Back to earth with a big thud after the euphoria of the win against the all conquering Hawks. In some seasons the win against Hawthorn would have been seen as an oddity. The underdog in the Tigers bites back and takes out the reigning Premiers, but Richmond have done that too many times this year (beat Fremantle in the West, came back from 32 points down against the Swans at the SCG, and there are others like the first win against Collingwood in donkey's years and beating Port over there when they were still contenders) for that to be the case realistically.
So which is Richmond in 2015? The side that beat those contenders and pretenders or the one that meekly surrendered to the Crows with most of it's better players all having an off night. I think it's the former, but then again I'm a lifelong fan.
When Brett Deledio couldn't take his spot due to a bad case of the flu, I knew we were in trouble.
A virus means this guy has a rare missed game.
Lids is like a talisman. The win loss ratio with and without him is extraordinary. It's skewed a bit by how durable he is. Up until the achilles injury last year, he'd played more than 100 consecutive games, he held the record for currently playing players, he may still have it actually. He did however kick 4 goals against the Hawks and he's generally good for at least one or two a game, not to mention how many he actually creates for others, or the fact that the opposition have to use a good player to man up against him.
Our fantastic defence in 2015 has masked the fact that we don't kick many goals and when you take out scorers like Deledio and add them to the absence of Shane Edwards it hurts the side's chances.
However you don't expect a large chunk of the side to have an off night because one bloke is out. We lost in 2 areas that up until that night we were ranked #2 and #4 in the AFL for. So what happened?
I think it was this:
Lids missed because of it, and it's a credible explanation for why so many of his team mates simply weren't up to it on the night. You don't suddenly turn around form like that, not when it's been a largely season long thing. It did however put us in a dicey situation with finals fast approaching.
We're on 11 wins with an okay percentage. We have 3 very winnable games, which will give us 14 wins and even if our percentage is crap, no side who wins 14 games is going to miss out on finals. For some reason everyone sees the final game against North as a problem, yes we haven't beaten them since 2011, but we generally only play them once a year, and they're not a bogeyman. They are an average side with a below average coach and they can count themselves lucky if they end up in the 8 at the end of the season. Before we play them, though we have to win the games against 3 lower sides and that starts with the Gold Coast this weekend.
We've only beaten them once, but they're having the season from hell, they've never played us in Melbourne and I think plenty of the Richmond boys will be keen to take out their frustration on the Suns come Sunday. Lids will be back, too.