U/12

Coach Ted Lloyd

Assistant Coach Chris McNeil

Team Manager Cathy Donnison

Preliminary Final vs Preston

After watching our U12 Richmond girls hold off a late push from Banyule in the curtain raiser to see them advance into the Grand Final, it seemed our boys were destined to make it a double whammy on the day.

All indications said we’d be a good show – the boys had trained well (the author of this report still struggling to walk after running around with them!), they were on a roll after last weeks great victory, and as Ted had said it was a perfect day for footy!

It was terrible that Hamish, Tom and Josh couldn’t take to the field, and we started with just two on the bench. Preston Bullants had five!

But knowing we’d surmounted bigger obstacles in the past, we seemed prepared and ready for a great challenge ahead…

But what transpired didn’t go exactly to plan, in what truly was a game of two halves.

FIRST HALF

Like any do-or-die final, it was always going to be the team that played harder, committed themselves more and just wanted the ball the most that would win the day. Unfortunately for us, that was the story of the first half.

They sprang quickly to have a goal within the first 2 minutes. But we made sure it wasn’t all ‘downhill’ from there – even though with the slant of the ground, we literally did have a huge downhill advantage.

We responded quickly with a great snap from Freddy, who alongside Ben was providing a good target for our on-ballers. But while Eddie, Angus and skipper Michael tried their guts out to clear the ball, the pressure from the Bullants was stinging us. They swarmed at the ball and attacked our men – clean possession was nearly impossible.

At the quarter they were 3-2-20 to us 1-1-7.

Ted gathered the boys and let them know there was little difference – except ‘they’re just going in harder’. He pleaded for them to man up, play in front and support each other more.

Unfortunately they didn’t carry that instruction to the letter at all. We missed targets, didn’t man up and were swamped by the bull ant swarm yet again. The whole team was trying hard, but just couldn’t find their groove. Lauchie battled bravely, Kyle tried to weave some magic, Josh M ran hard and Wilson repelled brilliantly from the backline, but we couldn’t break their hold…

By half time they were 5-2-32 and our score remained a lonely 1-1-7 – a scoreless quarter in a final was going to be hard to redeem.

But as they had done all year, our coaches gathered the boys and instilled a sense of calm and quiet confidence in every one of them. Ted then looked them all in the eye and asked the boys to dig deep… his final question was simple – ‘I want to be here next week.. do you?!’ All the boys screamed ‘YEEESSSSS’, pumped the air and ran back on the ground to the tune of Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’!

Even though the boys had taken the field a ‘song too soon’, seeing Richie lead them on a lap whilst performing his unusual run/dance to the song was a rare privilege!

SECOND HALF

Once again the Bullants nipped at the ball and against the tide kicked yet another goal within a minute! Now 5 goals down the end looked inevitable.

But something changed in the boys… they looked like they’d had enough – of getting pincered by those pesky bullants that is!

We started pushing the ball forward in waves… crushing bull ants in our wake! We used handballs to running targets. Notably Angus to Freddy to Wilson to Eddie for our first goal in over a half!!

Then others started stepping up. Asher was finding more space, Alex more run and Ollie, Ed Shea, Nick and Tim S all had important touches. The resultant pressure meant Josh M had two shots at goal in succession – a point and then a goal on the siren to make the score more respectable 6-2-38 to 3-2-20.

We continued the charge into the last quarter, and for a moment it seemed our 3 goal deficit was nothing!

Michael C was getting back into the game – tackling strongly and with a few sensational 4-bounce plus runs from Eddie we were right in the game. Andrew and Tom T were looking very threatening up forward and Freddy was hauling in more marks.

But it really all started from the backline. An inspired move saw Charlie at full back – who stopped everything! And if it got through Charlie, then Harvey, Patty and Ben Morgan – at Centre half back, were there to mop up – and repel forward.

Yet for all our awesome efforts, the game just slipped away from us. The final score didn’t do our last half effort justice. We only allowed them 1-2 while we banged home a mighty 3-2.

As disappointing as a finals loss is, Ted and Chris told the boys to hold their heads high. We had finished a brilliant season – made a prelim final, played as a team like never before, encouraged each other, bonded strongly and all improved as individuals – a lot!!

The awards went to Freddy for a great 4 quarter performance, and fellow big man Ben who played his heart out. Charlie and Eddie were also awarded for a great day’s play.

But in my opinion – as with most the season – any one of them could have taken home the honours… take a bow each and every one of you for an enormously rewarding effort on the day – and the entire season… I reckon we’ll be seeing bigger and better things from everyone of you next season.

Same can apply to our brilliant Coaches, who really got the best from the boys and have nurtured an awesome team spirit all season long.

And lastly thanks to all the parents! Our diligent and hard working (and extremely attractive!) Managers, super (not so attractive!) runners, tireless boundary runners, committed water carriers, timekeepers, scorers, umpire escorts, official photographers, banner makers, orange cutters and lollie suppliers!

Apart from the odd late match report – WE ROCK!

GO TIGES!!!!

Semi Final vs Fitzroy

On arrival at the Kew Oval it was the mud bath in the centre of this lofty ground that caught our focus …was this really the best venue available for a sudden-death showdown between spirited rivals, RJFC and Fitzroy 3’s? The boys weren’t phased though; in contrast they saw this as a chance for some fun, a roll in the mud, an opportunity rather than a constraint.


The first quarter commenced with a toss of the ball, in lieu of a bounce, on a patch of grass to the east of the muddy centre. It was desperate, high intensity football that followed and RJFC landed the first major with a goal by Michael within the first 2 minutes. From this point on scores were hard to come by and it was only as the quarter drew to a close that Fitzroy answered with a straight kick through the tall sticks, leaving the Tigers with a slim 2 point lead at the break.

RJFC    1 – 3    9

FITZ     1 – 1    7

Ted’s message was calm and clear at the first break:

“Get in first to the ball, it’s all or nothing, you’ve got the off-season to recover!”

The message was heard and the boys took to the next passage with calculated precision. There were screamers, scrambles, smothers and slides a plenty, with the likes of Kyle, Timmy, Lachie and Andrew working hard to get the ball moving. Memorable marks were pulled in by Ben, Hamish, Freddy, Harvey and of course Ollie CC’s waist-height grab, that followed closely on the heels of his unforgettable opportunistic goal snap. Eddie, Wilson, Angus & Alex were everywhere and with only a few minutes of the half remaining things were looking promising. But how things can change… the seemingly stable boat was rocked as Asher took a punishing slide through the mud and needed to be helped from the ground. With only 30 secs remaining, the opposition pocketed a sneaky goal and they were back within 4 points at the major break.

