As we prepare for the bounce of the ball to start the 2015 AFL season, Tony Greenberg lists his top 10 Richmond Round 1 memories (in chronological order) during his time as a Yellow and Black barracker...
Round 1, 1966 at Princes Park: Richmond 16.10 (106) defeats Carlton 14.16 (100)
Tommy Hafey makes his senior coaching debut with the Tigers in this clash of the traditional rivals, which is a see-sawing, thriller all the way. When Richmond time-keeper Bill Stanborough goes to push the button to sound the final siren, with the Tigers ahead by a goal, nothing happens. About five extra minutes are played, with each side scoring a goal, before field umpire Don Blew finally sees Stanborough furiously waving his arms, and signals the match is over. John Northey, Paddy Guinane and Fred Swift score three goals apiece for Richmond.
Round 1, 1967 at MCG: Richmond 15.20 (110) defeats Essendon 11.9 (75)
The debut of a 19-year-old key forward by the name of Royce Hart makes this a particularly significant opening round moment for me (and other Tiger barrackers of the ‘Baby Boom’ era). Hart has 14 kicks, takes 10 marks and has 10 shots for goal in an exciting first-up display, which is spoilt only by his inaccuracy (he finishes with 3.7). “Hart showed that he could be the answer to the Tigers’ prayers for a reliable goal-getter. With greater accuracy, he could have kicked eight goals”, was how noted football scribe Tommy Lahiff reviewed Hart’s debut performance in “Footy Week” magazine. Dynamic centreman Billy Barrot boots five goals for the Tigers in their comfortable victory.
Round 1, 1970 at MCG: Fitzroy 16.20 (116) defeats Richmond 14.12 (96)
An historical occasion indeed as VFL football is played for the first time on a Sunday, to commemorate the special visit of Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family. The Tigers enter this season-opener as the hottest of hot favorites, having won the premiership the previous year, while the Lions had finished 10th (of 12 teams) in ’69. Richmond holds a slender five-point lead at the long break, which is extra, extra long this day, as the players line up on the ground to be introduced to the Royal Family. The second half turns out to be a right, royal shocker for the Tigers, with Fitzroy slamming on six goals in the third term and a further five in the last quarter, to pull off an upset win of gigantic proportions. Eric Moore kicks six goals from full-forward for Richmond, and John Northey snares three goals.
Round 1, 1973 at Windy Hill: Richmond 19.15 (129) defeats Essendon 19.13 (127)
The Tigers’ inspirational captain Royce Hart is at his brilliant best, lifting them over the line on the Bombers’ home ground. Hart’s superb six-goal display clearly is the difference between the two evenly-matched sides throughout a high-standard, pendulum-swinging afternoon of football. Richmond finds a couple of unlikely goalscoring partners for Hart in Laurie Fowler and Brian “The Whale” Roberts, who finish with three apiece.
Round 1, 1978 at MCG: Richmond 25.24 (174) defeats Carlton 14.13 (97)
Richmond introduces three newcomers to senior league ranks – Greg Strachan, Dale Weightman and John Einsiedel – and then proceeds to systematically destroy the arch-enemy. David Cloke kicks seven goals, Allan Edwards also bags seven, and Bruce Monteath notches four, as the Tigers comprehensively outscore Carlton in each quarter, to record a runaway 77-point victory.
Round 1, 1979 at Lake Oval: Richmond 19.11 (125) defeats South Melbourne 15.21 (111)
1967 premiership player Tony Jewell makes his debut as senior Richmond coach after putting the Tigers through a particularly gruelling pre-season preparation. It’s also star WA rover Robert Wiley’s first game for Richmond. The Tigers get away to a flying start, with an eight goal to four opening term, only to see South pile on 6.8 to 1.1 in the second quarter. At half-time in the rooms, Jewell is furious, and gives the players an almighty spray. Several of them attempt to hide, but TJ’s rage reaches boiling point, and he sends a clip-board hurtling through the air, narrowly missing decapitating a player or two. Richmond still trails narrowly at three-quarter time, but responds to Jewell’s tongue-lashing with a six goals to three final term, to win by 14 points. The double-pronged forward set-up of David Cloke (five goals) and Michael Roach (four goals) proves too hot for the Swans to handle.
