Richmond outclasses Western Bulldogs by 41 points to kick off AFL’s 20-day festival of footy

Richmond has sounded an ominous warning to its rivals by demolishing the Western Bulldogs by 41 details in Carrara, as the AFL enters a time period of 33 matches in just 20 times.

The Tigers, who ended up devoid of premiership gamers Daniel Rioli and Jack Graham or the wounded Nick Vlastuin, blew the Bulldogs absent in a dominant opening 50 % prior to likely on to seal a 13.12 (90) to 7.7 (49) get.

The Tigers’ fifth get of 2020 lifts them up to third on the ladder, as the AFL embarks on what has been explained as a “festival of footy” in a desperate effort to get the period finished.

As well as the four competitiveness points, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick will be delighted with a dominant screen by superstar midfielder Dustin Martin.

The twin Norm Smith medallist was at his most effective, kicking 3 ambitions and selecting up 26 disposals in a dominant performance.


Tall forward Tom Lynch also shook off some of his the latest slumber, kicking two ambitions for the Tigers.

The Tigers set up their win with 10 targets to a few by 50 %-time, with Jake Aarts kicking three plans and Jason Castagna buying up two majors and seven marks.

Mitch Wallis ongoing his good form in entrance of intention for the Bulldogs with 3 targets, when Laitham Vandermeer had two for the evening.

Actively playing in his 150th match, Bulldog Jackson Macrae was active in a nicely-crushed group, foremost the match with 37 disposals.

Introducing to the Bulldogs’ ache, they dropped Matt Suckling in the opening expression to a hamstring injury, building a range headache in advance of Monday’s match versus ladder-foremost Port Adelaide.

The Tigers will be out to create on their performance on Tuesday when they participate in 2nd-put Brisbane in Carrara in the third of 4 matches in 16 times for the reigning premiers.


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The AFL’s 20-day Festival of Footy is here. Follow these tips if you want to survive it

Cancel your dinner plans and settle into that couch groove, because the AFL’s rona-enforced Festival of Footy is upon us.

That’s right, for the next 20 nights you can switch on your telly and be guaranteed to find high-quality (maybe) footy action as the game’s biggest stars (sometimes) go head to head for the ultimate (not really) prize.

The unpredictability and instability of Australia’s coronavirus situation has forced the league to cram four rounds into just under three weeks, concocting this unprecedented football extravaganza that falls somewhere between a broadcaster’s dream and a coach’s nightmare.

How will it all play out? Nobody really knows. The cocktail of hubs and quarantine and four-day breaks and injuries that is about to be mixed is completely new, and we’re all left guessing how it will actually taste and how sick it will leave us the following morning.

The Western Bulldogs AFL coach leaves the field after a quarter-time address with his players in the background.
Coaches will have to get creative in managing their players through this period.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

But for us fans, for whom the greatest personal risk is that the batteries in our TV remotes go flat, it’s the unknown that makes it fun. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t come home after a shocking Wednesday at work and wished they could unwind with a nice bit of Geelong-North Melbourne at the Gabba?

Still, there are steps we can all take to make sure we get the most of out of this marathon and to avoid suffering from the dreaded footy fatigue.

Avoid the overreactions

Internally, most clubs will abide by a theory that states things are never as good or as bad as they seem. Basically, the world isn’t crumbling after every bad loss, and a five-year dynasty is not on the horizon after every good win.

Externally, that is very much not the case. The natural tendency is to take each team’s most recent game and then wildly extrapolate that data to create sweeping and definitive judgements, before immediately forgetting those judgements and starting afresh once a new round begins.

A group of AFL players walk off looking glum after losing a match.
The Hawks are struggling at the moment, but in this of all years, things can turn quickly.(AAP: Craig Golding)

That’s easy to do when there is an entire week of space to fill between games, but you can bet it will still happen even with this compressed schedule.

Avoiding getting sucked into these boom-or-bust cycles is going to be crucial to enjoying the next 20 days, because you’ll confuse yourself to the point of exhaustion. That team that you wrote off on Tuesday? They just had a big win on Sunday and looked a million dollars again.