RJFC    2 – 7    19

FITZ     2 – 3    15

“Too many minors”, said Ted, “convert them to majors and we’ll have this game. Take your time; bounce, run…”

The Fitzroy boys came out all guns firing and before long they had stolen the lead. The pressure was on but the RJFC boys didn’t give up- they wanted to be playing next Sunday. The backline boys, Charlie, Paddy, Hamish and Nick worked hard against this rising tide, but the Fitzroy boys had reason to fight after losing one of their own in an intense contest. Despite a near-perfect run by Eddie down the ground and a tantalizing, bouncing ball off Josh’s boot in the dying seconds, RJFC failed to convert and the opposition went to the break with a damaging 8 point lead.

RJFC    2 – 8    20

FITZ     4 – 4    28

As Ted walked out to address the boys he was heard saying “I need to find some magic”.

Maybe it was the snakes or perhaps it was the coach’s address, but the Tigers did find some magic… they worked as a team stringing together tackles, runs and kicks. The Tom’s, the Eddie’s, Andrew, Kyle and Nick rose to the challenge. After a ripper tackle, Michael converted his free kick to a goal and soon after Tom P kicked a bumper, much-needed goal to put RJFC in front by 4 points. Hurry up siren… But Fitzroy were persistent and the pressure intense as the ball lingered, unnervingly in their forward line. Strangely enough it was the mud that saved the game for us. The boggy conditions enabled our boys to get a steal, then for Josh to scramble a kick out of the mud to Freddy who sent a hurried kick goal-ward. After a couple of bounces the ball dribbled through for a joyous behind and the siren sounded- the Richmond boys were victorious!

RJFC    4 – 10    34

FITZ     4 – 5    29

Well done to every single boy out there today, it was a great display of sportsmanship and courage. We must also acknowledge our injured Josh H who was sorely missed and the injured Fitzroy player, who we hope is recovering well and lastly to all those who are responsible for the laundering of the muddy gear ready for the high-stakes   game next week!

Opposition Medal:  Ollie CC

MVP: Eddie K

Other Medals: Tom P, Wilson, Hamish

Round 13 vs North Brunswick

What a welcome from North Brunswick’s canteen with personalised cupcakes!

We knew it would be big.
Big ground.
Big “last-game-before-the -finals”.
Big opposition.
But hey! In the end it was epic.

The boys warmed up under a sunny sky with a two goal breeze blowing down Allard Park to the Noonan Street end (Ed: I looked it up).

Pre-game it was all about “voice” and being “switched on”.

Not all were. And the coaches didn’t hesitate in letting the boys know the on field 18 (we had 22 on hand) would be selected from the attitude displayed during warm up.

Tom T was captain for the day as we kicked with the wind for the opening stanza.

1st Quarter

Switched on? Yes they were.

Our on-ballers took immediate control and started feeding forward.

Josh to Ash to Alex to Angus (nice one-hander) to Josh M. for our first.

Michael was in and under as usual. Asher feeding out handpasses as usual. And Lachie doing his usual great effort in the ruck despite the size of his opponent. Alex was using his pace and second efforts to great affect.

Freddy forced the ball forward, and Tom T., talk about stepping up, took a big mark and scored — dare we say — a captain’s goal.

Minutes later, with Eddie and Freddy locking it in our half, Andrew — who had planned a goal a quarter— got on the board with our third.

The aptly named  North Brunswick Giants were stunned by our speed and attack on the ball.

Kyle snapped a point. Michael followed with another.

Asher and Eddie set Andrew up for another shot, which went wide.

Charlie’s late point made it 3-3 :21 to 0 at the break.

Lots of push and shove after a hard tackle on the siren as our opponents decided to try to rough us up.

Their coach greeted the Giants with: “You don’t deserve a drink to be honest”.
Ted and Chris greeted our boys with a reminder not to get sucked in to combat, and to make the ball the objective.

2nd Quarter

Eddie was given a roaming defensive role against the wind, but again we were too strong in the middle. Angus, Paddy, Tom and Kyle combined beautifully for a goal.

Josh Hansen was playing his “”General” role in defence with support from Paddy.

Michael kept feeding the ball forward.

Tom T. was inspired and making his presence felt.

But(t) it was Freddy, after a great overhead mark, who kicked our fifth.

Towards the end of the quarter, after terrific defensive work from Josh H. , Paddy, Tim and Harvey, the Giants managed a couple of wind and umpire assisted points. Just before the break, Freddy, Angus and Josh M gave us a training 1-2 1-2 as they ran the ball forward. It finished with a rugby like scrum at the top of the square. And a goal to Richmond. Was it Kyle? Was it Josh? Turns out Hamish got a toe-poke in just before the line.

Eddy Shea beat three as he turned back another attack. Charlie was in amongst it. But eventually, they got their first.

6-4 : 40 to 1-4 :10 at the main break.

Seemingly a winning position with the wind to assist in the third. With our mids being targeted by some rough handling, Ted again emphasised the need to stand firm, but not to fight. Let them be frustrated. “We are coming into the finals like a steam train”, he said.

3rd Quarter

It started OK. Josh H. defending well. Asher and Angus setting Freddy up for a shot. And their defence under so much pressure, one of them ran 15 metres back over our line to give us a point.

Ben bravely smothered. Tom P got involved. And Ollie CC turned it on as we tried to build the lead.

But it was to no avail. They goaled. They goaled again. Game on.

We didn’t stop. And Alex’s second efforts were an example. It was just their big guys started finding space and time, and hurt us with some good goal kicking.

6-6 : 42 to 3-5 : 23 at the last change.

The boys were asked for one big effort to make sure they played finals.

4th Quarter

We won out of the middle, but the ball went to the other end and dropped in front of our defenders.

They were within 12 points. And they came forward again.

A big run by Charlie to get it out, but they scored anyway to lead by a point.

Charlie to Kyle to Tom T. to Josh M gave us a crucial point to tie it up.

