Happy Snap #19 Punt Rd, Dan Minogue & some pencils

My five year old daughter the other night asked whether the olden days were in black and white. I think we may have all had that moment as children, our only links with the past being the old black and white photographs we peered at curiously. Well sifting through some old things at my parents the other day, I came across this drawing I did as a teen, and was reminded of my reasons for drawing it. I wanted to bring to life an old black and white photograph of a Richmond v Fitzroy match from 1922, with captain Dan Minogue taking a mark in outstretched arms.

Whilst I’m not particularly pleased with the ‘trees of Yarra Park’ (I clearly had lost interest by this point, a common theme with myself and drawings) I made amends, in my mind at least, with the detail on the old grandstand, when my interest in the project was clearly at a peak. Below is the original snap, photographer unknown.

The result that day was Richmond 5.10.40 to Fitzroy 3.14.32, an aggregate of 8.24! Perhaps goalkicking accuracy isn’t so bad these days. Richmond having won the previous two VFL flags, and Fitzroy claiming their 7th later this year, it was fair to say the two clubs were a big deal at the time!

Punt Road 2000's

I took a photo from the same spot-Williamstown v Coburg, mid 2000's

Note: The grandstand…since renamed the Jack Dyer Stand, was opened in 1914, with a substantial addition in 1927. And Tiger fans…look out for my upcoming post on the Punt Road Oval! The more recent photo shows where the stand extenstion begins to the left.

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Happy Snap #18 Me, Lamby and Sis

The year was 1991, and Craig Lambert had just taken out the Richmond best and fairest award. This is long before the current day glitz and glamour of club Best & Fariests, complete with live streaming on the club websites. This was pretty much a sausage sizzle under a tent with 100 or so people around.That’s me on the left, Lamby in the middle and my sister Mezz on the right. Contrary to the lies I told my sister, that is not David Cloke in the background!

So that’s me in my dorky early 90’s Richmond attire… I would’ve worn Tiger jocks had they been available. Note my sisters Trent Nicholls badge atop her hat, her favourite player at the time, while Flea Weightman’s badge is close to my heart. The following year saw me don Lamby’s number 4, and as I had a long sleeve jumper, this felt authentic. It was with sadness that another Tiger hero of mine left at the end of 1993, but I followed his career with interest, much as I did with Stuey Maxfield in Sydney.

Best & Fairest 1991 style…Nev Crowe presents a double-denimed Scott Turner as Cameron Schwabb stands extreme left. Le far left players are Jeff Hogg, Lamby, Flea Weightman, old man Cloke and I think Craid Smith.

Wayne Campbell & Me

It all caught up with me. There I was with my sister and our better halves on the terraces at Kardinia Park, in tears. It was Wayne Campbell’s 297th and final match for the Richmond Football Club, and the only occasion that the emotions have gotten the better of me at the footy in the form of tears. There were a number of factors involved at the culmination of that match.

Firstly, there was very narrow defeat at the hands of the more fancied Geelong. We hadn’t won down at Kardinia Park since 1990, the year before Campbell debuted for the Tiges. But I’ve seen many a similar loss with no tears.

Secondly, it all came home that the much maligned Campbell had really given his all for the club, and did the honourable thing of bowing out just three games shy of the illustrious 300 figure.

And thirdly, it made me feel old and nostalgic. Not a lot of people know this, but Wayne Campbell and I debuted for the mighty Richmond Football Club on the same day in 1991 against the old Fitzroy at Princes Park. Wayne donned the number 46 for the seniors, and I the number 6….for the little league. What a thrill.

 

My ticket to Wayne Campbell’s first and last matches. They don’t make tickets to last these days!

I was actually below the cut-off age to be playing, but the guy running the Laburnam Footy Clinic (pre-branding), Kevin O’Mally, told a fib about my age and got me a game. As the lone Richmond fan amongst a sea of Hawks, Bombers and Pies, he must have pitied me.

You’re going to have to take my word for it but that’s me circled, a fair bit smaller than everyone else, running from the ground having just played for the Tiges. I kicked a point with what was the only possession that I can recall having.

We were bundled up into the Heatley Stand for the first quarter and a half, me being the only one in my team who was invested in the match. We circled the boundary before half time and headed into the musty old rooms to change, where a few reserves players were still gathered. I remember hearing the roar of the crowd, and desperately hoping it was for a Richmond goal.

The match itself was a blur and I remember little other than struggling greatly with the water bottle, the likes of which I’d never used before. Coughing and spluttering ensued. As I took my place with mum and dad after ‘my’ match, I learned that they had situated themselves behind two of the most obnoxious and loud mouth Roy supporters that ever lived. Luckily we got up.

