Friday night’s game between Richmond and Geelong marks the start of three rounds of six games that provide each team with a one-game mid-season break.
Richmond are currently sixth on the ladder and would be aiming for a top-four position to ensure the double chance.
On the other hand, Geelong are currently undefeated and sit two games clear of their nearest rivals.
Although missing a few of their elite players, the Tigers appear to have enough in their tank to outlast the Cats at the MCG. Shane Edwards will equal the game tally at Richmond of former teammate Brett Deledio, now plying his trade at Greater Western Sydney.
Nick Vlastuin – who became an elite player in Round 3 this year – will continue his climb, drawing level with Percy Maybury, who played for the Tigers in the 1910s, Max Hislop from Swan Hill who played in the 1920 and 1921 premierships and was best on ground in both, and South African Jack Baggot who arrived at the club via Dimboola in 1927 and won the Tigers’ goalkicking in his first two years, and later played in defence in the 1932 and 1934 premierships.
Cameron Guthrie draws level on games played with remarkable full forward Percy Martini, who joined the Cats in 1909 and was Geelong’s leading goalkicker nine times. In 1910 he became the first Geelong player to kick more than 50 goals in a season and won the league goalkicking with 51 goals.
In 1916, Geelong did not field a team due to the war, so he played for Richmond winning the Tiger’s goal kicking before returning to Geelong in 1917 where he played until 1920, amassing 333 goals. On the same total is Jack Evans, another leading player who led the club’s goalkicking in 1935 with 32 goals. Originally from Minyip, Evans was known as ‘Copper’ and played in a premiership in 1931 and again in 1937 where he kicked six goals against Collingwood.
Mark Blicavs continues to climb up the games played list and this week will join Arthur Coghlan. ‘Bull’ Coghlan – as the nickname suggests – was a strongly built ruckman who barged through packs in the 1920s and 1930s. Starting at the Cats in 1922, he missed the 1925 premiership but played in the 1931 one. He was captain-coach of the team for two years, and non-playing coach for two more.
Carlton’s recent history of failure is certainly highlighted when the win-loss ratios are looked at. So far, they have managed to keep a positive win-loss ratio against the ten oldest clubs in the league (although not by much in some cases), but the seven youngest clubs have all beaten Carlton more times than they have lost to them, except for the two Queensland clubs.
With the Gold Coast Suns the difference is only one win, but with Brisbane the Blues winning percentage is a healthy 56 per cent. Will this improve on the weekend? I believe it will as the new coach syndrome will strike again and the Blues will win by nine points with Ed Curnow (who this week equals Frank Anderson on the games played list) playing a big part.