Richmond v Essendon - The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Tigers put paid to the Essendon resurgence, pummelling the Bombers by 71 points at the MCG in front of over 81,000 for their annual Dreamtime game.

Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.

 

THE GOOD

Shane Edwards

Prior to the North Melbourne game, we posted a graphic on the Mongrel Punt Facebook page, asking who Ben Jacobs should go to in order to help the Roos. One of the options we provided was Shane Edwards, and I remember people mocking us, asking why Edwards was even involved.

You think they were watching tonight? Edwards is absolute class, and he showed it tonight. There are those people refer to as having a “football brain” and that is exactly what Edwards possesses. He adds the little toe-pokes, the knock ons, the handballs in traffic that somehow find their way to a teammate. He is a bloke you’d love to play with.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to play with a bloke that finished this game with three direct goal assists, two goals himself, and 11 score involvements? Basically, the Richmond players know that whenever Edwards gets his hands on the ball, good things happen.

The strangulation part one

This started from the first quarter, and but for a brief period in the second quarter where the Bombers seemed to be able to draw breath, continued for the whole game.

It seemed that every time the Bombers got the ball and looked up, there was a wall of yellow and black to contend with. An impenetrable, towering, imposing yellow and black wall.

The thing is; if the Richmond players are all there, building a wall, where were all the Bombers? It’s a funny thing, being on the end of a belting the likes of the one Richmond gave Essendon tonight. It takes the wind out of your sails and almost promotes not working hard to get to the next contest, and not running back defensively.

The Bomber players were sluggish. Who could blame them? They’d just been strangled.

Adam Saad

He was the only Bomber who consistently took the game on, just as he attempts to take every game on. He had a nice win in the air against Jack Riewoldt in the first quarter, and tried like crazy to provide run out of the backline whenever he could.

His two-on-one win against Butler, with some great body work (I can’t remember who the other Tiger was) and speed to run away was one of the few genuine highlights for the Bombers.

Josh Caddy – All Australian forward pocket?

As I write this, Josh Caddy sits third in the race for the Coleman medal with 27 goals.

He added four tonight in a first half that set up the Tiger win. Caddy just knows where to be and how to get there. He has the sort of footy nous you simply cannot teach.

In a team boasting a former Coleman medallist in Jack Riewoldt, Caddy is fast becoming the most dangerous forward they have. You can’t argue with numbers, and the numbers tell us that Josh Caddy is one of the best forwards in the game.

If the All Australian team was chosen right now, you’d see Caddy sitting in the forward pocket, and very few people could dispute it.

The Nankervis tackle

I’ve been waiting to write about this since it happened.

What a ripping tackle! I am so thankful that Nankervis is still allowed to tackle like this, and I’m glad that he stopped, got out his protractor and calculator, did the mathematics, analysed weight and force, and then with Reece Conca in absolutely burying David Zaharakis.

I don’t like seeing people hurt, so this is not a celebration of Zaharakis injuring his collarbone in the tackle, but it is a celebration of good, hard tackling with the intent to hurt an opponent. It was hard, fair and brutal.

And it was beautiful.

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THE BAD

Sloppy disposal

If you watched it, you know all about this already, but what I will do is isolate one situation that is a perfect example of what not to do against Richmond.

Hooker took an intercept mark at half back and fired off a handball to Jake Stringer, standing ten metres away. It didn’t hit the target and by the time Stringer gained control of it, the Tigers were bearing down on him.

It was a fundamental of the game – unforgivable to miss a target from ten metres away under no pressure. It was under 12s kind of stuff  – you simply cannot do this against Richmond. The kick from Stringer, then under pressure, sailed out on the full. This is the Richmond way – pressure all the time and if a mistake occurs, you capitalise.

Cale Hooker didn’t hit the target. He put his teammate under unnecessary pressure, caused a turnover, and looked poor in the process.

Let the boys play

Martin v Hurley at full forward. Man to man, shoulder to shoulder. Both of them grappling for position. Hurley lunged and got a fist to the ball.

The whistle blew.

The umpire decided that Hurley was holding slightly more? That Hurley won the contest and therefore must have done something nefarious? That no one beats Dusty one out? It was a shocking call in what was a great one on one contest that should have been allowed to play out.

When both guys are engaging each other, both are holding, both are grappling and it’s a genuine contest, let the boys play!

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THE UGLY

The strangulation part two

Earlier I wrote about the strangulation, and I was referring to the players, but did you hear the Bomber fans on the second half? There was silence.

