AFL 2020: Essendon v Richmond – Round 13 Knee Jerk Reaction

Dreamtime in Darwin saw the Tigers win and the question asked as to whether a fine after the fact is a big enough deterrent for staging?

Is a fine after the fact a sufficient deterrent for ‘staging’?

Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlaustin both earned controversial decisions on Saturday night through accentuating incidents. Both decisions, described by John Worsfold as having a ‘massive impact’ on the game, came at important stages.

The MRO passed judgement on Sunday and issued both Grimes and Vlaustin fines but is this a sufficient penalty? At the end of the day it all comes down to how much we are all truly offended by the action. Until we can answer this question it will remain a divisive subject. As much as we are certain that the fine doesn’t seem a suitable deterrent, we are equally sure that a suspension would be deemed to great.

How the Game was Won

We know we aren’t breaking any state secrets here but, this match was won by Richmond’s whack it in and lock it in approach to the game. Somewhat counterintuiatively though, it is also the reason they had such difficulty overcoming a team they were expected to have little trouble defeating.

The great strength of Richmond’s strategy is that affords repeat inside 50 opportunities, it can however reduce the effectiveness of these entries. As hard as 36 players at one end of the ground can make it for the defensive team to escape their back half it can similarly make goal scoring opportunities more difficult. It can also ‘leave the back door open’ if the defensive team can pick a path through the swarm of players.

A comprehensive domination of centre clearances helped Richmond implement their high volume approach to forward entries on this night. Backed by their impressive defensive structures, they sweated on Bombers mistakes to feast upon.

Yet rather than yield in the face of the Tigers press, the Bombers defended for their life and dared to take it on. As a result this game was in the balance until late in the contest. In the end though, weight of numbers won out and despite a scare, the Tigers continue their march for a top four finish.

What the Coaches Said


There were some positives for John Worsfold and the Bombers despite the defeat. “Obviously Mozzie on debut we were really pleased with,” he said. “He delivered what we know he is capable of. So in his first taste of it, he was pretty nervous but he’ll get a lot of belief out of that. What he knows he can do, he can do at AFL level so that’s a really big thing for him,” he said.

Worsfold admitted that controversial decisions to award Dylan Grimes a free kick and Nick Vlaustin a 50-metre penalty had an impact. “Massive impact,” he responded to questioning. “At that point that was going to give us a couple of goal lead…..unfortunately that’s the way the umpire saw it and we have to cop that but it was a pretty critical part of the game.”

With the game mostly played in Richmond’s half, the Bombers coach was proud of his team’s defensive efforts. “Basically that’s a game played in their front half. Possessions were pretty even for the game but we couldn’t get through them enough,” he said. “They won too many forward half intercepts off us and re-entered. To the credit of everyone they defended with their lives and made it tough for them to score but that’s what we had to do all night.”


Damien Hardwick was happy with his team overcoming one whose structures caused them issues on the night. “Essendon played us a challenging way at various times but I thought there were a lot of things we did right,” he said. “We just couldn’t get the scoreboard ticking over as nice as we’d like. The fact of the matter is we play a pretty good brand of footy just couldn’t get the polish on the end, left a lot of goals on the table.

“We left the door a little open at the end and they took advantage of that. They had some good ball movement from the back half. I think they scored five goals from there and challenged us at various stages. I thought it was a good contest, we really enjoy coming up here. We loved it. It was a great occasion and we are happy to walk away with the four points.”

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ESSENDON       1.1    3.1    6.1    10.1 (61)

RICHMOND      1.5    3.8    5.10   10.13 (73)

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Mosquito 2, Stewart 2, Clarke, Merrett, Snelling, Stringer
Richmond: Lynch 2, Riewoldt 2, Bolton, Chol, Lambert, Martin, Rioli, Vlastuin 

Essendon: Merrett, Smith, Saad, Guelfi, McGrath, Parish
Richmond: Martin, Bolton, Lambert, Graham, Pickett, McIntosh 

Essendon: Francis (right hamstring)
Richmond: Nil

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