Hello you wild Mongrel gang.

This is our third Grand Final, and gee it’s a late one. I’m not too happy about this night game business, since I’m writing this very close to 12am, a good three hours past my preferred bedtime.

But, I’m an old hand at this by now so it shouldn’t be too rough. I know all about football, from marks to goals and points. I know about banana kicks and also that men in the ruck are usually the tallest. I’m pretty much on par with the guys on Fox. Except I don’t wear those weird linen-ish blue jackets that they are so fond of.

I’m aware that St Kilda and the Suns did NOT make the grand final, shattering my dreams and hopes. Apparently the Dees also didn’t get a look in. Not sure how this happened really. The Tigers and the Cats are on, which is fine, the colours are different enough that I won’t get annoyed, and since Richmond played last year, in theory I should know a few players.

Who am I going for? Last year I was literally only barracking for Pendleton (She means Pendlebury – HB). One man against the AFL world. This year, I am struggling. I had to ask HB if I have a favourite Richmond or Geelong player.

He reminded me that I like Selwood. I forgot about him. He looks like a sweet puppy dog and also has excellent guns. But I also like Houli. He seems like a top-notch kind of guy, always doing good deeds. I feel like I should pick a side, because I hear that in the sports world it’s a bit looked down upon to just be a fence sitter. I asked HB who my favourite Mongrel writers are supporting, and he was useless. He had no idea. Which is ridiculous since he had JUST written a little prediction article with all their forecasts!

I’m going to support the Tigers. This is based entirely on the fact that they had a ten year plan and somehow managed to achieve it. I quite literally DREAM of working for a place that has a solid vision and ten-year plan. We sure don’t. And to actually get there? Holy shit.

But that’s enough pre-rubbish rubbish. Let’s start the review. On screen is a betting ad that has a mashup of Gary Ablett and Dustin Martin. That face will haunt my dreams – it’s a bag of nightmares just waiting for the lights to go out. Is someone at the betting place on their final week of work or something? Just playing pranks and cocking things up?

Good to know that the night is off to such a typical 2020 start.

Ooohh. Danger just had his Ventolin out. I have a mega soft spot for asthmatics and their wheezing ways. I’m conflicted about my support again.

Nope, I’m back to the Tigers. HB just reminded me that Tom Lynch went over and was nice to a crying Port Adelaide kid after Port lost. That got me. That was his Toby Greene moment (for those not in the loop, Greene took his mum to the Brownlow, thus winning me over for all eternity).

Ok, everyone is finally lined up and ready to go. Joel Selwood has a split lip. What’s that about? Someone tried to steal his kibble maybe.

Geelong always seems to come out onto the ground looking very slippery and oily. It’s a little bit pornographic. I’m not saying I do or don’t like it, just that it’s extremely noticeable and shiny (I do like it, it’s brilliant).

Right, the first quarter has started. Not much is going on (to my trained eye), but gee it’s weird to hear a full crowd. Good, but weird.

First exciting moment – Blicavs almost lost his pants in a wild tackle. We need an eagle eyed Mongrel to go out and make a best-of for all the pants and shirts that lose their way during the season.

Oh wow. Vlaustin AND Ablett are both hurt, Ablett is walking off wincing. Vlastuin is just OUT. Poor bugger had someone try to burn down his house last night too. Honestly, what an absolute bonkers thing to do.

I asked HB who is more important, Ablett or Vlaustin. I expected him to say Ablett, but he didn’t. He said that having Vlaustin out is a huge loss for Richmond. I asked HB if Danger would feel bad, but he said that premierships tend to wallpaper over things. Also, contact happens.

Not in Victoria it doesn’t.

The two coaches are looking absolutely horrified.

HB is watching the stretcher mobile, and tells me that one of my favourites, Smiley Joe (Brad Johnston), once got run over by one. Out for four weeks apparently.

The game is on again. Tom Stewart just did a rock star slide to take a mark. Very slick. Made my knees hurt just watching it. Though I’m probably a decade or more older than him, so it doesn’t take much to make my knees hurt.

Ha, the commentator just said “needs more spread”. I’d make a dirty joke to HB, but he’s busy writing the real review. He didn’t even respond when I asked if he wanted another pie. Unheard of.

Menegola did a few fancy moves and Hawkins ends up with the ball. I’m kind of pleased for them, but then he misses and gets a point.

The fellas are really throwing their bodies at this. The game has a desperate air to it already. Jack Graham tackles Dangerfield, and Danger gets a free kick. I’m going to say it, Graham has a real potty mouth. Any fool could read lips well enough to see the foul language coming out. Harness that rage Jack! Don’t swear it away!

Ablett is back, and the Cats fans are losing their minds.  HB says he probably had an injection to make his shoulder feel ok. Kind of wish I could get some of those.

Prestia gets the first goal for the Tigers. Apparently the team to kick the first goal has lost the game for the last six years. Superstitions don’t fly in this household – our kid opens umbrellas indoors more than she does outside.