We pushed again in the desperate final minutes. Another point to Josh. And we had regained the lead.

Asher took a steadying mark at half forward to stop them. Seconds later he mopped up on the half back line, well assisted by Ollie and Freddy as we held them up during the tense final seconds.

It was exhausting for all. But a great win.

6-8 : 44 to 6-7 :43.

Eddie scored their medal.

Nick, Ed Shea and Paddy earned our coaches awards.

Now a week off lads, then a final. Well done. We can hardly wait.

Round 12 vs Hawthorn

Make or break game, win we play finals, loose? It was tough going before the ball was even bounced, Eddie S. out injured Andrew out with the flu, Asher feeling a bit sore in the legs and Tom T. & Angus feeling sick in the guts.

There were however 6 players who were very switched on, congratulations to Josh H., Josh M., Kyle, Nick, Harvey and Tim who ran through the banner for their 50th. game, well done boys.

1st. Quarter

Captain Angus led the team out, Hawthorn won the toss and elected to kick with the wind. The first quarter was fast paced and very physical, Hawthorn scored the first goal of the match but then our boys blocked the ball in our half of the ground for month than 8 minutes, limiting Hawthorn’s chances of scoring. Charlie used his long rubber like arms to smother a Hawthorn kick, Ollie used his body strength to get his opponent in an octopus tackle and was awarded a free kick, Ben’s continued 2nd efforts at attacking the ball resulted in our first score of the game a behind. Eddie K’s. head ban must have affected the blood flow to his brain because he was not thinking about the size of the boys he was tackling. The quarter ended with Richmond 0 4 4 to Hawthorn 1 1 7. Coach Ted was very happy with the way the boys kept the ball in our half of the ground for most of the quarter against the wind and also the boys tackling and hand balling.

2nd. Quarter

Now we had the wind and Mr Utility (play me anywhere coach) Josh M. scored our first goal of the match from the combined efforts of Asher and Angus (I thought I was watching Liba-Tom Liberatore  & The Package-Jake Stringer from the Western Bulldogs playing) pushing the ball forward. Michael (take the coach literally) decided to tackle every Hawthorn player and his efforts resulted in a kick to Charlie who slotted the red pill through the big sticks. Wilson who must have a brick layer ancestor played in the backline and would not let the ball get past him. Alex (the race horse) must have thought he was doing Little Athletics on the wing, because I lost count of how many sprints he did. The quarter ended with Richmond 2 6 18 to Hawthorn 1 1 7. Great effort by the boys to keep Hawthorn scoreless for the quarter. Coach Ted asked the boys if they wanted to go into the rooms at half time, the answer was NO!!! these boys are as tough as nails.

3rd. Quarter

During the half time break the wind sprung up and Hawthorn was now kicking with a strong gust. It was a tough quarter for our boys, our kicks were holding up in the air. The damage could have worse if not for the tough physical work of Hamish (I don’t care who runs into me) who took 3 marks in the first 5 minutes, Harvey (get out of my way) who was running straight at his opponents, Kyle (the more you knock me down the faster I get up) putting his body over the ball. The quarter ended Richmond 2 8 20 to hawthorn 4 3 27. Coach Ted addressed the boys and stated that our finals hopes were on the line, we had to come from behind and win the game, he asked the boys to kick long and high into our forward line, to use the strong gust to get distance in our kicks. It was make or break time. How would the boys deal with this sort of pressure.

4th. Quarter

Hawthorn reacted by putting their tall timber & stacking their backline to win the game. The strategy seam to work for the first 8 minutes of the quarter, even though Lachlan was playing a blinder in the ruck winning every tap out. Michael was awarded a free kick and quickly passed to Asher who marked and kicked a goal Hawthorn now led by 1 point. All our forwards were using every ounce of energy they had Hamish, Timmy, Freddy, Paddy, Nick and Tom P. were playing out of their skins. Josh H. (the General) was running straight at the ball off the backline line turning defence into attack, one of these attacks led to Tom P. getting the ball and kicking a goal Richmond now in front by 5 points with 3 minutes to play. Continued great pressure by Paddy, Hamish, Tom P., Timmy, Freddy and Nick to block the ball within our forward line resulting in the ball spilling free to Eddie K. who spun around on his trade mark left foot and kicked a long goal Richmond in front by 12 points 40 seconds left to play. Lachlan who was not happy about only having 50 tap outs for the game wanted one more and the mid fielders were ready to jump on the ball and block it up. Siren to end game Richmond 5 9 39 to Hawthorn 4 3 27. Not only had the boys come from behind to win the game, they kept Hawthorn scoreless in the quarter as they had done in the 2nd. quarter.

Great effort by all the boys and coaches.

The opposition medal was awarded to Alex who must have run about ten 100m sprints.

Coach Ted’s Pollo Award went to Freddy for his physical/tough work all day.

Coach Ted’s Grilled Award went to Hamish for playing 4 consistent quarters of football.

Coach Ted also gave a special Award and big thanks to Charlie for all his efforts at training and on game day’s during the season and for being part of the team .

Assistant Coach  Chris then presented the 50 game medals to Josh H., Josh M., Kyle, Nick, Harvey and Tim, once again boys well done, you should be very proud of your great efforts.

Coach Ted finally praised the boys for coming from behind to win the game when we were on the ropes with our backs against the wall. Personally I had to go home and take some heart pills.

Round 11 vs Parkside

1st quarter
On a crisp Sunday morning the match started with bright sunshine and a consistent cold breeze across the ground. With a welcome return to the ruck by Charlie Johnston the match started with strong marking contests, and a punching smother saw the ball make its way to Richmond’s end. Hard work by the team, including an ever reliable Kyle  kept the ball close to our 50 for much of the quarter, with Eddie King managing to effect a turnover more than once. When Parkside threatened to score, Alex took a spectacular running mark to get the ball back into Richmond’s end, with the quarter ending scoreless.

2nd quarter
There was early excitement as Lachie rucked the ball into Richmond’s half. With Richmond scoring a behind and the ball headed Parkside’s way, Eddie effected a turnover the only time that the ball threatened to leave Richmond’s end. With Eddie smothering the ball to send it back to Freddie and Kyle, saw Kyle score Richmond’s first goal. Strong play by Richmond’s centres saw the ball heading back to our end, and following repeated attempts Eddie kicked strongly to Andrew who kicked Richmond’s second.

