Preview Round 5 - Richmond vs eeny, meeny, miny, Melbourne: Channel 7, Sunday July 5, 3:35 pm

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Shadowthorn

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Surprise, Surprise

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Well, this was certainly unexpected.

It's a sentence that could describe almost anything in 2020, from deadly viruses and killer hornets to sudden social movements. It turns out football is no exception. While we expected a five-day break heading into a do-or-die clash with fellow former flag fancies (try saying that fast ten times), West Coast, we instead get to play the predictably-rubbish Melbourne after an eight-day break.

Ever the optimist, I told myself that a short break and an interstate trip was exactly what the boys needed. Now I'm telling myself we could use the long break to reset and find some form, with the boys spurred on by Trent Cotchin's hatred of the Demons and their arrogant players. Which scenario is actually better for the struggling Tigers? We'll never know.

My "Friend" Kevin or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Coronavirus

That's right, in a preview written by a 22-year-old you get a reference to a movie that came out the same year Melbourne last won the premiership. You're welcome, reader.

There was a particular reason I wanted to do the Melbourne preview, and it's because I have quite an odd relationship with Richmond vs Melbourne games. We've had some great wins over the Dees over the last few years. 2017's come from behind in the pouring rain, Jack's six goals giving us five wins to start the season. The 2018 demolition where we broke them in the last quarter. Stack's bump on Viney during another thrashing last year. In our second match-up, it was an arm wrestle in the wet before we pulled away and Tom Lynch kicked his 300th goal.

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To a normal Richmond fan, these games would have been fantastic to watch. For me, they are marred by one thing: my "friend" Kevin.

Kevin and I went to high-school together. Truth be told, I felt bad for the guy most of the time. He's socially awkward, doesn't understand boundaries and is almost definitely somewhere on the spectrum. His heart's in the right place, but when you spend more than five minutes with the guy it's immediately apparent why he doesn't have many friends.

So imagine sitting with him for three hours. You see, Kevin is a hardcore Demons fan. I'm a massive Richmond fan. He knows that I'll be at every Melbourne vs Richmond game, so naturally, he always wants to sit together. I don't have the heart to say no. There proceeds the most agonising three hours of my year. He acts like he's in the Melbourne cheer-squad even when we're sitting around a hundred Tiger fans. While it's somewhat entertaining, the second-hand embarrassment is almost enough to kill me. Truly painful stuff.

That's just when he's not talking about politics and religion. FYI, he's a Flat Earther because of how the Bible describes the 'firmament' and he believes that you can't spread COVID because it's something our bodies create to get all of the rubbish out of our systems. When you catch COVID from somebody else it's because you were expecting to get it, like the world's dumbest placebo.

And that's why I'm grateful for COVID-19 and the lack of crowds, for this week only. I hate not going to the footy as much as anyone, but this week it will be nice to just watch the game and think about how I could be sitting with Kevin instead. Thanks, COVID-19.

What's that? You came here for a preview on the game, not a personal rant about my friend Kevin? Oh, very well, if it's that important to you.

Melbourne's Season So Far

I haven't actually watched any Melbourne games this year, so this will be pure speculation on my part.

By combining Titus O'Riley's 'Highly Unhelpful Guide' and 'Monday Knee Jerk Reaction' posts, along with some deductive reasoning on my part, I can conclude with 100% certainty that Melbourne is not very good this year. Not only were the Demons terrible last year, but they also lost to Geelong last weekend. Normally that would be no big shock. Geelong is usually a good team. Keyword: usually. In round 3 they lost to Carlton at Kitty Litter Park, and we all know that Carlton is no good. Therefore, the Demons must be even worse than Carlton. While the Demons have actually beaten Carlton this year they tried their best not to, giving up a 42 point lead and barely scraping over the line.


Point is, they are not very good. That's the good news.

Richmond's Season So Far

The bad news is that we aren't very good either. Richmond came out in Round 1 and beat Carlton to a pulp in the first half, at one point leading by as much as 51 points. Then that pulp got up and threw its best punch at us, with the Tigers able to withstand and running out victorious by 24 points (note: we did not scrape over the line by one measly point). We only looked good in the first half of that game, and since then the Richmond team has gone missing.