Deathly silence. In strangling the team, the Tigers strangled the Essendon fans as well. They came in with such hope, but as the Richmond grip tightened, it became harder and harder to be enthused.

Don’t worry, Bomber supporters. You’re not the first to feel the squeeze this season. You won’t be the last either.

Staging

I think Alex Rance had a ripping game. He would be in consideration for votes based on how good he was tonight.

I’ll admit, I am not his greatest fan, but he was far and away the best defender on the ground tonight. He read the ball well in the air, he took a heap of intercept marks, he was part of that yellow and black wall I wrote about early, but on one occasion tonight, he staged, and I hate staging.

 In his one on one contest against Shaun McKernan, Rance went flying forward from what appeared to be a push in the side. He’s better than that, and umpires should be better than to pay what is obviously an attempt to salvage a free kick in a contest you’re going to be beaten in.

I don’t blame Rance for this. He will do what he has to in order to win. But you don’t reward staging. It’s weak.

From that position, the Tigers went end to end and Menadue goaled on the run. It should’ve been a shot at goal for McKernan. You got sucked in, umpire.

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OTHER BITS

Loved Dusty’s hip and shoulder on Baguley as the Bomber had to reach up to grab the loose ball. It was courageous by Baguley – he left himself open. Dusty got him, and to his credit, Baguley got up pretty quick. Good, fair hip and shoulder.

Hurley went back and looked a little out of place early. Caddy capitalised on some poor communication between Hurley and Guelfi, who both flew and spoiled each other. Caddy waited down and goaled, just like Caddy does every week.

Interesting to see Dusty doing some ruck work. This ‘no third man up’ rule has really made it safe for a smaller bloke to contest. As long as they engage the body of the opposing ruckman, no one will be jumping into them.

I’d love to have a read of the Essendon game plan for the first quarter in terms of moving the ball out of defence. It seemed as though it involved grabbing the ball and kicking it directly to waiting Richmond mids and defenders.

Isn't kicking it 50 metres away, even if it comes back, better than being caught holding the ball 25 metres out in front of goal? I don't know what Michael Hurley was thinking just holding onto the ball and being tackled. he didn't even try to get rid of it. I understand that there may not have been any options available to him, but if the best option was to get caught holding the ball... how bad were the other options?

The Tigers have bottled it up and kept the ball in their forward half against hawthorn, Melbourne, West Coast for a quarter, and now Essendon. How do you beat this? How did West Coast do it?

Loved the work of Dan Butler tonight. Ran his backside off at one point to be in the contest at 50, and then was right there again in the goal square to receive a handball in the goal square.

I liked Riewoldt’s work to keep the ball in during the first quarter. He was the only bloke who wanted the ball, grabbed it, curled it around and Nankervis marked and goaled. Jack didn’t get a lot of reward in front of goals, but this was a good moment for him.

McDonald-Tipungwuti has not really impressed me at all this year. Had two goals tonight, but had only 10 touches and was a non-factor. His goal from the square at the conclusion of the first quarter was largely due to McKernan’s mark despite four Tigers around him. Mckernan was good at times, and abysmal at others – playing on and being caught by Butler was a dreadful error.

Loved that Rance reverts to the old under 12 goalkeeper role when the other team gets a run on. And it worked too, when Baguley’s snap didn’t have enough on it, and he marked unopposed to clear. I do wonder why he is one of the only blokes who doesn’t get called for front on contact in a marking contest.

Caddy may be kicking a lot of goals, but he is not above being told off by his full forward when he makes a dumb error.

How great was Shane Edwards’ toe-poke to Josh Caddy to allow him to goal from 50? In a week where Matthew Scarlett was praised for his toe-poke, this was a nice homage.

I usually like the work of “eyeshadow” Guelfi, but his clearing kick from defence that didn’t clear the 50 was a big error. Cost the Bombers a goal when it was spoiled to Graham, who goaled.

Shane Edwards leaving Brendon Goddard in his wake was the game in a microcosm. Edwards was first to the ball between wing and half forward. Goddard shadowed him, but a shimmy and some pace saw Goddard left for dead. He sent the ball into Butler and only a diving save from Matty Dea prevented Butler from goaling off the ground.

As close to a genuine hospital handpass as you’ll see from Conor McKenna to Guelfi in the third. Just sold him right into trouble and just kind of danced out of the way himself, when going forward was the obvious option.

I reckon Dusty may have a little chat with Callum Moore about missing his one-out matchup against Saad in the goal square. Martin would’ve been salivating at the prospect of the long ball into him.

Seen Stringer use the fend off plenty this season. Nice to see him get some of his own medicine from the master.

 

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