Pride and petulance: Chris Scott’s critique of the 2017 Richmond flag

Alphingtonian Roar Pro

By Alphingtonian, Alphingtonian is a Roar Pro

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    Some of the more attentive footy supporters may be aware of a strange little conversation that occurred on the Monday night following Richmond’s awesome display of tactical dominance over Adelaide at the MCG on grand final day, 2017.

    With speed, skill, toughness, and flair, the Tigers powered to the flag – but some weren’t impressed, especially one Chris Scott.

    When asked to comment on Richmond’s win by Mark Robinson, on a well-known footy show, he first admitted his envy (which, to be fair, his coach co-panelist Allan Richardson echoed), then felt compelled to give a lecture on the defensive nature of the win.

    Scott inferred the win was dour and boring, citing the 2005-06 Sydney vs West Coast grand finals as examples of great contests but poor spectacles.

    So if Scott didn’t like the spectacle, one would have to presume his own team would’ve played the game as it should be played last year?

    Seeing as finals are the most important and most watched games, and Scott’s assertion that the Swans-Eagles grand finals were boring, let’s start there.

    The Tigers played three finals in 2017, as did Geelong – in two of Richmond’s three finals they scored over 100 points, while the Cats couldn’t crack the ton, but did limp to their lowest finals score since 1914, in the quarter-final against Richmond, scoring just five goals.

    If one takes the liberty to say most fans enjoy open, free-flowing games over stoppage-ridden ones, then Richmond play a more attractive style of footy, with 42 fewer stoppages in 2017 than Geelong. That’s nearly a game’s worth.

    The Tigers also had more bounces and far more metres gained – a clear sign of their running ability – than Geelong, with significantly more rebound 50s, marks inside 50, and a higher percentage.

    It’s clear one team was playing defensive footy, and it wasn’t the premiers.

    In what became a torrid slog down at Simmonds Stadium, Richmond tried all day to run-and-gun and break open the stoppage and zone clamps put on by Scott at the narrowest of AFL grounds, but couldn’t make the game the spectacle it ought to have been.

    The Round 21 clash sums up the hypocrisy of Scott’s statement. Richmond went to Geelong to play running footy – in their previous month, they had only scored under 90 points once, whereas the Cats had scored more than 90 only once.

    When you support a team, you are compelled to watch them play every week – if nothing more than to see how they go. It doesn’t mean you enjoy the style of football they play, even if you’re happy with the result.

    As a Cats fan, I enjoyed watching Richmond’s play more than Geelong’s in 2017. The Tigers had the high-flying athletic exploits of Jack Riewoldt up forward, contrasting with the brute strength and wrestling of Tom Hawkins.

    They had speed all over the park and a bold tactical gameplan that revolutionised footy for the better, maximising the space of the MCG to produce electric passages of play.

    Geelong had a stoppage-based, defensive gameplan built around trying to shut down space and make the ground smaller, while moving it forward in a measured, safe way.

    In the quarters, these two styles clashed and the team that wanted to win by using space and speed, rather than simply clamping down the game with repetitive stoppages, won. It was a win for football and the spectacle of the game.

    Jack Riewoldt kicks for goal

    AAP Image/Julian Smith

    One coach may have had a ghost of a point in criticising the premiers in 2017, but it wasn’t Scott.

    Don Pyke’s Crows played blistering, attacking footy for much of last season, only to be overwhelmed on grand final day. Pyke however showed his class and humility in defeat, as Damien Hardwick did in victory.

    Don’t get me wrong, Scott is usually a smooth mover in the footy media and the many public events he has to attend. In fact, he’s probably the best spin doctor in the coaching business. It’s perhaps why his comments about Richmond weren’t properly scrutinised. Indeed, if the tables were turned, could you imagine the outcry if Hardwick dared criticise Geelong’s style of play after a grand final win?

    Scott has a right to his opinion. Maybe to him, the game looks better saturated with stoppages and where strength in the contest, height, and overall physical dominance rule the day. I prefer watching quick exciting teams that use pressure to win the ball and then break like hellfire.

    Ahead of the 2018 season, many teams seem to be heading down the Richmond route of ‘speed kills’, while teams like Geelong and Adelaide will persist with positional, stoppage-based footy and height up forward.

    One thing’s for sure: Chris Scott has more pressure on him than ever before, with many pundits already making Geelong their premiership favourite.

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    The Crowd Says (124)

    • February 7th 2018 @ 3:12am
      JW said | February 7th 2018 @ 3:12am | ! Report

      His comment was 4mths ago, have you been stewing on it that long? 😉

      • February 9th 2018 @ 4:44pm
        TigerBren said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

        We have long memories at Tiger land

      • Roar Pro

        February 9th 2018 @ 5:57pm
        Alphingtonian said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

        Nah. Stewed over it at the time for about 5 mins but was just lazy in writing the piece.

    • February 7th 2018 @ 7:42am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | February 7th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      Chris Scott should concentrate on his own sides absymal finals record. They make finals because of their home ground advantage but can only play on that ground, found out at the G every year. The Cats have become the perennial finals chokers Scott, concentrate on that maybe?