Our first quarters against Collingwood and Hawthorn were woeful. From there we never looked a chance in either game, although we managed to grind out a draw against the Pies and tried our best to mount a comeback against the Hawks. Tom Lynch missing a set shot from 15 metres out directly in front pretty much sums up this year.


When Shane Edwards tried his best to beat Brett Delidio's record for fastest-ever AFL goal in a game, putting the ball through the big sticks 12 seconds after the opening bounce, it seemed our first quarter worries were over. We then gave up the next four goals and from there we were playing catch-up all day. At times we looked a chance, but it was obvious that something was lacking still. We continued to miss targets by hand and foot, fumble and fail to stick a tackle. Nankervis showed why he deserves to be in the team and a few others played well, but for the most part, this Richmond team continues to look a shadow of its 2017-2019 self. To St Kilda's credit, they looked brilliant.

Without a doubt, last week saw improvement. We kicked 67 points, as opposed to 36 and 39 in previous weeks, which means our forward line is working a little harder. Our defence and our midfield need to lift if we're to walk away with the four premiership points this weekend.

Possible Changes?

While we all thought Sydney Stack had killed Jack Viney last year, apparently their former co-captain is still alive. Will Stack get a chance to finish the job this time? Possibly not, given his poor form in recent weeks. Many players in the team need to lift, a few of which include Riewoldt, Lambert and McIntosh, and we can't won't drop all of them.

Who could come into the side? Chol had a great game in what remains of the reserves, so he could give us some extra height up forward and provide a desperately-needed second ruck option. Balta has been playing well also. Pickett and Graham apparently responded well to being dropped, but we may not want to bring them straight back in. Naish has also been playing really well this year. I'll tip Naish and Chol to come in for McIntosh and Stack.

Edit: David Astbury is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a knee injury, so expect Garthwaite or Balta to be his replacement, with Miller as an outside possibility.

Prediction?

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This week I expect World War III to be announced along with a NASA discovery that the sun is about to explode. However, the AFL and Gillon McLachlan will hold a press conference stating that football will find a way through these difficult times with games to continue.

On Saturday afternoon Gold Coast will upset Geelong at Kitty Litter Park, winning 235 to 0 in a game many suspect was fixed. Gold Coast will find themselves barely on top of the ladder, ahead of Port. At exactly 7:39 pm, just before the bounce to start Brisbane vs Port, Gillon McLachlan will announce that the season is cancelled effective immediately with the premiership cup given to whichever club currently sits on top of the ladder. All Brownlow votes will be counted. Gold Coast have their first premiership and Matt Rowell becomes the youngest-ever player to win a Brownlow.

Therefore our game isn't going to happen, meaning there's no point predicting a result.

Note: On the off chance that this game actually happens, it's on channel 7 in Victoria and anywhere other than the ACT, NSW, SA and WA.
 
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smurfin

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According to the AFL broadcast guide, although that may be for Victoria only.
Thanks.
I had checked, but for some reason it was set to ACT and didn't show it on channel 7.
Changed it to Vic and thankfully you are correct.
Can invite my dickhead Melbourne supporting mate around, get drunk and hang sh*t on each others team.
 

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tiger_tough

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In: Naish, Garthwaite, Dow, Balta
Out: Stack, Astbury, Ross, Lambert

Caddy either needs to be dropped or moved to the forward line. We're getting smashed on the wings. Play him as the 2017 undersized full forward and put Naish on the other wing with Kmac. Jack to half forward. Balta to roam half back and chop out as 2nd ruck

FB:....Broad.....Garthwaite....Baker
HB:....Houi........Grimes.......Vlastuin
C:......KMac.......Cotchin......Naish
HF:....Edwards.....Lynch.......Riewoldt
FF:....George......Caddy.......Bolton
R:.....Nank........Dusty........Prestia
I/C:...Balta.....Dow....Short....Higgins
 
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