To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Tigers’ 1980 premiership, Richmond Media is transporting Yellow and Black barrackers back in time throughout 2020 to follow the Punt Road path to that fantastic flag triumph. Today, we take a look at ‘The Age’ football writer Trevor Grant’s review of Richmond’s Round 18 match of the ’80 season against Footscray at VFL Park, which took place on Saturday, August 2 before a crowd of 18,282.
“Like the rest of us, Dick Clay wrapped himself in his warmest clothes and took a blanket and flask of hot soup to help him endure the miserable conditions at VFL Park on Saturday.
Clay the former top Richmond wingman and defender who retired four years ago, had gone to see how his old side would deal with the expected threat from Footscray.
He likes watching football these days, especially when the Tigers win by 115 points as they did on Saturday. But he would admit to more than a little envy, and maybe discomfort, after the performance of one of the major contributors.
As Clay sat in the grandstand sipping his minestrone, his old wing partner Francis Bourke set about shredding the opposition forwards into little pieces.
By rights Bourke, at 33 and the victim of a serious knee injury several years ago, should have been up there with Clay . . . or at least struggling to hold his place in the reserves.
But he has defied the norm for many seasons and proved on Saturday that he is not about to stop doing so. He is still able to appear as quick as his fledgling opponents because he knows how to conserve energy and think swiftly. And he is still able to deliver one of the most effective tackles in the business.
Richmond coach Tony Jewell, another former playing partner of Bourke’s is as puzzled as the rest as to why he retains his keen edge for the competition after all these years. “He gets crook on you if you don’t make sure training is really hard every night,” Jewell said.
“He’s just so different to what you would expect from somebody his age. He gives such great inspiration to the rest of the team.”
Bourke sees it a little more simply. “I just wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t playing League footy on Saturdays.”
On Saturday he gave much more than inspiration to Richmond. The two players Footscray was looking to for a platform upon which to build victory were centre half-forward Kelvin Templeton and full-forward Shane Loveless.
Templeton managed to get away from Tiger centre half-back Jim Jess sufficiently to kick four goals and rate as Footscray’s best player. But he couldn’t do it on his own, and thanks to Bourke, he got no help from Loveless.
Loveless, who has gained a reputation in a short time for being a reliable goal-getter, looked totally over-awed by Bourke, but Footscray assistant coach Frank Goode laughed when asked if this could have been the case.
“Shane is not the sort of boy to be over-awed by anybody.” Goode hinting that the new full-forward has a healthy opinion of himself.
If he wasn’t over-awed at the start of the game, he had every reason to be so at the final siren.
So did most of the Footscray side, which after thrashing Hawthorn the week before for its fourth win of the season, was considered a chance to cause a surprise against the premiership favorites.
Those thoughts were eliminated two minutes into the match. Michael Roach, Richmond’s full-forward, who has the potential to one day rank with Pratt, Coleman and Hudson, plucked two marks just outside the square and, as expected, applied his usual unerring accuracy both times.
Before too long Richmond had 11 goals on the board and a 59-point lead at quarter time. Our interests, by then, had turned to the matches at Victoria and Kardinia parks and discussion as to whether Teofilo Stevenson would be knocked off his perch in Moscow (Olympic Games) later in the evening.
We were momentarily jolted back to VFL Park with one of the finest individual goals of the year. Naturally, it was Roach who provided it.
Striding out like the 1976 version of Alberto Juantorena, he charged after the ball towards the outer half-forward flank with team-mate Emmett Dunne and a couple of Footscray defenders.
Roach’s pace got him to the target first, but the problem was how to get around his pursuers. Dunne offered some help, but it was left to the full-forward to thread his way through and then, from the boundary line 55 metres out, calmly steer through Richmond’s 18th goal 10 minutes into the second half.
It was back to sleep as Richmond cruised to its second victory of more than 100 points over Footscray this season. Roach kicked four goals more to reach 10 for the day and a season tally of 90. (From the 10-minute mark of the third quarter, to the end, he got five of his side’s six goals).
Many of the 10 looked simple enough. But didn’t we used to say the same about Hudson? More credit should be given to Roach for putting himself in the position to make the goals look simple.”
Richmond 11.6 15.8 19.14 23.18 (156)
Footscray 2.1 5.2 5.3 6.5 (41)
Goals – Richmond: Roach 10, Monteath 3, Bartlett 3, Dunne 2, Wiley, Raines, Wood, Cloke, Wall.
Best – Richmond: Bourke, Raines, Wiley, Weightman, Roach, Smith, Monteath.
Goals – Footscray: Templeton 4, Hawkins, Jennings.
Best – Footscray: Templeton, Hawkins, Jennings. Morrison.