It was a cold half time with the coach reminding the team to keep looking for their options to kick to if their team mates got the ball – they needed to get a couple more goals as he reckoned it would be a four goal match. The wind had picked up strongly during the second quarter conditions and the sun had gone, so the second half was looking like being a cold and hard fought contest.

3rd quarter
After starting the third quarter with Eddie King taking his signature massive run with the ball to score another behind for Richmond, the ball headed back towards Parkside’s end. Despite a valiant goal-saving mark by Freddie, relentless pressure from Parkside did eventuate in a goal, with a further behind getting Parkside onto the scoreboard at 1:1:7. However, this turned out to be Parkside’s only score for the day, with strong efforts from the Richmond centres regaining composure and getting the ball headed to our end. With excellent play along the boundary by Tom T, Josh managed a kick to Harvey who scored a behind. A great smother by Asher saw Parkside’s hope of getting the ball to their end also smothered, after a high tackle resulted in Asher getting a free kick. Lachie marked the strong kick in the centre square, with the resulting kick bringing another goal to Richmond. At three quarter time the coach commended Tom P on his great play throughout the quarter and reminded the forwards to keep spreading to maximising their opportunities, and told them they needed to get one more goal.

4th quarter
The final quarter started with some neat teamwork, Richmond continuing to counter Parkside’s efforts. A good effort saw the ball move towards Richmond’s goal with Timmy passing through to Andrew and Charlie and the ball unfortunately going over the line. Richmond’s forwards kept cracking at it though with Eddie King marking well, with Josh, Tommy T, Andrew, Asher and Angus continuing to push forward but Parkside’s defence continuing to make it hard to score. Tom P continued to make an impact with another behind for Richmond, with the Tigers quickly regaining possession with a huge running effort from Eddie, with some neat passing between Angus and Asher, who had both been performing all over the ground all day. With the ball being contested Timmy managed to get possession, and was awarded a free to kick in towards Richmond’s goal square, with some strong play by Angus resulting in the final goal for Richmond. The final result was a resounding win for Richmond, with four goals four behinds, to Parkside’s one goal one behind.

Overall the coach praised the boys for their consistent efforts on a big, windy ground. Particularly pleasing was their ability to regain their composure when Parkside threatened, and the boys were able to continually put in strong play for the rest of the game to clinch a strong victory. Best on ground was Angus for his consistent strong play, with Tom P also receiving an award for big play.

Round 10 vs St Marys W

Well first things first, to all those families (and coach Ted), posting photos of themselves flying north, or pictures from poolside in Bali or Santorini… if I had my way you’d be spending the rest if the season on the bench… However given this report has a) no control over players positions, or b) the bench isn’t wide enough to fit the 12 players on..  that’s not likely to happen.  So now thats off the chest lets get on with the match report.

We woke to one of Melbourne’s coldest days on record. Photos from the early game at Kevin Bartlett showed what looked like snow on the ground. Luckily the first few games at Citz kicked our frost off the ground. As the 13 players who were left in Melbourne arrived their ranks were bolstered by the return of Harris, one of our players from last year, who offered to fill in and even sourced his own uniform from a missing player. That took our numbers to 14, and with Harvey’s brother Jake we were 15. Coach Chris was desperate for a good show after the devastating 1 point loss last week, and perhaps to also welcome Ted back with a win under the belt.

At the opening bounced our numbers swelled to 17, with St Marys graciously offering us two of their players. The beginning of the first quarter and it we looked like we might be overrun. The ball was in St Mary’s forward line. Josh Michaels was playing a great quarter clearing the ball out and strong work in packs. Ben Morgan got a nasty ball to the finger, that blew up quickly, and Timmy Singh turned an ankle. They were kicking with the wind, luckily Harvey at full back was keeping the pressure up, forcing minor scores. Angus was in packs, and out of them to help run the ball out from their backline. The quarter ended with a few attempts on goal for Richmond and one that went through the big sticks from a St Mary’s player, playing for us.

The second quarter began with no sign of reinforcements from the Under 11 teams, so again St Marys kindly leant us a couple of players.  Kicking with the wind put some hope into the Richmond players and we had the ball down in the forward line. Pressuring their backs, we set up Lachie with a mark and great kick for the first Richmond goal. And then a couple of attempts. The first went to Ed on his non-preferred right and he wasn’t quite able to squeeze it in, second attempt again to Ed from the boundary on his left, sailed through post high… again for a point. Andrews presence in the goal square paid off for a fine mark and goal.  A great reward for the time the ball was in our forward line. The free flowing quarter finished with a couple of goals to St Marys to tie the scores up.

Just before half time our reinforcements, James, Matt, Jonty, Wil, Ben T and Ollie arrived. We headed into the rooms as the icy wind cutting across the oval was making any sun null and void. An ice pack was found for Ben’s finger and Tim with his sore ankle asked to play anywhere but the middle. Coach Chris mentioned at half time that he wanted a big first 5 minutes of tackling and he wants those tackles to stick. Then there was a bit of ranting about the need to spoil or bench time beckoned.

Our new Under 11 players filled in the backline in the third quarter and they were immediately tested as the ball headed down. But they were up to the task and Ben T bought the ball to the ground, Wil got it to James who cleared it out, with a great kick down the line to Ed who then kicked it to Asher everywhere on the wing. A terrific passage of accurate kicking and marking. A highlight of the quarter was Lachie’s tap work at clearances – straight down Asher’s throat. After an initial time in the backline the ball stayed in Richmond forward line, and Ben Morgan goaled. From the next bounce a free kick to Asher played on by Eddie to a phenomenal handball from Andrew to Nick for a 30 second goal.

Chris must have been happy at 3 quarter time as there was no mention of spoiling! We were particularly appreciative of our fill ins this quarter as legs began to tire. Ollie C, Ben T and Will, took a couple of fine marks in the back line to stop any forward thrusts. James and Jonty helping to run it out. Another highlight from our under 11’s was Matt’s run and carry from half back. As a half back he really found a lot of space in the forward line to work in – but after he sold a bit of candy in the middle he probably deserved to head into the 50 arc! Kyle laid on the perfect rugby tackle to take down a bigger opponent and Ollie CC helped pressure the ball to stay in the forward line. Alex had a turn of speed that completely burnt off the opposition, and a kick to the square just sailed over the head of Harvey. From the resultant scrum Angus got his toe on to the ball to put it through for a goal, unfortunately it was disallowed, as there was a free kick to St Marys in the square. And if Bruce Williams says the free was probably there, then you know it must have been. A last final thrust by St Marys was cleared out by Harris against two taller opponents, he grabbed the ball and ran it back forward. And just like that the game was over.

