I think we've Prestiged 12 times and have racked up a heap of cool weapons to use.

The Maps that the developers have added are just awesome too, the original Maps contain differing levels for each type of player. Some Maps are awesome if you prefer Sniping or running through with Akimbo machine pistols for quick kills like in Hardhat.

My favourite Maps right now are Hardhat, Seatown, Terminal and Dome. Hardhat & Dome I love running through with Akimbo machine pistols and an MP7 - these maps are generally where I rack up more kills than others as I tend to go hard in getting kills. Seatown & Terminal I tend to be a bit more reserved as I prefer to use my Sniper rifle and see how I can go without getting killed as much.

There is a plethora of different ways in which you can play the Multiplayer Maps, through the basic games such as Team Deathmatch, Team Defender, Domination or you can join the Hardened Menu's and take on the elite.

It also gives you a zombie type game called Infected, at the start of each game the countdown will begin to chose who will be the first infected, players are given set weapons and the first infected keeps that weapon selection to enable them to infect one player to even up the playing field. Infected can be great fun and the games can be quite quick as the infected bolt through with extraordinary speed to knife the unsuspecting victims but it can also be super slow, especially when its Striker v Jugg... throw in Dome and you've got 10 - 15 players all camping up on top of the Dome in Jugg outfits whilst you try like crazy to get up and kill them... Not the easiest of tasks and can be boring if you get it continually...

For me I love having sessions of Team Deathmatch and Domination, there you can either go your own pace like on TD or capture bases on Domination then slaughter the opposition whilst you attempt to hold the base.

Using the headset can be a fun feature, especially if you have a group of friends your keen to chat too, good way to catch up whilst also having fun playing this awesome game. It can have its downside also however, there are alot of extremely rude, arrogant and disrespectful people out there. And even when you report them for Abusive language or something similar nothing seems to happen.

In the end we mostly just mute players now and don't use the headset anymore, just not worth getting in an arguement with a player from the US just because they got upset for being killed hahaha.

One thing I would love the developers to do is to create an extra menu for Multiplayer to put players off against each other Nation versus Nation. Not a daily thing but even like a Fortnightly or Monthly thing, let players sign up for their Nation and allow their points, kills etc to be applied to an overall tally and see which Nation is the best COD players for that period.

Doesn't have to be exactly like this but something similar would be awesome. It's not a compulsory item but a nice addition just to keep everyone interested.

Not that that will be a concern, since I bought the game this is all I have pretty much played. Briefly we will play MLB The Show, AFL Live, FIFA and maybe The Walking Dead. But they are usually brief and a session of COD is always on the cards.

Either way I'm sure once you play this game for the first time it'll be one of those games you just can't turn away from!

I've used photos from the COD website however will try and jump back in at a later date and get some screenshots from my COD login!

I'm going to leave this now and get back to my next session of COD - hope to all see you on there at some stage - look out for me - Bo_Gas.

Richmond Tigers - Rounds 22 - 23

Hi All,

Well I intended on seperate articles for the two rounds however was very sick last week with the flu and barely moved from the couch at all...

Lets get started with Round 22 with the trip to Sydney to tackle GWS:

Shameful to say this I was a little worried heading to GWS for this game, not sure why in the end but thought geez we could be in danger - 2 and a bit hours later I knew that was a complete laugh. Actually prob 40 minutes in...

I was really pleased to see Aaron Edwards get another chance, he is a real force to have on our side as the third scoring option - I think he needs to be a regular if we are to be a team to go further in the finals than just the first round.

GWS to their credit started well getting some good score on the board early, but that was about it for the rest of the game, a good start and then fell apart from there.

Jeremy Cameron is touted as one of the best forwards in the game, only young too, any team in their right mind would go for him - I really hope he's a Tiger one day! Sitting not far from the potential Coleman Medal - Alex Rance has his work cut out for him.

By quarter time the Tigers held the lead by 10 points but the signs were there they were about to unleash.

And Unleash they did! They massed a huge 11 goal term for the 2nd quarter with Aaron Edwards amongst the goal kickers as the Tigers pushed out to an 80 point lead.

GWS put on 3 goals during the 3rd quarter but it was by far not enough as the Tigers added another 10 goals in the last half to secure a 121 point win, one of their biggest and best. Ok its against GWS but it was the way the Tigers controlled the ball in every area of the ground that was the noticeable factor.

Alex Rance was superb down back keeping one of the Coleman favourites goalless, Troy Chaplin was his partner in crime taking many marks down back and rebounding nicely. Dusty Martin, off the back of one of his worst games as a Tiger put in a real solid effort and for most was best on ground, Ellis and Conca were great in patches.

For me it was the emergence of Aaron Edwards, 5 goals but looked ominous up forward - as I said earlier, he will be a great addition heading into finals.

Cotch was subbed off in the 3rd quarter which was a wise move, why risk the captain when we are so far infront...

Best for me was Rance, Martin, Conca & Edwards

Really, most will agree, the Tigers weren't in full flight, most of the time they moved the ball around slowly like a training drill. It looked very half pace at times as they moved the ball with ease - almost resembling a circle work drill we do at trainings!