It’s a ‘go with the flow’ kind of season. Enjoy each game as its own little standalone contest and then worry about your crystal ball predictions once things have settled down a little.

Find a new way to watch the game

Granted, our physical and technical means of watching footy are pretty limited — we are at the mercy of what Channel Seven and Fox Sports deliver us, and as Russell Jackson so perfectly laid out, that’s not always ideal.

So it’s up to us to do some eyeball improvisation — and you’d be surprised what switching your own focus can do when watching the footy.

An AFL player handballs the ball as a defender tries to grab him from behind.
Intelligent players like Hugh McCluggage do some of their best work away from the ball.(AAP: Darren England)

Our natural inclination is to follow the ball, right? Next time you’re nodding off in front of the TV as another stoppage is called, try watching the blokes off the ball instead and see if you can spot the set plays and tactical manoeuvres at work.

Better yet, pick a player and follow their movements as much as the TV coverage will allow.

Watch how Patrick Cripps moves at a stoppage, or how Nick Haynes reads the play in defence. Take note of Lachie Whitfield’s position before an attacking chain from halfback then see if you can spot where he ends up at its conclusion.

An AFL defender grasps the football above his head while an opponent tries to grab him from behind.
Nick Haynes is one of the smartest players in the league, and therefore one of the most interesting to watch.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Failing that, just mute your TV for a while and see how differently you see the game when it’s not being explained to you by commentators.

None of these are particularly ground-breaking suggestions, and none are any sort of substitute for being at a game and being able to see the whole puzzle unfold before your eyes, but it might spice things up a little while you’re watching Freo play Hawthorn at 8:40pm on a Monday night for some reason.

Have a night off

This is incredibly obvious advice. You’d have to be a real sicko to even want to watch every single game played in the next 20 days, but for those of us who fall a little too comfortably into the sicko camp, it might be time we learn some impulse control.

Let’s be perfectly clear — some of these games are going to be awful. Players are going to be fatigued, stars are going to be injured or rested, and training restrictions mean team cohesion is still going to be lacking.

And while there’s no scientific formula for predicting which games are going to stink the place out, there certainly are teams that are more worthy of tuning in to than others.

A large group of St Kilda players congregate in jovial celebration
St Kilda is one of the most entertaining teams in the league at the moment.(AAP: David Mariuz)

On the available evidence of 2020, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, St Kilda, Carlton, Gold Coast, the Western Bulldogs and even Essendon are pretty safe bets. West Coast looks like it is back playing some watchable stuff, and you would imagine GWS and Richmond would have to find their form again at some point.

With that in mind, Port-Bulldogs on a Monday night? Sign me up. Eagles-Blues on a Sunday arvo? Don’t mind if I do. Bombers-Lions on a Friday? Worth a crack.

So don’t be afraid to target the big games and embrace a bit of load management for the rest. If it’s good enough for the best players in the AFL, it’s good enough for you.

Don’t take it so seriously

You’re probably aware that we are in unprecedented times. There is no precedent for the times we live in. There is no prior experience we can draw upon when trying to contextualise the events that are transpiring now.

With that in mind, the next few weeks of wall-to-wall footy should offer an escape from your daily stresses, not add to them.

Two Fremantle players smile as they hug each other
Like Ethan Hughes and Blake Acres here, it’s best to keep things light and cheery.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

That means no social media blow ups at an underperforming second-year defender, no pointless state-of-the-game debates, no hurling umpire-related abuse into the ether.

We’ll all get out of the next 20 days what we put into it. If we go in with an open mind and a relaxed attitude, grateful to be getting a nightly distraction but understanding the conditions are miles from being right for picturesque footy, we’ll probably all have a much nicer time.

We footy fans are facing the greatest challenge of our AFL-watching careers. Our endurance will be tested, our strength measured, our mental capacity strained to within an inch of its life.

But we’ve done the work. It’s been a long preseason. If any group of people is up to the task of watching a silly amount of football in a short period of time, it’s us. Good luck.

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