Back in the rooms after a rousing chorus of Tigerland, Chris thanked our under 11 fill ins, offered Harris a spot anytime he wanted, and made a special mention of Jake for filling in. Awards went to our captain Alex, Josh for a strong game, and Asher for his usual polish. The win puts us in a good position heading into our week off. And despite this reporters abject jealousy we will probably welcome back those 12 players from their sun drenched holidays. Thanks to Chris for filling in the top position coaching, helped by assistant Greg, and also thanks to our tireless team manager, Cath for arranging the fill ins and making sure all the other positions get filled and it all goes smoothly every week. Enjoy the week off.

Round 9 vs Preston

A brisk morning in single digits saw  Chis McNeil take the reigns in place of coach Ted to take on the Preston Bull Ants. Captain Tom P, who was leading a bare 18 players, won the toss and cleverly chose to kick into the north to ensure his boys were coming home with the wind in the last quarter. Dry playing conditions with a light breeze from the west saw a very even match at Kevin Bartlett Reserve including some great defense, constant pressure around the pack, strong tackling and plenty of wincing from the crowd as the ball slapped on bare arms in some of the best smothering we have seen this season. This resulted in the first quarter siren sounding with Preston’s 3 points to Richmond’s goose egg. After some encouragement by Coach McNeil in the break, the Tigers pounced and put away three quick goals including a long bomb between the big white ones by Ben Morgan.

Once again the heavily contested packs dominated the quarter but couldn’t keep Angus from utilising his signature “toe poke” moving the ball forward. At the long break the scoreboard showed that Richmond had pulled ahead by 3 points with good kicking for three straight ones. In the change rooms as the boys huddled together to share warmth, Coach reinforced how proud he was of the intensity and desperation shown by the young team with Ollie  getting a special mention as his “best game ever”.

Back into the cold they ran for another 15 minutes against the wind, and as the clouds started to cry Michael C was throwing himself at the ball with smother, then tackle, smother, then chase and the boys shouted encouragement. Defense was key against the wind and bone crunching tackles and strong contested marking from Wilson Pole was backed up by Eddie “the wall” King consistently clearing the ball from the back line. Highlight of the quarter was Harvey Williams cleverly positioning himself on the chalk between the goals where he used his soccer skills, and his shins, to stop the ball from a certain 6 points as the siren sounded.

As the boys went in for a chat and a snake, the scoreboard could not separate the two teams at 19 points a piece.

Assistant Coach Greg King reminded the tired boys as he held up the board that said “Intensity, Tackling and Teamwork”. They had given their all, the lactic acid was building and their chests were tight. “One more quarter to go lads” came the cry from Coach McNeill.

Great ruckwork by Ben Morgan started the quarter but the Bull Ants must have had more than a giant python in the break as they quickly scored a goal and then a behind and continued to hold the ball down the northern end frustrating the Tigers. The Tigers fought back though with some great hand passing and running play in the dying minutes but ran out of legs, and time.

Final score saw the Preston Bull Ants victorious by a solitary point. Coach McNeill said it all at the end of the full time interview, “There’s not too many times you don’t feel disappointed with a loss by a point, but I am extremely proud of the boys as everyone contributed.”

Round 8 vs Banyule

The Banyule……

The name is too close to The Bunyip, that mystical Yeti-like creature that no-one can seem to get hold of. Some teams make for run-of-the mill meetings, others are starting to strike a chord.

Preston Bullants – we know it’s going to be physical.

Parkside – always a dark cloud hanging over that one due to The Boravic affair

Banyule – they humiliated us in last year’s final & this was to be our chance to prove ourselves  under the new, unwrinkled, fulsome haired, energiser-bunny coach they call Ted.

But that bloody Banyule did it again.

There’s no blow-by-blow account this week (the oval was too big & the parents eyesight isn’t as good as young Ted’s). We thought we were disadvantaged with no-one on the bench, but neither did they. Let’s not wax lyrical about our beautiful son’s talents this week, let’s talk about what the opposition did that we didn’t.

They challenged every ball in the air, we let them have half of them for free. They looked before kicking up-field, we kicked blind, no target, happy to be rid in case the bogey-man caught us. They believed in where they were going, we were short-sighted with no self-belief. They had a couple of lads that could catch Eddie, not something we’re used to.

Not that there weren’t a couple of positives. Timmy Singh only had to raise his hands and the ball flew towards him. Tommy Pelchin kicked his first goal of the season, in his usual under-stated fashion. Harvey built on his ‘big-guy’ status, giving us a solid option either end of the ground with Andrew. Michael executed approximately 362 tackles. And “I like the odds of 3-on-one” Wilson put in a late showing, bringing some Federer style flair to the field & a couple of You-Tubeable moves

So not the pleasant morning in the park like the previous week in Clifton Hill, but the kind of game we can learn from, early in the season, and get our house in order before we inevitably meet that crew in the finals.

Round 7 vs Fitzroy – A Perfect Day Out

What was not to love about our morning in Clifton Hill?

Not a cloud in the sky nor a breath of wind, a peaceful, fenceless oval, egg & bacon rolls on offer and a bunch of excited boys ready to take on the Fitzroy 3’s – a well-drilled team sitting just below us in 3rd place on the ladder.

Despite the fall of the ground giving the home side a first quarter advantage it was a tight, gritty tussle. The boys worked hard across the ground and before long were rewarded with a memorable snap through the sticks by Asher. Although there was plenty of play in our forward line and flashes of speed and brilliance by many, getting scores on the board proved difficult. Alex, Eddie K, Josh M and Freddy were seen breaking out of the packs in style and a screamer by Wilson lifted the spirits of the Richmond cohort. As the siren sounded for the first break the scores were tight with RJFC 7, leading Fitzroy 6.

Coach Ted pleaded with the boys to be “accountable for your man” and as they headed out for the second quarter he urged them to “go in hard in the first 30 seconds- show ‘em you want the ball!”