Whoa. Second goal for the Tigers, in rather quick succession. HB isn’t happy about the ads on tv. They seem to pop up every time there’s a goal? Foxtel and Disney+ has made him spoilt.

Nathan Broad is now hurt. This is a real bit of silly business. Looks like Dangerfield did it again. He’s just like an 8-year-old – all knees and elbows.

Guthrie has kicked a goal for Geelong. I think I’m going to have to stop using players names, because I think HB is getting peeved at me constantly asking ‘who’s that?’ and ‘yeah, but who’s the other guy?’ You would think, that after three years I would have some idea, but when it comes to sports I am a very shallow person and unless they are a looker or do particularly nice and noteworthy things then I have no clue.

Ok, some dickheads have run onto the ground. What on earth are they doing? How much do they get fined? HB says it’s around the $10000 mark. Apparently it’s two YouTubers. Imagine finding out that your son disrupted a sports match (one that most of the nation is looking forward to, in this shitty year) to plug his YouTube comedy channel. It doesn’t matter how lucrative it is, I reckon you’d still die a bit inside. At least, I would.

HB’s daughter just said ‘the Queenslanders are just excited, they will never get the Grand Final again’. Well, that’s probably true but they might also not get Covid again, so there’s that.

Ok, I think the interlopers have been rounded up and hopefully hogtied. We can restart the game and move on.

There’s a bit of ‘soccer’ desperation here. The amount of guys that just do a frantic ground kick is remarkable. It always looks a little bit like the player is going to break their ankle or pop a knee when they do that, and they scrunch their faces up until they have no chin. Remarkable.

Something wonderful just happened. There should be an award for the dumbest tackle. Some guy just did what I’m going to call a koala snug. He clung to his opponent like a koala loving on his favourite tree.

Right, so it’s time for the second quarter. I’m feeling the same way I do when I’m in a long meeting, and I check the clock after half an hour, but it’s only been five minutes.

Honestly, this isn’t the most riveting game. We’ve diverted into some talk about mullets. In particular, mullets on women. Apparently, when a woman has a mullet it’s called a shag. I asked HB to explain the saying ‘shag on a rock’. I’ve heard it but never knew what it meant. He laughed and said his grandma used to tell him to get a haircut because he looks like a ‘shag on a rock’. Apparently it means a bird, on its own, on a rock – isolated and sad. Quite frankly, HB looks pretty good with longer hair, so I don’t think the birds would be leaving him isolated and sad for too long.

I told HB this isn’t as good as last year. He agreed, blaming the fact that it’s evening and it’s wet.

Riewolt just looked like he smashed some guy’s head into his crotch. I couldn’t stop laughing. He looked a bit demented at the time too. HB either missed it, or perhaps he just doesn’t have the same eye for filth that I have.

Gary Rohan and Dion Prestia are having a snuggle. Quite a bit of aggressive tension there. This is going to sound weird, but Prestia looks like the kind of guy who would slowly eat fruit while making eye contact. Now that you’ve thought about it, you know I’m right.

Danger got a goal, and now Mr Hardwick looks a bit annoyed and stressed. I’m stressed about what happened to Mrs Hardwick. Where is she?

Just going back to the Geelong oil slick, HB has just let me know that footy shorts have stuff on them that players can rub their hands on to make their hands less oily, but I am not sure he’s telling me the truth here. I haven’t seen anyone rubbing their butt. At all. And I would notice.

I wonder if Ablett is just in terrible agony and sucking it up. He looks pretty unhappy. I am so impressed with his willingness to come back on ground, but also sad that they didn’t just chuck someone else in. HB says his shoulder might not have much strength in it.

Lynch took a mark and Harry Taylor has fallen over with a sore head. I’m not entirely sure what happened there. Free kick against Lynch cos he  pushed him in the back. Lynch hasn’t done much so far.

The Cats keep missing. They are all over the place, and don’t really look like they have their heads together.

Oh! The rare double tackle, Rioli and Bolton tackled some poor Geelong player. Imagine having two solid bodies coming at you like that. Or don’t – this is meant to be a family friendly page.

Hardwick is rolling his eyes and giving a lot of hand gestures, like he’s arguing with himself. Maybe he is – if he is the smartest coach he knows then who better to talk to?

Balta kicked straight to Selwood, and the Cats just sneakily get closer and closer, Then bam. Hawkins gets a goal and HB just says “oh HELLO”. That’s what he says when there’s good food around so I know he’s impressed.

At the moment, every time Richmond have a clear kick, they kick straight to a Geelong player, almost like they are trying to bring themselves undone. Hardwick looks like a guy who has just told his child not to draw on the table, only for them to uncap a marker and scribble everywhere but the paper.

Lynch dropped a mark, so of course they play it in slow motion. That’s not nice – everyone looks like an idiot in slow motion.

Dusty just did the wildest thing I’ve ever seen in footy (not saying much really). He shoves someone and just kicks around his body for a goal. They didn’t bother to replay that straight away. Would have been nice. Instead we get an ad.

