Kevin Bartlett's 1974 Scanlens' footy card

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tigers’ 1974 premiership, Richmond Media is transporting Yellow and Black barrackers back in time throughout 2024 to follow the Punt Road path to that tremendous triumph. We take a look today at Richmond’s Round 2 match of the ’74 season against Fitzroy at the Junction Oval through the eyes of leading football writer for The Age newspaper at the time, Ron Carter . . .

Take a bow John Duckworth. The applause you got from Fitzroy and Richmond fans alike on Saturday was about the only lot to come the Lions’ way.

Duckworth certainly wasn’t among Fitzroy’s few best players because he was 20th man and played only the last quarter.

But his gigantic kick-offs from full-back, which landed over the centre at the Junction Oval and bounced deep into Fitzroy’s forward line, were worth more than the applause they got.

They were right up to the prodigious standard het set a couple of years ago before he had a serious car accident after which doctors said he would never play football again.

Those doctors should have seen him on Saturday . . .

Fitzroy is hoping it has improved this year and will be a threat to the final five but, looking at its performance on Saturday, it’s hard to see where the improvements are.

For three quarters, the Lions went in hard enough and tried hard enough but were just no match for the Tigers.

Only in the last quarter did they take the game away from the Tigers . . .

For most of the match – particularly the first quarter – Richmond had been master and I have a strong suspicion the Tigers eased up on the Lions in the last quarter.

The opening quarter was a boomer.

Fitzroy skipper John Murphy won the toss, but on coach Graham Donaldson’s orders, did not kick to the scoreboard end, which was obviously the scoring end.

All the proof anyone needed was on the scoreboard at quarter-time – Richmond 8.9, Fitzroy 0.0.

The game was virtually over then.

In the thick of the Tigers’ opening burst was the “comeback kid”, triple Brownlow Medallist Ian Stewart.

Just two days before, Stewart had decided to come out of retirement for another year of League football.

Unluckily for Fitzroy he was back to his old best in a stride – retirement forgotten for this season at least.

A few other “oldies”, such as Kevin Sheedy and Kevin Bartlett, were also out to prove Richmond’s opening round form was all wrong when beaten by Hawthorn.

Richmond’s players moved the ball around with such speed and efficiency that they turned wet weather football into dry. And that’s not easy.

For once in his life, Tiger skipper Royce Hart at full-forward did not contribute to his side’s score to half-time, simply because he couldn’t get a kick.

But four kicks for 3.1 in a five-minute burst in the third quarter was all that was needed to show the Lions he was around.

Richmond players will get the pats on the back they deserve this week from coach Tom Hafey but, after that, Hafey will blast them for shocking kicking for goal.

Only 15 goals from 41 scoring shots was not good enough and they’ll hear about it. 

Match details

Richmond            8.9           9.12        14.23     15.26 (116)         

Fitzroy                     0.0           2.7           4.9           9.13 (67)                                 

Goals – Richmond: Hart 3, Stewart 3, Bartlett 2, Brown, Carter, Green, Sheedy, Sproule, Walsh, Wood.

Leading disposal-winners – Richmond: Bartlett 33, Wood 27, Sheedy 26, Morris 21, Carter 20, Stewart 18.

Best players – Richmond: Bartlett (best on ground), McGhie, Stewart, Sheedy, Wood, Walsh.

Goals – Fitzroy: Wilson 4, Dare, Farnham, Murphy, Richards, Searl.

Leading disposal-winners – Fitzroy: Wilson 26, Miller 23, McCulloch 22, Murphy 22, Padley 22.

Best players – Fitzroy: McCulloch, Wilson, Murphy, Miller Padley.

Attendance: 17,040.