As the sun continued to shine so too did the Richmond boys. In answer to an early score by the persistent Fitzroy team, Michael displayed mastery in the forward line, booting two valuable goals to give the RJFC team a comfortable lead. The RJFC defence continued to hold up with the tackle count going through the roof. Nick out-positioned the opposition to earn a ripper mark, while Tom P and Timmy made their presence felt across the field and Eddie K performed a ferocious tackle in front of the bench that had the coaches smiling as we headed to the half time break with a comfortable lead RJFC 21, leading Fitzroy 12.

Concerned by the ‘wastefulness in the face of goals’ the half time message was clear, “Back yourselves- convert those strong efforts into scores on the board!” (And make the extended Morgan family happy…)

Spirits were high as the third quarter commenced. Arm-in-arm Ben, Andrew & Lachie marched themselves to the bench proudly coining the phrase ‘bench brothers’. The ‘great wall of RJFC’ continued to hold up against the Fitzroy attacks, with Charlie, Hamish, Ollie and Josh H managing to restrict the opposition to just one major for the quarter. There were happy moments as Alex showed his characteristic flair, Angus snatched a textbook mark and Asher booted a ripping goal from the boundary and the RJFC lead extended to RJFC 35 to Fitzroy 21.

The final term saw another four goals added to the list and it wasn’t just the local birds singing with joy. Across the field the boys followed the advice of coach Ted and ‘backed themselves’. A strong backline mark by Tommy T and clearing efforts by Nick and Paddy paved the way for confident goals up forward to Freddy, Kyle, Ben and Lachie. What a day, what a win and what a great sportsmanlike display! The final scores were RJFC 60 to Fitzroy 28.

Congratulations to Josh H who received the opposition medal and Alex and Lachie who took home the club awards.

Round 6 vs Ivanhoe

When the going gets tough…

It was a cold and windy day with the occasional outburst of sun punctuating a ‘great day for footy’! We lined up at KB Reserve to do battle with Ivanhoe – and by the end of the game it was pretty clear it was indeed a ‘battle’ that unfortunately continued on after the final siren…

Certainly from the onset, we knew it would be a tough game. Kicking against the wind meant we had to dig deep to stop their run of play. It was a dour start, with lots of locking in and scrappy, tough clearances from our boys.

Lachie as Captain led by example, dominating the ruck, yet always ready to dive into the pack as well. Patty, Tommy P, Ben, Nick, Ed Shea and Charlie were all fantastic down back, keeping the scores down in the absence of Josh H and Hamish, and opening opportunities for our ‘mosquito fleet’. Great run from Eddie K, Asher, Angus and Alex, meant we also had the ball in our forward line more than Ivanhoe would have liked. Freddy and Andrew were great focal points, with Andrew unlucky to have only the 2 points for the quarter.

RICHMOND: 0-2-2 IVANHOE: 1-3-9

We continued with our great run and attack on the ball and, as per Ted’s instructions, looked to use the wind to our advantage with penetrating kicks to leads. Within a few minutes Andrew had a quick snap and our first goal rolled through! Ivanhoe regained composure and started to move the ball better – pinpointing loose men and controlling proceedings with precise kicking. It was frustrating to see them control the game, and without Josh M, Lachie and Wilson doing well in the backline, they may have hurt us.

We had more opportunities down forward with Ollie CC, Tim S and Kyle all working hard to keep the ball inside 50. Before long Andrew had snapped a few more points, and Alex on the run was unlucky not to goal. Then out of nowhere, Ben M scored a sensational goal from out of the pack – the result of some great hard fighting and the team backing each other up well. Especially down back where we held them scoreless for the quarter!

Going into half time we were looking good with only one injury to report – a ‘slight hammy’ to one of our best ‘runners’ – Richie, who stoically said he would push through the pain!

RICHMOND: 2-5-17 IVANHOE: 1-3-9

We kept our hard fighting spirit into the 3rd quarter. Charlie went into the Ruck, and Lachie starting at centre half forward marked strongly from another strong clearance from Michael. A big kick into the forward line saw Harvey throw himself on the loose ball, and trying to run on, was ‘necked’ to the ground. From the resultant free kick, the ball held short in the wind where Freddy judged it superbly, marked strongly and kicked truly for a great goal!

Still Ivanhoe came strongly, using the wind to pepper their goals. Even though they notched up two, our defence stood up brilliantly. It was great to see none of the boys ease up on Ted’s call for constant ‘pressure and tackling’, and by the end of the quarter we were level.

RICHMOND: 3-5-23 IVANHOE: 3-5-23

With the wind at our backs again, we were confident for the win. And when Harvey marked just 15 metres out, it looked a certain goal – until the umpire called play on and a miss kick resulted in a point. Shortly after, with the ball on the wing, Lachie was laid flat by one of their players. Richmond players who were in the vicinity flew the flag for Lachie. Notably Angus and Charlie, who made it known ‘you can’t get away with that sort of play against RJFC!’

The incident seemed to lift us – with our captain down, the boys really ramped up their efforts. Michael C was in everything – just missing a goal on the run – and Josh and Patty started finding the ball down back. Eddie K, Angus and Asher were controlling through the centre again, and Charlie and Wilson were providing good carry and strength. Big Tom T then stood up and nailed the crucial goal to put the game beyond doubt – but his delightful kick was nothing compared to the skill of the celebration that came after! The whole team got around him to share the joy – and the victory!

Soon after the siren sounded, some of the Ivanhoe boys didn’t want the game to end… some words and a bit of ‘push and shove’ left a slightly bitter taste to our sweet victory.

RICHMOND: 4-8-3 IVANHOE: 3-5-23

Their coach used his post match address to point out that sort of behaviour has no place in junior football – a sentiment we all agree with. Lachie was deservedly awarded the opposition medal, with Patty and Tom T taking the club awards on the day.

Far from being an unacceptable end to the game – one we all hope won’t happen again – it shouldn’t cast shadow on what was a great game of football, fought by our boys with courage, stamina and willingness to put their bodies on the line for the team and the coach. When the going gets tough… the tigers get going!!

 

Round 4 vs Brunswick

The tigers headed into this match against Brunswick hoping to make amends for a tough game last week. Coach Ted and assistant Chris noted the effort at training this week was much better.

