We continue our focus on top individual performances by Richmond Indigenous players past and present, as part of the Club’s ‘Dreamtime at the G’ celebrations this week, with Andrew Krakouer’s sizzling showing against Essendon 17 years ago this month.
Andrew Krakouer was a 20-year-old, playing just his 19th game of football, when he produced a breakout, match-winning performance for Richmond in a big 2003 clash with Essendon at the MCG.
The silky-skilled, small forward emulated his famous football father, Jim, and uncle, Phil, finishing the match with 14 disposals, six tackles and five team-lifting goals.
He was the catalyst for the Tigers defying the odds to topple their arch-rival by 42 points – 11.18 (84) to 5.12 (42).
Although Richmond was fifth on the ladder and Essendon sixth going into this Round 7 encounter on the Saturday afternoon of May 10, the Bombers were warm favourites. This was largely due to the fact that the Tigers were severely undermanned, with star players in captain Wayne Campbell, Matthew Richardson, Brad Ottens and Duncan Kellaway missing through injury.
But young Krakouer stepped up in superb style, much to the delight of the Tiger Army, who had been eagerly awaiting the day he translated his exciting cameo efforts into something slightly more substantial.
The May 2003 match v Essendon pre-dated the blockbuster ‘Dreamtime at the G’ clashes between the two teams. Had Krakouer’s superb showing been in a Dreamtime encounter, there is no doubt he would have been the recipient of the Yiooken Award for being best-on-ground.
Two of Krakouer’s goals came from free-kicks, one from a mark, one was a trademark clever ‘crumb’, and the other a brilliant snap.
After Krakouer had kicked his fifth goal for the afternoon, Channel Ten commentator Michael Christian said: “What a performance from Andrew Krakouer – five goals, two marks, 13 disposals. He has been the difference between the two sides.”
Post-game, Krakouer was typically modest and low-key in assessing his dazzling display.
"It felt great to get a win over the Bombers. I played my role in what was a real team effort and I was pleased with that," he said.
Krakouer became just the second Richmond player outside of gun tall forwards Matthew Richardson and Brad Ottens, to kick five goals or more in a match since Danny Frawley took over as the Tigers' coach in 2000. The only other Tiger to do so during that time was Matthew Rogers.
“I've been practising my goalkicking a bit . . . I was a bit disappointed last week (against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium). I sort of didn't make the most of my opportunities,” Krakouer said.
Goals alone, however, were not how ‘Krak’ wanted to be measured in terms of his value to the Tigers team.
“I go out and try to put a bit of pressure on opposition backs (read six tackles last Saturday) . . . see how many TP's (Team Pursuits) I can get and things like that,” he said.
“If I'm doing that fairly well, all the rest sort of falls into place.”