Richmond extracted sweet revenge for its shock 1972 Grand Final loss to Carlton on this day 48 years ago.
September 29, 1973 was the Tigers’ “Day of Atonement” – a 30-point win in the premiership-decider against the Blues (16.20 to 12.14), after equalling the competition’s previous record Grand Final score 12 months earlier as the hot favourites, but still coming up 27 points short in a remarkable goal frenzy (22.18 to 28.9).
It was the dynamic duo of Kevins – long-time, close mates Bartlett and Sheedy – who led Richmond’s irresistible charge that last Saturday in September ’73.
Sheedy, the tough, uncompromising back pocket-turned wily, rugged ruck-rover, set the tone early for the Tigers.
He kicked all of Richmond’s three goals in the first quarter and was superb across the full four quarters.
The then 25-year-old, in his 135th game of league football, finished the match with 24 disposals (17 kicks, seven handballs) and three goals (3.3). Interestingly, he was awarded a game-high five free kicks by sole field umpire Ian Robinson, but also gave away six frees.
Bartlett, as he had done for the Tigers in their 1967 and 1969 Grand Final triumphs, rose to the enormous occasion brilliantly.
At 26 years of age, and in his 180th game, he ran himself ragged in his roving role right throughout the contest, picking up 26 disposals (26 kicks, zero handballs) and booting a goal.
The performances of Bartlett and Sheedy on league football’s biggest stage in the ’73 Grand Final prompted plenty of praise from their esteemed Tiger premiership teammate Francis Bourke.
In a special column for The Age newspaper on the Monday after Richmond’s flag success, “St Francis” wrote about “KB”: “Kevin Bartlett is incredible: fast, elusive, indestructible (and he did cop a few). What can you say about him that hasn’t been said already, at least a thousand times.
“The way he just kept on running and running and running, especially in the last quarter when everybody had had it.”
And this is what he had to say about “Sheeds”: “Kevin Sheedy. Now there’s a man with guts. He was magnificent. He really set us on the road to victory in the first quarter with creative handball, shepherding, plain hard, slogging work and, of course, those invaluable three goals.”