Prematch instructions from Ted – tackle, tackle, tackle. Chris was going to record every tackle from every player.  Tackles win games.  Ted wanted the backs to stand on their players and never lose them, or let them get a kick. If you have a bad kick follow it up and kick it again. From the midfield he wanted a big effort for the first 5 minutes, and from the talls in our forward line he wanted marks that were spilled last week, held on to. And lastly Ted wanted improvements in our leading to the ball. No standing still calling for the ball, run to left, run to right, run to space. Move, don’t call standing still. Present and lead.

With the Coach’s instructions ringing in the players ears they began the 1st quarter. From the first bounce even our runner, Tony looked like he was gliding over the grass, a marked difference from the lead boot effort of last week’s runner. Immediately the ball came out of the middle to the Richmond end, where birthday boy Angus had an unlucky miss. Wilson was marking everything coming into his zone and he kicked our first goal from his 2nd shot on goal. The next goal was also to Wilson but this time the mark was taken by Freddy who unselfishly handed it off.

Then Lachie got his big boot on to a ball to put it straight through the sticks.Ollie was right in the mix in the forward line helping pressure the opposition and trap the ball in. Andrew finished off the dominant quarter with a great mark and goal.

Ted’s quarter time address called for more tackles and congratulated Wilson and Eddie Shea on their great hands. He wanted marks held on to and this is what they had delivered. The second quarter was a different affair to the first, tight contests, lots of packs, a fighting goal to Brunswick, and a couple of points to Richmond. The quarter was notable for Nick Sutton’s effort down forward with a couple of  good kicks. Angus succumbed to illness and was forced to the bench to cough up a lung or two.

Coach Ted noted at half time we were a bit complacent, not manning up enough. He wanted lots of fight in midfield and more talk to team mates, to let them know if they are hot or when they are free to run. Don’t let your team mates get tackled. Assistant coach Chris straight from the 60’s said do it for your mothers. This reporter is thinking his wife Cathryn got a vacuum for mothers day…. Do it for yourselves boys!

And they did. Josh Michaels marked and goaled from Asher’s quick kick forward from traffic.  Tom T with anther goal. Josh Hansen was holding down the backline like the general. A tackle rewarded to Eddie K. resulted in a 40m kick forward to Josh M for his second goal. Then, a repeat from the next hit out as a perfect handball from Lachie fed Eddie K to bomb it 40m into a Josh M in the swing of things calling for it over the back for another fine mark and goal. let’s just say Eddie K was feeding Josh M perfect passes in a way his mother didn’t receive her toast in bed this morning… Forward line pressure led to a goal to Kyle, a reward for his persistent effort to finish the quarter.

At three quarter time Ted made special mention of Michael’s close attention to a key player on the opposition side, and his close checking and tackling aided by Charlie helping maintain the pressure and the ball in forward half. Ted also noted Alex and Hamish’s run from half back was providing the forward line with plenty of ball, and Freddy was continuing his seasons fine form with toughness at the contest and strong hands in the air. Tom P was to be congratulated on his second efforts. Timmy S, was helping trap the ball in the forward line and as always Paddy was the ultimate team player, saving the day by providing a shepherd for much taller team mates against much bigger opponents. He could be our captain every week.

The last quarter began with Richmond heading to their non-preferred end, and Brunswick headed into attack. Luckily Ben was in ruck, then on the last line in defence, took a match saving mark (that could be a slight exaggeration but his mother was standing next to me.. it was however an excellent mark). The highlight of the quarter was undoubtedly Harvey’s  great mark in middle. Followed by second effort from Tommy T working really hard. Hamish and Alex again storming the ball into the forward line. Eddie K scored our only goal this quarter from a snap from the boundary line. Charlie was providing plenty of contest in this quarter in our forward line.

And that ended the game. The Brunswick coach noted they’d had a hard couple of weeks, and hoped we would meet again, but unsure if they would stay in this division. Ted talked about plenty of skills shown from Brunswick and surprised they hadn’t had a win and wished them luck for the future. Our captain for the day Harvey, led the rousing Tigerland song and then Ted mentioned the tackle count was won by, no surprise, Michael. Our tackle machine. But everyone had a couple to their name and that’s what he wanted for the future. Michael’s off to the chicken shop to spend his voucher and we will all back at training on Thursday to train with the same intensity we did this week.

Round 3 vs Surry Park

We will play as we train.

This is the philosophy Ted and I have been trying to instil in the boys each week. High intensity training with lots of voice will translate to the same approach on Sundays.

In this regard, we sensed we might be up against it on Sunday. Training last Thursday was down on both measures and we lacked focus. When I began warm ups with the boys before the game, the voice that had been there the previous two weeks was down and I whispered to Ted that I was concerned we weren’t as ‘up’ as we had been previously.

That said, we played against a very good side who applied immense pressure from the start. Whereas in the previous two weeks, we’d applied the early pressure and caused doubt in our opponents minds, this time it was us feeling the pressure. We were winning enough of the ball, but our kicks were hurried. Our talls were getting to the marking contests but not holding the grabs. Hamish and Alex showed good early run out of the backline, and Josh Michaels and Josh Hansen looked composed in the key defensive positions.

Michael, Asher and Angus in the midfield were winning enough clearances but were continually under pressure and the wall Surrey Park built across a kick behind the play saw our half forward caught out of position and the ball rebounded over and over again. By quarter time, we were three goals down and Ted asked the boys to re-set and focus. As always, the first five minutes would set the tone for the quarter.

Right on quarter time,  our courageous ruckman, Lachie Idle, succumbed to the pain of severs and sat out the rest of the game in the ruck. A decision had to be made quickly on a replacement ruck and Charlie Johnson was thrown into the centre square with little notice.

Take a bow Charlie. You were fabulous in the ruck and around the ground, bursting through packs, laying tackles and putting up a few “don’t argue fend offs”. A really great performance from a boy who looks like he’s enjoying his footy.

We thought we may have had a sniff when Angus burst out of a clearance about 40 out from goal and went long towards goal. So long, in fact, it sailed through at half post height for maximum points. We were finally on the board with a major and seemingly had our tails up.

Alas it turned out to be our only goal for the day. Surrey Park re-applied their pressure at the contest and the boys, while gallant, found themselves out-bodied and out marked. When Harvey copped a hard wack in the stomach region and went off injured we were down to two on the bench.

