What a game, what a result!
For only the second time in 212 games the Magpies and the Tigers played out a draw. The only other time these two great clubs finished equal at the end of the fourth quarter was in Round 6, 1917, when the league had been reduced to six teams (four in 1916) due to World War I. Richmond finished last that year with only 3.5 wins, while Collingwood finished on top of the ladder with 10.5 wins from the 15 games and went on to win the premiership.
The scoring was slightly higher in that game 103 years ago, with Richmond scoring 7.8 (50) and Collingwood 6.14 (50). Collingwood’s champion full-forward Dick Lee kicked three goals, as did Barney Herbert for the Tigers.
As with this year, it was a dour struggle, with Richmond six points up at half-time, Collingwood six points up at three-quarter-time and Richmond finishing stronger.
This year the game saw only one player, Tiger Tom Lynch, kick three goals, all in the first half. Lynch, in only his second season at Richmond, is likely to become a top 100 goal kicker for the Tigers in only his second season at the club, a remarkable achievement. He needs only eight more goals to sit on the bottom rung of the list.
The most remarkable effort for the game, however, was the performance of Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, who by the end of this season could have played the most games for Collingwood, been captain of the club for the most games and have moved into the top 50 AFL game players of all time. His game was superb. Not only did he achieve the most possessions on the ground (31), but he was also one of only four players to achieve 100 fantasy points or more.
The second greatest possession-getter on the night was another player heading towards champion status: Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom. Not only did this game take him above former Magpie Ben Johnson on the Collingwood top 100 game players list, but the one goal he scored took him to equal with Craig Starcevich.
Johnson, who was halfway through his career as a Collingwood midfielder-defender when Scott Pendlebury joined the club, was a member of the 2010 premiership side before retiring at the end of 2013. Starcevich also played in a premiership for Collingwood – the team’s penultimate one in 1990 – but he moved to Brisbane for his last two years of league football before retiring in 1995.
None of the other goal scorers – Tom Phillips (Collingwood) (2). Taylor Adams (Collingwood), Shai Bolton (Richmond), Callum Brown (Collingwood) or comeback kid Jack Higgins (Richmond), playing his first game since a brain bleed in Round 18 last year – are among the top 100 goal scorers for their clubs.
In games played, however, Bachar Houli equalled the tally of 1920s and 1930s champion winger Allan Geddes, a best and fairest winner, captain and dual premiership player at the Tigers who also played in four losing grand finals.
Further down the Richmond list Dylan Grimes moved ahead of Michael ‘Swamp Fox’ Patterson and Barry Rowlings; Nick Vlastuin moved ahead of New Zealander Tom O’Halloran, regarded as the best mark in the (then) VFL in the 1920s and 1930s; and David Astbury passed William ‘Billy’ Brown, another brilliant winger converted to roving and a member of two Tiger premierships in 1967 and 1969.