Mum took this snap from their position in the forward pocket

But back to Wayne Campbell. You can see him above in game one, positioned perfectly for the hit out from the ruckman. Number 46 remember. Reading the game and being a step ahead were clearly natural to him from day dot.

Campbell in game one attempting to spoil Brett Stephens from Fitzroy, the old Gardiner stand in the background. I didn’t get a run in the paper! (Herald-Sun, 1991)

‘Cambo’ wasn’t my favourite player, but the more I reflect on his career, the more I appreciate him. Amongst 4 club best and fairests and club captaincy, he polarised Tiger fans, for reasons I could never understand. He was instrumental in driving Richmond up the ladder in the latter part of 1994 and in 1995 he finished the home and away season as Brownlow favourite.The back end of the 1999 season saw the Tiges really struggle, but Campbell really shone at this time showing great leadership.

I thought Campbell was tough and put his body on the line, prepared to take physical punishment so as to release team mates into space. But his ‘footy brain’ was his strength, his adequate skills aided by his decision making. At times you could literally see his brain ticking over, thinking one or two moves ahead.

Yet it’s Wayne’s loyalty which I value most. He could well have left for greener pastures, and from a professional point of view, perhaps should have. But he stayed. When handed the captaincy in 2001, to the disgust of many Tiger fans given he replaced Matthew Knights, one of his first acts as skipper was to fly the flag for the man he replaced. Tony Liberatore king hit Knights behind play, and Campbell stood up against Libba both physically and with words throughout the week, breaking the ‘players code’ of silence.

Campbell and Knights remonstrate with Libba – Image from http://oneeyed-richmond.com/history/every_dog_has_its_day/camboknighterlibba.jpg

So I cried a bit when Wayne finished up, getting to that age where I was seeing blokes retire whom I remembered playing their first games. Slowly l am getting used to that. As Campbell started his career, I still had stars in my eyes of one day representing Richmond, unable to acknowledge the slim chances that faced me.

Watching Wayne trudge off for the last time, head in hands, was like a sledgehammer reminding me that I would never make it, and it struck me how hard he had worked in his career for no success. Sometimes this game isn’t fair. Wayne Campbell, it was a pleasure having you represent my footy club.

The final training session 

Happy Snap #14 – Punt Road panorama circa 1966

With the announcement that Richmond’s famous and fantastically located Punt Road Oval is set to undergo a significant redevelopment, I thought it appropriate to share with you some old pics that my dad took. He often bemoans his lack of forsight in taking a camera to the footy in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, but there were three significant occasions he thankfully documented.

One occasion was his photos post siren of the 1967 grand final, another from Kevin Barlett’s 400th match, both times taken from the middle deck of the old Northern Stand. The other is slightly more obscure, but none-the less significant. Dad, a teen at the time, had heard rave reports of the Tigers new signing from Tassie, Royce Hart. So he headed to Punt Road for the Richmond intra-club match, and was so excited that he brought his camera. Dad took several snaps from the recently demolished cricketers stand, and luckily he took enough that I was able to piece them together some years ago to form the below panoramic view of Punt Road circa 1966.

Apologies for my unfinished photoshop work…I haven’t had the time to do a better job of it! On my list of things to do! Pretty long list that!

Here are Tony Greenberg’s recollections of the following years intra-club, on richmondfc.com.au.

http://www.richmondfc.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/6301/newsid/108329/default.aspx

Happy Snap #12 My favourite Player

Stuart Maxfield and yours truly, circa 1994…as if the hair cuts didn’t give that away!

I think that this photograph speaks for itself. The year is 1994. It is my 13th birthday. As a gift of sorts, I was taken to Richmond training at Punt Road. Of course, training was still a Tuesday  and Thursday night affair hence all the darkness.

Richmond had just won four matches on the trot, in what was to that stage by far the most successful and exciting period I had encountered as a young Richmondite. The boys had just defeated Adelaide at Football Park, a year after being embarrassed at the same venue by 137 points. We went on to finish 9th….a joke now but a vast improvement at the time.

Stuart Maxfield. I have never had a player before or since I have loved as much. This may seem odd to some while others may relate. He was scruffy and a bit wild. He thumped the ball onto his boot in the strangest of fashions, and when it worked he could thump it 65 metres. At times it didn’t work but that didn’t bother me. I had his number 27 on my short sleeved guernsey. I bought the numbers and sewed them on myself. The 7 fell off.