Eddie King’s run off half back and out of the midfield provided forward momentum with Tim Singh almost making it two goals in three matches. Paddy was busy, Kyle, Tom P and Nick were working hard and both Ben and Freddie worked hard in the air.

Ollie took a nice mark-up forward and, to his credit, looked to attack but, as they were all day, Surrey Park were alert and tackled the running player.

Ed Shea gradually worked his way into the game (his first for the year), Andrew struggled to find the space he had in the first two games but laid a huge tackle late in the game to remind the opposition how dangerous he is and big Tom Timbury ran hard up forward and down back, presenting over and over again.

At the end of the day, the better team on the day won the match comfortably. A shortened (due to team photos), but high intensity, training session awaits on Thursday and a big game this coming Sunday.

Ted and I are very proud of the way the boys have approached the year to date. Their application has been first rate and their sense of team spirit is infectious.

Round 2 vs Parkside

Lots of noise coming from the change room, firing the boys up for their first home game of the 2017 season, before they are led onto the ground by captain Wilson.

Plenty of contested ball taking place through the midfield with solid efforts from both sides.

First shot on goal for Richmond by Kyle was marked by Parkside just short of the goal line.

A strong tackle by Richmond resulted in a stop in play to attend to an injured Parkside player who gallantly got up and walked from the field. Both sides formed up into their huddles for some mid-quarter inspiration.

Great play by Michael forced a turnover in the midfield with a brilliant tackle, leading to Lachie’s long kick to score the first point of the match.

Pressure from the Tigers throughout the forward line was causing headaches for Parkside’s defence. Richmond’s persistence prevailed with a goal by Nick to end the quarter.

Good start to the second quarter by the Roaring Tigers which saw the coaches ‘reluctantly’ give Alex to the opposition, who were short on players; a great demonstration of sportsmanship to the boys.  Still not sure if Alex’s mishap last season of kicking in the wrong direction influenced this decision in any way…

Fantastic defensive wall by Richmond continued to keep Parkside from scoring.

Great play by Charlie through the corridor, resulting in some great attacking pressure saw another point scored by Richmond.

The new kid on the Parkside team was showing some flair with a noteworthy tackle followed by his first ever goal; unfortunately for Alex he was wearing red and white at the time.

Parkside are on the board and Richmond concede their first points for the season.

Eddie takes a shot on goal which dribbles through for a point.

Ball up in the goal square, creating an opportunity for the Tigers sees another goal for Richmond by Ben to close out the first half.

The coach’s half time address drilled into the boys that the first 5 mins is the most important….. Also noted was that the scoreboard is not reflective of the fantastic work that the boys are putting in.

A great play by Kyle through the corridor results in a goal by Andrew.

Another nice mark by Ben ‘Sticky Hands’ Morgan, resulting in a well deserved goal.

Angus stops an aggressive Parkside on attack with a brilliant tackle, taking the player out of bounds.

Strong team play through the corridor with a kick from Josh M. to Kyle. Siren sounds to end the quarter and Kyle takes a set shot on goal which goes straight through the middle.

Back for the final stanza with Angus continuing his strong work through the centre of the ground resulting in a kick to Andrew, who finishes off truly.

Michael’s ongoing efforts through the middle of the ground continued to create opportunities for the Tiges.

Asher’s effort in the air by tapping away from danger is another highlight, whilst Josh M. pulls in a great mark and follows up with a kick along the boundary.

Ben Morgan pulls in another strong mark AGAIN, he simply can’t spill one today…

Final siren sounds to herald a second great win for Richmond.

Final Score

Richmond: 7.5.47 d. Parkside: 2.0.12

Round 1 vs Kew Comets

By DAMON JOHNSTON (Charlie’s dad)   Photos TIM SINGH

BRILLIANT autumn sunshine might have been toasting Victoria Park, but it was raining goals … actually, it was bucketing goals!

Fortunately, they were Richmond Junior Football Club six-pointers as our Under 12 boys got their season off to a flyer, trouncing Kew Comets 19.20 (134) to 0.0 (0).

The comprehensive victory is one of the biggest margins in recent years and reflects a solid pre-season from the boys and the footy smarts of our new coaching team, Ted Lloyd and Chris McNeil.

With a scoreline this big, the boys obviously listened to coach Ted’s pre-game motivational address.

“It’s the first five minutes that sets the scene for the entire game,” he said.

“Get out there, crack in hard at the ball, be united and if you dominate that first five minutes you’ll roll right over them.”

Coach Ted’s other key message was built around team work and doing the little things.

“I want you to be a tight unit. Lot’s of voice. If someone kicks a goal, get around them and give them a pat on the head,” he said.

“And its also the bumps, shepherds, tackles that will win us this game.”

At the first bounce, ruckman Lachie Idle helped get the ball forward and the the team never looked back.

Six unanswered first quarter goals was a fine start, highlighted by Kyle Grieve darting around the forward line and weaving his magic to score two opening term majors. Asher Claney, Patrick Colless, Ben Morgan and Hamish Webb also got on the scoreboard in a very even display.

In the second quarter, Kew lifted and kicked the ball into attack on several occasions but our defenders proved unbeatable with a highlight being Timmy Singh attacking the incoming ball with gusto, keeping it in front, and then booting it back into the centre.

New recruit Wilson Pole scored his debut goal for the Tigers while Kyle snagged his third. But the highlight was a soaring goal square mark to Freddie Butt who split the pack, grabbed the ball, and then slotted the major.

By half time, our Tiger boys held a commanding 10.10 (70) to nil lead.

But then coach Ted deployed his secret weapon, swinging Andrew Alexellis to full forward in the third term.

The Comets had no answer as our mid fielders speared the ball into Andrew who used his strength to dominate the forward line, claiming mark after mark and kicking an amazing four goals for the term.

But it was Josh Michaels who scored the goal of the day with an after-the-siren major from deep in the forward pocket quarter. heading into the final quarter our boys commanded an extraordinary 116-0 lead.

But they must have worn themselves out a bit, as the final term saw just two goals (both to Thomas Timbury) scored.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the day was the respect our boys showed their opponents after the game. In a strong display of sportsmanship, our boys didn’t go “over the top” in celebrating their victory and made a point of congratulating the Comets on their effort.

Well done to all players and coaching staff!