First published on 28 Mar 2012. Updated on 1 May 2013.
Richmond’s 59 point NAB Cup spanking of Geelong put a spring in the step of Tiger fans everywhere. It was only the pre-season, but a win’s a win when you follow the AFL’s worst performed team of the past 30 years.
How often does Richmond beat the reigning premiers by almost 10 goals? Since our 1980 flag, Richmond has seen even less finals action than Fitzroy.
In the 15 years before merging with Brisbane in 1996, the Lions made the finals four times – 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1986. Since 1981, the Tigers have seen three finals series – 1982, 1995 and 2001.
But, where there is life there’s hope. Melbourne’s pubs buzzed after the Cats win was followed by a 74-point thrashing of newcomers Greater Western Sydney. Did we dare to dream? Of course we did.
Those of us old enough to remember Richmond’s last Grand Final win over Collingwood 32 years ago have kept the faith in the hope our constant suffering since will be rewarded.
Sadly, our kids are not so lucky; their team’s failure is ingrained into their psyche. Our 11-year-old was a baby last time her team played a final. Hopefully she won’t be 21 before we do.
But we’ll be there again with bells on. Every March us Tiger fans count down the sleeps until crossing Brunton Avenue in a sea of diehards heading to the ‘G. It’s too hot for our yellow and black scarves, but we wear them anyway.
Maybe, just maybe, this will be our year. Then again, after starting the season against Carlton and Collingwood, we may be saying “there’s always next year” by Round 3.
Cheryl Critchley wrote the book Our Footy; Real Fans vs Big Bucks. She now writes for The Footy Almanac.