      • February 7th 2018 @ 2:06pm
        Rob said | February 7th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

        Just like West Coast…

      • February 7th 2018 @ 3:55pm
        King Bob said | February 7th 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

        People in Glass Houses shouldn’t throw stones.
        Richmond won finals against Geelong and Adelaide with an unfair home ground advantage.

        • February 7th 2018 @ 4:02pm
          mattyb said | February 7th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          The calls are growing louder by the season Bob.
          Keep up the good fight as the calls are only going to get louder and louder as the competition grows.

          • February 7th 2018 @ 5:19pm
            truetigerfan said | February 7th 2018 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

            Yep. Keep squealing like stuck pigs. The G forever!

      • February 7th 2018 @ 11:50pm
        Julian said | February 7th 2018 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

        Except the Cats don’t travel and don’t play 2 games a year on the MCG.

        Geelong’s home advantage is massive. Play a heap of home games at their fortress and then another 6 or 7 in their home state, sweet gig.

        • Roar Guru

          February 8th 2018 @ 12:05am
          Cat said | February 8th 2018 @ 12:05am | ! Report

          Same number of games in Victoria as any other Victorian team … but less actual home games.

          • February 10th 2018 @ 9:45am
            Steve009 said | February 10th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            But an actual home ground, with home ground advantages, unlike the shared system of other Victorian teams.
            And unlike the interstate teams with a home ground advantage the cats do get to play at the MCG, you would think better preparing them finals. Not that their recent poor finals record reflects that advantage.
            Personally I think if the cats are the higher finishing team they should have the choice to play that finals game at skilled stadium.

        • Roar Guru

          February 8th 2018 @ 12:05am
          Cat said | February 8th 2018 @ 12:05am | ! Report

    • February 7th 2018 @ 7:51am
      Milo said | February 7th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      Don’t knock him, but thank the lord for Chris Scott!

      In his first year took the reins of one of the best teams of the then previous 20 years probably equal to the all-conquering Lions. By his own admission let them basically coach themselves that year. Still has arguably the best mids in the game with a fairly decent bloke from GCS to return. A strong power forward, surrounded by skilful forwards, a tightknit experienced group of defenders that deliver year on year and you’ve a pretty handy team. Throw in a massive home ground advantage and all up, top four can only be a pass you’d think.

      Yep, long may the footy oracle Scottie continue to coach Geelong.

      • February 9th 2018 @ 6:24pm
        Wayne Gordes said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

        As long as your happy with a whinging sook for a coach who’s only grand final win was with an inherited team

    • February 7th 2018 @ 7:53am
      Leonard said | February 7th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Haven’t read the article yet – just loved the headline.

      Reckon Miss Austen, in her own ironic understated manner, would have had a quiet smirk.

      Who’ll come up with the best ‘Sense and Sensibility’ tribute? (How about ‘Sense and Sensitivity’? All that’s needed is a story to go with it. If only she’d writ a few more!)

    • February 7th 2018 @ 8:44am
      truetigerfan said | February 7th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Appreciate your thoughts, Alph. I was gobsmacked as I watched the show you refer to. First, his lack of respect and humility and second, that he wasn’t taken to task over his ‘sour’ commentary. Don’t expect anything more from Chris Scott though. Pretty sure the Tiges will have to win 5 in a row to gain even begrudging respect from the likes of Scotty! (Bucks too for that matter)

    • February 7th 2018 @ 9:07am
      Gecko said | February 7th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      If you’re going to build an article around what Scott said, it’d be fair to include the quote so we can judge for ourselves what Scott said.

      • Roar Guru

        February 7th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Paul Dawson said | February 7th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Agreed, first thing I noticed. Makes it hard to trust the article, particularly given the author only crops up every few months to write pieces bashing Chris Scott

        • Roar Guru

          February 7th 2018 @ 11:29am
          Paul Dawson said | February 7th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          Went and googled it.

          “I think Adelaide — I don’t think they’re a slow team — but Richmond made them look a bit slow,” Scott told Fox Footy.

          “I think every side will say ‘If we can’t pressure really well, we’re going to have to be unbelievable at everything else’.

          “Which is going to be a bit of a problem for the AFL because more and more, as an industry, we’re trying to open the game up.

          “But we keep getting reminded that if you can close the opposition down, you’re halfway there — more than halfway there.”

          Scott pointed to a couple of famous grand finals from more than a decade ago and how game styles evolved.

          “So often we go back and say ‘that West Coast-Sydney grand final (was great)’,” Scott said.

          “The two of them, (but) they were terrible games of footy, really. Really dour affairs but great grand finals — really gripping and I think we all acknowledge that.

          “But if you said every game’s going to be like that, then I think everyone would acknowledge we’ve got a bit of a problem.”

          What’s so bad about that? Common sense commentary I would have thought.

