Every year the AFL has an Indigenous Round. It celebrates the role that indigenous players have played in the game and in wider society. Every team features an indigenous component in their playing strip as well. The showpiece of the round is a match between the two old rivals Essendon and Richmond. It's generally played on the Saturday night, and has been called Dreamtime at the G. The Dreamtime game was the brainchild of former Richmond premiership player and Essendon premiership coach Kevin Sheedy. Sheedy was a great champion of indigenous players.
Just like last week against Port Adelaide this game was also a tribute to a great player from the opposition. It was defender Dustin Fletcher's 400th game. He's only the 3rd player in history (the other two are Richmond's Kevin Bartlett and Hawthorn's Michael Tuck) to reach this milestone, so it's quite an achievement and worthy of celebration.
Unlike the Port Adelaide game Richmond were favourites to win. In some ways that's actually a disadvantage. For some reason the Tigers seem to get nervous when they're favourites to win and play accordingly.
This night was somehow different. The team was quite settled. The only change was the injured Ty Vickery out for the tall, young forward Liam McBean. Conor Menadue also started on the ground and Corey Ellis donned the sub's vest.
Richmond started well and scored 3 goals for the quarter, 2 of them from skipper Trent Cotchin. The Bombers had gone down their end plenty of times, but weren't hitting the scoreboard, they'd kicked more points than goals.
The Tigers led the Bombers on the scoreboard and everywhere around the field for most of the night. The Bombers came back hard in the 3rd quarter, cutting Richmond's lead to 1 point at one stage, but Richmond steadied and extended it to 8 points by the final break.
I think that took a lot of the wind our of Essendon's sails, and they never really looked likely from that point on. They did try, but just didn't have it in them. Richmond were two goals ahead, and there was still time, but when Jack Riewoldt kicked a point to make it 13 points and requiring 3 accurate shots from the Bombers to win the game, that was it.
As the picture says, Dreamtime is Tiger Time.