This one didn't go at all to script. Fremantle won their first 9 games on the trot and were tipped to win this one. One of their champions Michael Johnson was playing his 200th game, they were going to set a record of consecutive club wins. Nat Fyfe was in Brownlow medal winning form and giant ruck man Aaron Sandilands was unbeatable in the middle of the ground. It was also being played at their home ground of Domain Stadium, the so called House of Pain.
That's not to say the Tigers were without hope. They were on a 3 match winning streak. No significant injuries, a ton of belief, a fairly good recent record against Fremantle and no fear of the venue, plus they had a break afterwards with the bye. Others have also observed that Richmond tend to be at their best when they have nothing to lose, and this was one of those games.
I actually like Friday night games because they get it all over and done with early. You know right from the start whether you're going to be happy over the weekend with the win or rather solemn after a loss. The downside is that there's a whole weekend of football to come, especially this weekend, with the Queens Birthday Monday public holiday, and your game tends to get lost in the shuffle when they review everything after the round.
The opening term from Richmond was about as astonishing a thing as I could ever hope to see. From the opening bounce the Tigers went on a rampage, and they had 6 goals on the board before the Dockers had even blinked, they did manage to score 3 for the term, but it looked pretty poor against our 8. Plus the 200 gamer Michael Johnson was on the bench and wearing the red vest with a leg injury.
As expected the Dockers did hit back hard, but we held them at bay for the second quarter, the lead got out to 8 goals at one point. The 3rd was, as has become common, our worst for the game, but the first quarter had set us up for a big one in the last and we held Fremantle when they came at us, running out with a 27 point upset.
Everyone is now wondering what happened at the start of the season when Richmond lost games to the likes of the Western Bulldogs (fallen in an enormous hole, as I expected them to) and Melbourne (playing like the rabble that they are). They're also asking is this the real deal? It's gone on for 4 consecutive matches I suspect it may be.
As a closer I'd like to discuss clash jumpers. This is ours:
It could be worse I guess, it's just our colours reversed. It could be Essendon's which is horrible, or we could be like St Kilda, who can't seem to decide which version they like the most and seem to change it all the time. My main issue is why do we need a clash strip? Who exactly do we clash with? The only two teams that realistically clash in the AFL are Collingwood and North Melbourne. Clash strips are a giant rort by the AFL to gouge cash out of people for alternative jumpers. Years ago no one had any difficulty telling the teams apart on the field, not even the Pies and the Roos, that was because one wore black shorts and one wore white shorts, but you can't make a lot of money out of selling black and white shorts. We were told it would only be when there was a genuine clash, maybe once a year. We've worn it against Port Adelaide and now Fremantle. I fail to see how no one can tell the difference between teal, white and black and yellow and black or purple and white and yellow and black. I give it a few years and we'll be wearing it every other game.