A cool winter’s evening with virtually no breeze greeted the two teams that lead the way back for the competition onto the MCG after the long break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There was no crowd allowed in the massive stadium save for a handful of officials and some artificial crowd cutouts behind the goals. The ground was slippery from a heavy dew. Pre-match saw both teams randomly spread around the center circle and ‘take a knee’ in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was almost 3 months ago that round 1 was completed and for players and fans of the game, the long wait was over.
Richmond won the toss and chose to kick to the city end. It was Collingwood who scored first when Taylor Adams roved a boundary throw-in and snapped on the run from 40m out. Tom Phillips followed up with a second for Collingwood with a set shot goal.
Richmond was able to get the ball forward, but Collingwood’s defense was well organized and spoiled and cleaned up well. Despite this Lynch was still able to get his hands on the ball but a quick snap twelve and a half minutes into the match saw him kick a behind, Richmond’s only score for the quarter.
Late in the quarter, Steele Sidebottom extended the Magpies lead to 18 points when he gathered the ball on the run and snapped the goal on his left foot. Although the quarters are only 16 minutes long this season (plus time on) Callum Brown still had time for one more goal to the Magpies and give them a 24 point lead at quarter time. Front on contact by Howe to Lynch, saw him have a set shot just 20m out from goal on a tight angle. He confidently kicked a straight drop punt between the big sticks to set the tone for the second quarter.
Collingwood picked up where they left off and a chain of possession that started in the back half could not be stopped by Richmond and ended up in the hands of Tom Phillips who finished with the goal from the top of the goal square. Richmond started to get on top all over the ground, Collingwood’s defense was working hard but a turnover saw Bolton get a handball over top to Castagna who hit Lynch with a short pass 40 meters out 45-degree angle. Once again, he confidently kicked the drop punt goal.
Set shots by Mihocek and de Goey during the quarter could have seen the Magpies with one hand on the four points by half time, but misses left the door open for Richmond. The chaos of a high ball spoiled and volleyed in Richmond’s forward 50 saw the ball fall into the hands of Lynch again and he managed to squeeze out his kick while being tackled to kick his third goal. At halftime, it was a 14-point lead to Collingwood.
The third term saw disciplined structures from both sides. The ball rebounded end to end with numerous turnovers as each team tried to move the ball in the corridor. Richmond eventually broke the deadlock when Shai Bolton was tackled without the ball at the top of the goal square and goaled from the resulting free kick with just two and a half minutes on the clock.
The Tigers had time for one more goal before the siren though. Jack Higgins marked a long kick from Dustin Martin on the goal line, near the point post. The mark was deemed in the field of play by the goal review when a check was requested by the goal umpire. Higgins took the free kick and ran around onto his left and kicked the goal with 18 seconds on the clock. This left the Tigers with just a 2-point deficit at the final break. Both teams cried out for goals, but points would be just as golden. An early rushed behind kept the lead for the Magpies but saw the Tigers now just on point down. They used the possession from the kick-out well, but Houli’s spoil at the other end could only pull back that one point for Collingwood.
A spoiled shot from Lynch by a diving Howe again had the margin at one point. Again, Collingwood transitioned well with Adams in the pocket centering to Tom Phillips, but his set shot from 45m went out of bounds on the full. Jack Riewoldt had been well held tonight and had little influence. But he marked and had a shot from 40 meters out to tip the Tigers towards victory, but his shot that was on target fell short and was marked in the goal square by Mihocek. The Tigers continued to look most likely and Higgins had another chance to put the Tigers in front after a free kick for the front on contact in the marking contest. But his shot also went wide for a minor score and the Tigers were still one point behind.
The match deciding score came from Shai Bolton, his long shot at goal was rushed for a behind by the tireless Howe leveling the scores with three minutes to go. After three minutes of both sides unable to break away clearly to score, the siren sounded with the score at 36 points each.
The jubilation of a win that fans of both clubs had waited the three long months for did not come and the four match points in the standings were split between the two clubs and no one left satisfied. Despite a strong start by the Magpies that match really failed to reach any great heights and perhaps a draw was a fitting result.
Those that were hoping to see Mason Cox play for Collingwood tonight were also disappointed as he did not overcome a knee injury and was replaced in the side by Darcy Cameron who made his debut for the club and played a serviceable role in backup to Brodie Grundy.
Collingwood 4.1 5.3 5.4 5.6 (36) Richmond 0.1 3.1 5.2 5.6 (36) GOALS Collingwood: Phillips 2, Adams, Sidebottom, C.Brown Richmond: Lynch 3, Bolton, Higgins BEST Collingwood: Howe, Pendlebury, Adams, Sidebottom, Phillips, Daicos Richmond: Cotchin, Houli, Martin, Lynch, Prestia, Lambert INJURIES Collingwood: Nil Richmond: Nil
Article last changed on Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 7:02 PM EDT