With the Grand Final played and won, the long dark no football months of summer lie in wait for us. In an effort to bring some light to this miserable time, The Pinch Hitters intend to take a look back at the season that was and celebrate the great moments of season 2018. Today we shine a spotlight on Richmond, who in winning the Minor Premiership created many moments to remember. Lets count down the Top Five.
5. Tigers dominate the Dreamtime – Round 11
This performance may go down as Richmond’s best all season, with their Essendon opponents simply not getting a sniff throughout the entire 120 minutes. It was pure domination, and from a Richmond perspective, may have been the closest the Tigers actually got to their 2017 flag form.
Essendon never grabbed the lead and only had 13 scoring shots for the entirety of the contest. The stats actually in this game were quite even, if not a little in Essendon’s favour, making this win remarkable. Josh Caddy booted four and Shane Edwards began his stellar run of form, kicking two and collecting 31 touches on his way to winning the best on ground medal. A 71 point win, who doesn’t like smacking the Bombers?
4. Adelaide’s disastrous return to the G’ – Round 16
Similar to number five on this list, it was as if Adelaide never had a chance in this game. After the year before and the pre season camp fiasco, and even the Round Two clash where Adelaide collected the four points, this was a very sweet victory. Adelaide did push the Tigers a little more than this headline may suggest, however the Tigers kicked away in the final term with no fit bodies on the bench to run out 47 point winners.
Nathan Broad, Jack Graham, Dan Butler and Daniel Rioli all finished the game in the hands of the medical staff, yet the Tiges still won the last quarter by five goals. This made it seem real for us Tiger fans, that we did indeed have another gear when needed. But the best part for us, seeing Taylor Walker yet again have no impact on the game.
3. Jacks best game ever? – Round 15
He only kicked three, and yes he did kick ten against the Suns later on in the year, but I have never seen Jack Riewoldt mark and kick the ball like he did in round 15. Jack’s kick isn’t the most penetrating, with his run up only being a few short steps. But this game saw him kick the ball 55m easily, post height. His goals were important and they were brilliant.
But his marking. His marking was better than I have ever seen. Finishing with 16 of them, seven of them contested, I thought I was watching a prime Matthew Richardson. But this win in itself was very important, as it showed that the Tigers weren’t just flat track bullies on the MCG. Why this game was played at Etihad Stadium is a different argument, but this game was close for the majority of it, before yet again the Tiges flicked that switch in the last term. An important win, led by the three time Coleman Medallist.
2. Finals Fever – First Final vs Hawthorn
This game was quite anti-climactic. The past three finals Richmond played before this; obviously in 2017, saw intense pressure, fans going bananas and extreme celebrations. But after the year Richmond had, this win was expected.
It was a subdued feeling, which may have led to Richmond’s downfall just 15 days later. However, it was a finals win that would not have been associated with Richmond a few years ago. It was a good feeling to have got through the first one, and while we know what happened next, it was a brilliant feeling at the time.
We felt like the alpha males of the AFL, going into the first final, doing what we had to do and then leaving. We weren’t overly great on the night either, which made us even more confident. We couldn’t wait to flick the switch once again.
1. A massive win over the Pies – Round 19
This had to be #1. This match was built up as the biggest home and away match of the last decade, with it being the two biggest clubs in the game, both in form and both looking at being the big dogs of season 2018. Yes, Collingwood got their comeuppance later on in the season and well done to them, but at the time, this was one of Richmond’s greatest wins in modern times.
Collingwood were a little depleted, but it just felt massive, especially over the old rival. This match also saw the goal of the year and one of the best improvisations of all time from Jack Higgins, but I remember the third quarter of this being just brilliant. Josh Thomas keeping the Pies in it with three goals and Richmond being able to keep them at bay, it was finals footy in the home and away season.
Want to change the rules? Go watch this game first.