          • February 7th 2018 @ 11:51am
            truetigerfan said | February 7th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Boo-hoo! They just shut teams down. Negative and boring. Any credit to the Tiges for their blistering speed and attacking footy? Nah! Why compare that game to the Eagles v Swans games of yesteryear? Unlike those games the Tigers actually kicked a decent score. Does he really want shoot outs? He avoided that with his own negative brand of footy v. Richmond barely a month earlier. Common sense commentary? Nup. Sour grapes!

            • February 7th 2018 @ 1:47pm
              Birdman said | February 7th 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

              While I get the broader issue of contrasting game styles having an effect of the entertainment/asthetic value on the game I can’t see how Scott could draw a valid comparison between those 2 grand finals.

          • Roar Pro

            February 8th 2018 @ 12:42pm
            Alphingtonian said | February 8th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            I basically did quote what he said and gave a fair representation of what Scott said. He clearly states when talking about the 2017 Grand Final ‘it’s an interesting question for the AFL isn’t it? What type of game they want’ then immediately talks about the dour nature of the West Coast Sydney Grand Finals. Why would he say that unless referring to Richmond and making that comparison? You can all watch it for yourselves anyway the whole of the post Grand Final AFL 360 episode is on YouTube.

            • Roar Guru

              February 8th 2018 @ 1:29pm
              TomC said | February 8th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

              It is obvious nonsense to say that you ‘basically did quote what he said’.

              • Roar Pro

                February 8th 2018 @ 7:30pm
                Alphingtonian said | February 8th 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Chris Scott talking about the 2017 Grand Final on the post GF episode of AFL 360 – ‘What did you guys think of the spectacle? There has been some criticism about the standard of the game.’
                ‘But it’s interesting in terms of the game overall. So often we go back and say the West Coast Sydney Grand Finals -the two of them – were terrible games of football really, really dour affairs, but great Grand Final really gripping and I think we all acknowledge that, but if you said every game was going to be like that then I think everybody would acknowledge we’ve got a problem. So it’s a bit of a trap to fall in to looking at the GF and saying no, no we don’t need to make any changes.’

                This is what I said in the article ‘then felt compelled to give a lecture on the defensive nature of the win.
                Scott inferred the win was dour and boring, citing the 2005-06 Sydney vs West Coast grand finals as examples of great contests but poor spectacles.’

                I think that’s a fair summation of what he said – You obviously disagree.

              • Roar Guru

                February 8th 2018 @ 8:36pm
                Paul Dawson said | February 8th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

                And then went onto say they were great games of football in isolation, but you wouldn’t want every game to look like that.

                That’s the part you omitted, where he justified the reference. The way it was written it sounded like he was just having a swipe for the sake of it.

                I thought it was a reasonable comment, I mean if every game was 54-58 and played like 2005 it would be an awful slog to watch 23 weeks of it. He’s just saying he hopes clubs don’t go too negative, which I think isn’t a bad attitude from a coach, even if others would say he doesn’t always uphold it himself.

              • Roar Pro

                February 8th 2018 @ 9:29pm
                Alphingtonian said | February 8th 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

                Rubbish! He was obviously taking a swipe at Richmond’s pressure driven gamestyle comparing the 2017 GF with the 2005/6 GF. It was a petulant ill thought out comment by a clearly envious man about the 2017 Premiers.

              • Roar Guru

                February 8th 2018 @ 10:04pm
                Cat said | February 8th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                You’d know all about cheap swipes and being petulant …

              • Roar Pro

                February 11th 2018 @ 12:44pm
                Alphingtonian said | February 11th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Really Cat? You should’ve learnt by now not to throw stones in glass houses. Also give me one example of a cheap swipe I’ve done on here?

              • Roar Guru

                February 8th 2018 @ 11:51pm
                TomC said | February 8th 2018 @ 11:51pm | ! Report

                Alph, you are just way off base here.

              • Roar Pro

                February 9th 2018 @ 4:36pm
                Alphingtonian said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                I suggest you read this far more thorough version of the article as it was cut in to fairly severely by the subeditor on here.
                It may clarify my point in a much better way than the highly edited article above did.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 5:21pm
                Paul Dawson said | February 9th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                When your wordpress site advertises with the following tagline

                “I love my AFL especially panning the direction of my team the Geelong Football Club under Brian Cook and Chris Scott. ”

                Well, it’s hard for us not to be sceptical. There is so much apprehended bias I don’t think you can assess Scott or Geelong fairly. A better article would be to outline what you’d differently – and don’t even mention Scott, imagine Chris Scott gets hit by a bus tomorrow, who do you recruit to replace him and what sort of football are you looking to play going forward

                Anyone can urinate on a monument. Not everyone can construct one.

              • Roar Pro

                February 10th 2018 @ 12:36am
                Alphingtonian said | February 10th 2018 @ 12:36am | ! Report

                Scott hasn’t constructed anything but a B grade finals team on the brink of a demographic cliff. We need a full rebuild circa early 2000s with Bomber Thompson if we’re a chance to win a flag again. My personal choice would be Joel Corey as coach with Bomber as DOC.

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