The game will be a lot less tanned. The Richmond coach, Terry "Plough" Wallace, today finally coaches his last game for the boys from Punt Road, after having submitted to the inevitable on Monday after his team's three-point win over Fremantle two days earlier. Plough's team, at the end of his much-heralded five-year plan, is languishing second-last on the ladder. In the other four years, the Tigers finished 12th, ninth, last, and ninth again.
It's fitting, then, that he today calls his last shots for the Tigers against the Western Bulldogs, the team he dumped at the end of 2002 to compete in the race for the prestigous coaching position at Sydney Swans; a race he lost. He had already resigned from the Dogs. The Bulldogs coach, "Rocket" Rodney Eade, was the man sent packing from the Swans to make room for Plough's bid. The Dogs are sitting third.
Will the Tigers battle extra hard in tribute to their fallen leader? It is hard to expect that, given the rumours a few weeks ago that the club captain, Chris Newman, had led a group of players in a bid to have the man with the tan ousted. It would seem more likely the players would be out to impress whoever is taking over the top job. It wouldn't be the first time individuals impressed at the expense of the team.
To the game itself, which carries its fair share of on-field grudges as well. The Bulldogs welcome back their brilliant forward Bob Murphy, but lose some grunt on the forward line with the suspension of Scott Welsh, who booted four against the Swans last week. The Tigers bring in the former Dog Jordan McMahon, Alex Rance and Mark Coughlan, while losing another former Dog in Nathan Brown (groin), Matthew White (hamstring) and Robin Nahas (quad).