July 19, 2010By Steve Healy
July 19, 2010By Steve Healy
Richmond vs North Melbourne...
ADMITTEDLY, this was an average game of footy. I was hoping for a good, close game, something akin to the last time these two teams played, which was also round 16 last year. But it was much of a one-sided affair from quarter time onwards. It wasn’t the fierce, contested game that you get in most wet-weather matches. It was a blow out, the Roos played the game on their own terms while the Tigers came crashing back down to earth, as if it were synchronised with the rain itself
It is always strange going to a neutral game, you don’t get that same feeling you get if your team is playing, but it’s still interesting to observe the other supporters and their ways. But I wasn’t there for all of that nonsense; I was there to meet friends Josh (North), Michael (Richmond) and Adam (Richmond) and watch a good game of footy between two sides, who would be evenly matched, judging on recent form. I arrived into the MCG, third row in the wing. The rain soon started tumbling down and for not the first time of the year I had the feeling that the rain was following me to the footy. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop and it gradually got colder and wetter.
The first quarter was probably the best of the match; tight, contested and low scoring footy. It was made more enjoyable by the fact that the others were dazzled by my knowledge of the names of the umpires. Ben Cousins had a dozen possessions and Deledio 10 in a quarter that contained many dropped marks and fumbled possessions. Jake King kicked the first goal of the match, and sat in the forward 50 as a defensive forward. Adams replied for the Roos, who is normally a fringe player but after today’s performance could be a star in the making. Nathan Grima’s influence on Jack Riewoldt was haunting for the Richmond spearhead, who only managed to toe-poke through a behind with his two first quarter possessions, and seemed to be spoiled at the majority of contests. Firrito marked and kicked a magnificent goal, from where the fifty metre line and the boundary line meet. Siren, Roos by five, two goals to one in the first term.
One minute into the second term, Riewoldt got loose, marked and drilled a goal. You’d think that’d be uplifting for the Tigers, but it was really anything but. Cotchin also smashed into Sam Wright, which could the Tiger in a bit of trouble. As a direct result of that incident, a 50 was given and Harvey nailed a goal. Adams kicked his second, Goldstein also kicked one from a set shot, as I made a point about how much he had improved this season. The Tigers’ faithful were getting restless, complaining about every umpiring decision. However, Collins nailed a goal, as did Riewoldt, a perfect drop punt from the boundary line. Swallow was starring for the Roos. He gave off a mark to Wells, who missed, but he kicked his own goal and had a heap of the ball in the second term. The Roos found themselves 14 points ahead, and seemed to have a massive psychological edge over the Tigers, who weren’t showing much of their recent form.
The third quarter was a blow-out. Wells kicked a goal, as did Pratt and Hansen. The Roos were using the central corridor on every occasion and where getting their hands on the ball first. They were kicking goals from everywhere, even in these conditions and with a slippery ball. Richmond’s only score for the quarter came as a result of a snap into the woodwork from Riewoldt. As the Yellow-and-Black supporters filled the aisles and left, the Roos’ faithful rubbed their eyes as Matt Campbell kicked two good goals in succession to lead the Roos to a 46-point lead at three quarter time. Adam and Michael were speechless; the latter had to leave which suited him.
Luke McGuane was thrown forward and immediately kicked a goal, the third of his career. Urquhart got a free at the other end, and kicked the second of his career. Richmond’s decent effort of breaking even with last-quarter possession meant nothing. They were still allowing a lot of space in their defence, as they had done all day, which is how Ben Warren kicked the last goal of the match. The final score stood at 7.11 (53) to 15.13 (103). Adam left immediately; Josh had already left to meet his group from Waaia, and was probably basking in the glory of having attended five North Melbourne games this year for as many wins. I was soaked; I couldn’t wait to get home. The Kangaroos were magnificent on an average day in Melbourne.
Richmond 1.5 4.7 4.8 7.11 (53)
North Melbourne 2.4 6.9 11.12 15.13 (103)
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, McGuane, Nahas, Collins, King.
North Melbourne: Adams 3, Hansen 2, Campbell 2, Swallow, Harvey, Warren, Pratt, Wells, Urquhart, Firrito, Goldstein.
Richmond: Cousins, Connors, Deledio.
North Melbourne: Grima, Adams, Swallow, Campbell, Wells, Hansen, Goldstein.
My Votes: 3. Nathan Grima (NM), 2. Leigh Adams (NM), 1. Andrew Swallow (NM).
Umpires: Stevic, Meredith, Mollison (I know all their names)
Crowd: 42,723 at the MCG.
•Brent Harvey of North Melbourne jumps over Chris Newman of Richmond in chase of the football during the AFL round 16 match at the MCG. Photo by Darrian Traynor. The Slattery Media Group