I was heartbroken when, after season 1995, which had been a wild and heady time for this young Tiger, both he and coach John Northey departed Punt Road… Stu to Sydney and Northey to Brisbane. And so it came to be that in 1996, I ventured to Waverley Park to see Maxfield in red and white take the field against Richmond. A truly odd sensation. But the game is the game, and once the ball was bounced, it was only a Richmond victory that occupied my thought.

However I did smash my flag in two pieces at the games conclusion, perhaps a mixture of anguish that Chris Bond’s ‘winning’ goal had been disallowed and the subconscious stress of watching my favourite player running around for the opposition.

Seeing Stuart Maxfield named as captain of the Sydney Swans late in his career gave me a sense of pride. Although I’d far prefer that he’d stayed at Tigerland, he sensed that Sydney would provide him with more options, and it appeared to happen that way. It would have been lovely to see him lift the Swans 2005 premiership cup aloft, yet injury cruelled him at the wrong time. I still comfort myself with the fact that he was officially the captain of a club the year it won a premiership.

Stu Maxfield…a fine footballer.

Photo taken by mum…Joy Carr

Nice Statistic #5 Richmond’s Tassie Gold

As North Melbourne are set to embark on their Tasmanian experiment this weekend with their first home match at the picturesque Bellerive Oval, my mind wandered down to the Apple Isle and it’s impact on Australian Football. The names Nash, Hudson, Balldock and Stewart are uttered with great reverence, such is their standing in our game.

Though recent years have seen Hawthorn, St.Kilda and now North call Tasmania it’s second home, it is my club, Richmond, who appears to have a special connection with Tassie, especially when it comes to the glamour forward.

 Now this is a little strange. From 1967 through to the present day, there have been just three years in which Richmond’s attack has not been spearheaded by a Tasmanian.

 -Royce Hart 1967-1977

-Michael Roach 1977-1989

 -Matthew Richardson 1993-2009

-Jack Riewoldt 2007-?

 Sure, that’s really something. But consider the patterned symmetry of their guernsey numbers-

That’s right… there’s certainly something in the waters down at Punt Road. Yet even more eerily, consider their names…

Royce, Roach, Richo, Riewoldt! The four Richmond R’s! What’s going on here? Is it the ghost of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger leading all these key forwards to Tigerland? Who can be sure?

 

 I have mentioned the symmetry of jumper number, name and position, however there is clearly one piece of the puzzle still missing. Will Richmond recruit a Tasmanian key forward in ten years time, whose name begins with ‘R’ and will he be given the number 4 guernsey? Time will tell.

Now Brendan Gale (proud Tasmanian and Richmondite), there’s a task for you! A tradition worth preserving.

PS. Not only have these players contributed to the Richmond cause, the three players whose careers have been completed were bestowed the honour of making the Tasmanian Team of the Cenruty. Can you spot Royce, Roach and Richo?

PPS. Off the very top of my bonse…I’ve also thought of Benny Gale and Justin Plapp as other Tassie forwards to grace Richmond’s forward line. Who have I missed and who are your favourites?

This post was proudly brought to you by the letter R and the numbers 4, 8 & 12!

With a little help from my friends…
All the stats –http://stats.rleague.com/afl/afl_index.html
Royce pic-http://www.richmondfc.com.au/Portals/0/images_richmond/100%20Moments/Brave%20acts/BAOTC_Hart.jpg
Roach pic- http://www.oztradingcards.com/USERIMAGES/roach78.jpg
Richo pic-http://images.theage.com.au/ftage/ffximage/2009/05/10/richo_highfive_narrowweb__300x375,0.jpg
Riewoldt pic- http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2010/12/14/1225971/137581-jack-riewoldt.jpg
Tassie Team of Century pic- http://www.jcap.com.au/images/jc/TAS-TOTC-med.jpg

Happy Snap #10

Today marks the beginning of the VFL-AFL’s 116th season, the start of what I believe is a new era in Australian Football. Though I’m now 30 years old, the first day of a season brings out the excitable little boy in me. As such, I thought I’d share with you a picture I drew when I was in grade prep (1987). My imagination had already been completely captivated by football, as is seen in my old school books kept by mum. Football everywhere. It also seems fitting to post this picture as my own daughter has just started prep, and I can’t help but consider the change in life, school and more importantly, football! (Wife cringes)

Note the players names I’ve written down…Dyyl Watmen (Dale Weightman) Muc Lee (Mark Lee) Daved Bolters (David Bolton) Woree Capu (Warrick Capper) and Greg Wilyms (Greg Williams). Also note in the background my fascination with cheersquads! Thanks to mum for keeping this…and even dating it! Enjoy