Round 1, 1994 at Western Oval: Footscray 17.11 (113) defeats Richmond 17.9 (111)
Matthew Richardson stamps himself as a piping-hot prospect for the Yellow and Blacks with a brilliant eight-goal display at full-forward in the narrow loss to the Bulldogs on their own “dungheap”. The 19-year-old, who made his senior league debut the previous year, has 12 kicks, takes 10 marks and kicks 8.1 to put a smile on the face of the Tigers, despite the defeat. Richmond trails by 33 points at the last change, but, with “Richo” firing on all cylinders, rallies, to really put the wind up the Dogs. SA pair Matthew Rogers and Jamie Tape impress in their AFL debuts for the Tigers.
Round 1, 2002 at MCG: Richmond 24.11 (155) defeats Collingwood 18.10 (118)
The Tigers set the scene early with a nine goals to four opening term, and are never troubled after that. Matthew Richardson gives the hapless Magpie defence the runaround, finishing with six goals, while his big “partner in crime” up forward, Brad Ottens, steers through four six-pointers. In a particularly even overall team performance, not one Tiger manages to reach the 20-possession mark, the best being skipper Wayne Campbell, Joel Bowden, and Jason Torney, with 19 each.
Round 1, 2004 at MCG: Richmond 14.13 (97) defeats Collingwood 8.9 (57)
Richmond’s boom recruit from the Bulldogs, Nathan Brown, is the catalyst behind the Tigers’ convincing upset win against the 2003 runner-up. Brown has 29 possessions, boots two goals, and scores the three Brownlow votes in an inspirational Yellow and Black debut. Big “Richo” further underlines his reputation as a “first-up” specialist, picking up the two Brownlow votes with a dominant five-goal effort. Ex-Crow Kane Johnson is a ball-magnet, collecting 31 possessions for the Tigers, while Mark Coughlan gathers 22 and Wayne Campbell 21.
Round 1, 2008 at MCG: Richmond 17.7 (109) defeats Carlton 11.13 (79)
Matthew Richardson does it again in the opening round for the Tigers . . . The day after celebrating his 33rd birthday, Richo celebrates with a best-on-ground performance against the Blues. He gathers 13 kicks, grabs 11 marks, and boots five goals, to revive a Richmond side that trailed Carlton at one stage in the second quarter by nearly five goals. The Tigers claw their way to a one-point lead at three-quarter time, then finish all over the Blues in the final term. Nathan Foley and Kane Johnson are the team’s leading possession-winners, with 26 apiece, while Andrew Raines, Joel Bowden, Jordan McMahon (all 22 possessions) and Shane Tuck (20 touches) are also prominent.
Richmond’s Round 1 record
Round 1 matches v Carlton
Drawn: 1 (1960 at Princes Park)
Won in Round 1 and gone on to play finals: 24 times
Highest Round 1 score: 25.24 (174) v Carlton 14.13 (97), MCG, 1978 (D. Cloke 7 goals, A. Edwards 7 goals, K. Bartlett 1.8)
Lowest Round 1 score: 4.4 (28) v Collingwood 11.11 (77), Victoria Park, 1917
Greatest winning margin: 78 points v North Melbourne, Punt Road Oval, 1928
Greatest losing margin: 115 points v Western Bulldogs, Etihad Stadium 2006
Most goals by a Richmond player in Round 1: 8 by Jack Titus v Melbourne, Punt Road Oval, 1934; 8 by Brian Taylor v Fitzroy, Waverley Park, 1982 (was a Round 2 fixture, but it was changed to become the stand-alone season-opener); 8 by Matthew Richardson v Western Bulldogs, Whitten Oval, 1994
Round 1 Richmond matches decided by a goal or less: 16
Most consecutive Round 1 wins: 6 (1931-36)
Most consecutive Round 1 losses: 12 (1983-94)