Final Scores:

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.0 3.1 6.4 6.6 (42)

RICHMOND 4.4 15.9 19.10 25.13 (163)


Greater Western Sydney: Jaksch, Greene, Sumner, Shiel, Scully, Adams

Richmond: A.Edwards 5, Conca 3, Ellis 3, Vickery 2, Houli 2, Grigg 2, Maric 2, Petterd 2, Morris, Riewoldt, S.Edwards, King


Greater Western Sydney: Adams, Scully, Shiel, Tomlinson

Richmond: Martin, Conca, Grigg, Houli, Maric, Edwards, Rance, Chaplin, Vickery


Greater Western Sydney: Liam Sumner (Achilles)

Richmond: Nil

Official crowd: 12,314 at Skoda Stadium

Round 23 - Richmond v Essendon
This week the Tigers took on the much talked about Essendon team, the Bombers are satcherated in the media and everything social media with the Drugs controversy, In the end the AFL handed down a rather small punishment compared to what most were expecting.

No finals, $2m fine and some other small smacks over the backside. Hird is out for 12 months but in true AFL fashion they went soft, allowing him to coach if they make the finals in 2014. Noticeable thing was Hird is not banned from the club like they did to Trigg from the Crows.

What annoys me is Watson retained his Brownlow despite his admissions and the fact the AFL had evidence of the drugs used the year he won it. To me, he should have been stripped.

Demetriou's involvement too seems to have been whiped clean as the head with his exorborant salary gets out of jail, one might think the early plea allowed him to miss any information being released should it all go to court... Early acceptance by the Bombers looks to have kept him in his job, despite the poor performance he has had since his early tenure.

Ok enough of the Bombers and the sad state they are in.

Tigers were favourites which for me was suprising considering the Tigers were easing their way towards September and the Bombers still had alot to play for, respect.

But from the start of the game the Tigers controlled the ball, adding early goals and capitalising on poor turnovers and kicking for goal by Essendon, one missing from inside the goal square...

The Tigers however did enough to control the game and take charge in their way, not the Bombers. However the controlling environment made it for a scrappy event with the scoreboard not ticking over as much as the crowd anticipated.

The game opened up in the 3rd with the Tigers kicking 6 goals to the Bombers reply of only 3, the big winner though was Daniel Jackson and Dusty Martin, they were both fantastic in the 3rd amassing possessions and dominating their opposition players.

The third quarter also brought in the crowd favourite, Shane Tuck, who earlier had announced his retirement of AFL, hopefully this was his decision and not the clubs as Tucky, in my mind, could play another 2 years easily! He has been a favourite of our house for some time and all the supporters love him.

Over the coming weeks I'm going to put together a piece on Shane - also what he meant to my boy Noah!

The loss however was the hamstring injury of Matt White, Matty has his favourites in the Tiger army and he's had his doubters, I'll admit - I was one of the doubters at the start of the year and even suggested he should be trade. I'm happy to admit when I'm wrong.

Vickery was instrumental in the 3rd bagging three goals and really making problems up forward, it's good to see his is showing his value as alot of Tiger supporters around the traps tout him as the next Brad Ottens and one of our key players for the future.

With the siren going the Tigers went to the three quarter time huddle with a nice lead of 37 points, should probably be up by more though..

Being up by 37 I half expected the Tigers to apply the brakes and cruise to a victory but there was still a bit of fight left in both teams, Daniel Jackson and Jake King being the instigators, Jacko copping a knock from Melsham and the claret began to spill.

Edwards knocked in his 4th for the game giving him 9 in the last two games, lets hope this is enough to see him in the game against Carlton!

All in all it was a great game, Tigers, who most of us wouldn't have been dissapointed with the loss, came out on top by 39 Points. Edwards & Vickery were superb up forward kicking 4 a piece, whilst no Riewoldt.. Brandon Ellis was again showing how far he's come this year racking up 35 disposals, Jacko, who alot tip will be the Tiger Best & Fairest this year was also extremly valuable with 30 disposals and 2 great goals! Cotch, Martin & Deledio were all great collecting in the high 20's for disposals but were also instrumental in the midfield domination.

ESSENDON     2.4   3.6      5.8      9.11  (65)
RICHMOND      4.1   5.6   11.9    15.14 (104)

Melksham 2, Jetta 2, Hurley 2, Lovett-Murray, Howlett, Dalgleish
Richmond: Vickery 4, A. Edwards 4, Jackson 2, King 2, Martin, Grigg, Tuck

Melksham, Hurley, Stanton, Hibberd, Lovett-Murray
Richmond: Jackson, Ellis, A. Edwards, Vickery, Martin
Official crowd: 60,979 at the MCG

Well, we now look to our first Final in 12 years, as I write this now the shivers down my spine, slight tear in the eye and nerves as we prepare for Carlton on Sunday at the home of football, the MCG.

Crowd expecting to be above 90,000 and near capacity, here's hoping the Tiger Army is in full roar and the weather god's bless us with a beautiful sunny afternoon!