Bolton just blocked some fella from going for the ball. I was impressed and told HB. He agreed, and said it was a good shepherd. So THAT is what a shepherd is. I love it, it’s now my favourite part of the game.

Dusty has the ball again. Going for goal, tried a banana (which I have 100% accuracy in), and absolutely splooter-footed it. That’s the official term for someone being a total clumso.

And that does the first half.

I’m not into the half-time show. The NBA has Red Panda – a lady that throws bowls in the air while on a unicycle. Now THAT is a half-time show. I don’t really know why we always just think nice lights are the pinnacle of entertainment. Good to see the Queensland Symphony Orchestra getting a look in though.

Back to the game, the second half has begun. Richmond has obviously had a nice rest and something to drink. They seem to be doing a lot better now.

Jack Graham, with the terrible hair and potty mouth, has botched his kick for goal.

Lambert just intercepted very smoothly. Sometimes players just look so casual when they emerge with the ball, it’s surprising. The Scott twin looks like he is dying inside. Those poor coaches. I hope they get comprehensive physical check-ups each year. The stress is killing them.

I’m sorry, I can’t get over it. Does any other team oil up like Geelong? Can St Kilda please start doing this? Can we start a petition? What kind of oil is it?

Lambert going for goal, got it. I get stressed when someone kicks for goal. It’s like they have all the pressure in the world on them.

Lynch hasn’t done much. I mention this to HB, and he gruffly says “nothing at all”

Dusty somehow gets the ball to bounce through for a goal. I don’t even know how that happened, but it did.

Baker smacked Selwood in the face. HB thinks it’s not a big deal. It’s a bit of a big deal. Face smacks hurt. I should know, at least once a week a small four-year-old gets over excited and I’m whacked in the face with either a hand or a foot or a small skull.

Selwood is kicking for goal. He’s well short, but in fairness, it’s a stupidly long distance to kick.

This is a cool thing that I think may have been an accident. Apparently Riewoldt intercepted, using his foot while lying on the ground.

HB just announced that Miers got punched twice in the head. He has some hair to cushion the impact at least. Now HB has called Rioli a pissant. I don’t know why he’s so mad at Rioli, or what a pissant is, but it’s nice to see some animation on the old Mongrel’s face.

Ablett has hurt his shoulder again. Is he just being stubborn, staying out there? Is he doing a bad job? Can’t really tell to be honest.

And at the end of the third quarter, Lynch just fell over. Classic Lynch.

Oh. Oh no. Abbie Holmes is wearing a flasher trench coat. I don’t know what else to say. It looks very seedy. Expensive, but seedy.

Well. With that three-quarter time ‘entertainment’ out of the way, let’s get to the fourth.

Lynch finally did something and took a mark, then did the most doofus kick to a Geelong player.

Oh, Lynch has done something again! Or really, his teammates did something and he took a mark five meters out. Goal. Nice one.

Danger looks devastated. Less than ten minutes to go – I think he knows it’s a lost cause.

The Cats look desperate. Balta jumps and takes a mark, he’s the only Tiger player without a premiership medal.

Martin kicks his third goal.

Simpson is knocked out by his team-mate in a contest that is just a crunch of bodies.  The replay is brutal to watch. Skulls shouldn’t bounce like that.

Menegola with a HUGE kick and a goal. At this point the Cats will need three goals to win. Not going to happen.

Baker makes a half-hearted attempt to disrobe Selwood. Didn’t put much effort in, truthfully.

Riewoldt takes a mark, and just smoothly keeps hold of the ball. As opposed to Lynch who just kind of splutters around. Riewoldt has impressed HB who keeps saying in hushed tones “a beautiful kick”.

Martin somehow kicks another goal. Ridiculous. He always looks like he has kicked a goal by accident, but then he does it again, and again. I commented to HB that this is deal with the devil kind of skill.

Riewolt has the ball again but it doesn’t matter much. The Richmond staff are coming outside, it’s less than a minute to go, they know they have it.

And it’s done. Richmond have snagged two in a row!

A few final observations:

Selwood looks distraught. Ablett looks like he’s physically destroyed.

The wonderful Ivan is on screen! So sad he didn’t get to play.

Gil looks wild. He has a sunburn and looks completely unhinged. I am not really surprised by this, I think this year has aged him ten.

Cotchin dangles his toddler off the podium, waiting for someone to get him so he can get on with his secret Captain business, and Riewoldt comes running in to scoop up the bub. That is super sweet. If I tried to pass off my kid to anyone who isn’t her dad or sisters, she’d LOSE HER MIND and hulk smash everyone. Richmond are a tightly knit unit.

And finally, Richmond do a very classy thing by holding off their celebrations to give Gary Ablett a nice send off.

That’s it folks, the Vic based Tiger Army are going to be shaking the foundations of their homes all weekend, and I hope those in the free states go nuts.

See you next year.




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