Blog Home

MCC Members Blog

Back in Town

From the Members Wednesday MAR 31

By Dave Campbell

The Tigers are back in town and so are we!

September 28, 2019. The Grand Final, a triumphant day for Marlion Pickett and the Tigers. Cheers and celebrations on Swan St. And it is the last time I get to see live football at the MCG for a long time.


My daughter Melody and I got a lift in to the game with some friends. Our respective reserved seats meant that we couldn’t sit together in the members, but we swapped war stories along the Geelong Road. I hadn’t got a lift to the opening game since my best friend and his son used to drive me to the Round 1 Richmond v Carlton game. We would be stuck in the MCG carpark after the game while eight year old Edward taunted me about the Tigers’ pitiful showing. The Blues haven’t won an opening round since then, and Edward is now at University.

Getting into the ground was a smooth process. Visitors opened the app, scanned the QR check in code, presented their bags, held out their arms, scanned their phones and cards, and proceeded forward without undue mingling. “Covid normal” in action, I guess.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in Melbourne, perfect for football or doing anything outdoors. The skies were clear blue apart from some smoke that lingered after the fireworks (a Covid-friendly alternative to running through the banner). I admired the perfect chequerboard lawn pattern on the MCG, and wondered whether I should have been back in my own less manicured garden.

We were sitting part-way up Level 4, and I was looking forward to getting the eagle eye’s view of the game. Last week my view had been restricted by the four walls of my TV screen, and this led to many unanswered questions. Had the new “man on the mark” rule really opened up the game, or had players just been fatigued in the first game? Did Richmond play extra numbers behind the ball, and what did that mean anyway?

As the game commenced I got to see the Richmond pressure first hand. Spaces closed quickly, with the constant threat of a smother or tackle. I could see Hawthorn’s fumbling, often at the times when they weren’t actually under pressure. Riewoldt, Balta and Lynch kicked Richmond to a three goal lead. The rest of the game was really just a footnote to this, as the margin stayed roughly the same until the last quarter.

The ball was deep in Richmond’s backline when a man emerged onto the stairs balancing three pots of beer in a cardboard tray. He paused and looked at the cardboard tray, which looked like it should have four pots in it. He weaved back and forward, hesitating. Meanwhile I had no view of the backline. Richmond cheers [intercept mark?] … Surprised gasps [release kick turned over?] … Triumphant roars [Hawthorn snap at goal curls through?] For more information see someone with a television.

Richmond increased the margin early in the last quarter, but a Hawthorn flood, and Richmond’s inability to think their way through it, meant that scores were curtailed. The only point of interest was whether Dusty would score another goal himself after handing off goals to all seventeen other team-mates. And what it would be like to sing “Yellow and Black” outside of our lounge room.

The sun was still shining when we arrived back home in Geelong. There was something warm in the oven and strewn about were cardboard cutouts of Jack, Dusty and Tom that hadn’t made it into our backpacks. I needed to ring extended family about tomorrow morning’s ticket allocation for next week’s game. The garden could wait.

Dave Campbell

Dave Campbell has watched some Richmond Premierships on television, some live at the ground and was happy with all of them. He is a Physics and Environmental Science teacher in Geelong, where there are a surprising number of Tigers supporters. He is a keen cyclist and doesn’t use a car much except when driving his daughters to engagements.