Richmond Season Preview: We’re Doomed. Or Are We?

 

Cheryl Critchley can’t wait for the 2013 footy season to start. Well sort of…

 

We’re doomed.

Us Tiger fans can’t take a trick.

Just when we were hanging back, keeping a low profile and hoping – very quietly of course – that our team may just sneak into the finals this year we’ve already been jinxed.

First former Richmond assistant coach David King said that Richmond, a team that hasn’t played in a final since my almost 12-year-old daughter was a six-month-old baby, should be aiming for the top four.

What?

King’s preposterous prediction reeked of attention seeking on a slow-news-out-of-football-season day, but it was enough for the naysayers to brand Richmond and its fans delusional and make anything less than a preliminary final appearance feel like failure.

Just what we need – NOT.

Truth be told, most of us Tiger fans would kill to see even an elimination final.

Consider these exclusive Footy Almanac stats: Since I met my husband in the early hours of New Years Day in 1996 – that’s 17 years ago – Richmond has made the finals ONCE, in 2001.

My son, who was born two years after our last finals appearance, turns TEN in February.

NONE of Richmond’s current list was born when we won our last flag in 1980.

And since our oldest player, Shane Tuck, was born in December 1981, Richmond has played in THREE finals series: 1982, 1995 and 2001.

So you can understand how nervous we get when so-called commentators start talking us up.

King’s bold statement sent the footy fraternity into a frenzy and prompted Kevin Bartlett to tweet (probably only half joking) that we would beat Carlton in Round 1 by 100 points.

Oh KB, when are you going to learn???

Then the Herald Sun Super Footy’s Sam Landsberger also reckoned Richmond would play finals in 2013: “Finally, the wait is over. Richmond’s long-suffering army of fans will see September action this year.”

Not only that, sportal.com.au also said the Tigers should be “somewhat realistically” aiming for a double chance.

Our fate has practically been sealed.

Whenever anyone talks the Tigers up they inevitably fall down.

These overly optimistic articles inevitably spark traumatic flashbacks to the ill-fated 2009 season opener against Carlton, which was Ben Cousins’ first game with Richmond and attracted more hype than a Beatles tour.

The Tiges were back, the pundits predicted. With superstar Cousins on Board they’d be a force to reckon with.

Sure enough we were pumped by 83 points and Cousins did a hammy.

Our season was over before it began and never had I left a game more dejected.

You can’t blame all this plucked-out-of-someone’s-behind based-on-thin-air hype on us fans who turn up every week. We know better.

A diehard friend actually put $50 on Richmond to lose Cousins’ first game by more than 10 goals and cleaned up. He just knew.

And so to 2013. How do success-starved Tiger fans really feel about our chances?

Those I’ve spoken to who only watch the odd game on the TV and take their cues from the football “meedjia” are champing at the bit. They reckon we’re shoe-ins for finals action.

But those of us who attend all the games in Melbourne and actually see what happens on and in some cases off the field are hedging our bets.

The club is well placed for a competitive year. Barring pre-season catastrophes our stars should all be fit and our draw is good – apart from playing a third home game against Gold Coast in Cairns (Don’t get me started on that!).

There are NO excuses.

But that is what makes us nervous. Having watched Richmond beat both of last year’s grand finalists only to lose to Gold Coast for the second time and scrape in against GWS by 12 pints, I’m nervous.

Hopeful, but very nervous.

For Richmond to make the finals we must displace one of last year’s finalists and leap past Carlton, St Kilda and Essendon, all of whom missed in 2012.

It can be done but won’t be easy. We just need the footy media to stop jumping on the wagon whenever they have a slow news day.

Thankfully some journos, like Mark Robinson, can be relied upon to forever bag the Tigers and expect the worst. If he jumps on board it really is all over.

Cheryl Critchley is on twitter @CherylCritchley

 

 

Comments

  1. N eil Anderson says:

    Know exactly what you mean Cheryl about a giant moz that rears its ugly head one month out from preseason matches. Much better to fly under the radar as long as possible and in our own minds at least, jump out of the blocks in the first match with a full list and surprise all the naysayers.
    I used to eagerly check the first journo final-eight predictions when the Dogs were going well, just to smugly confirm they were in for another great year. Then I’d switch on the news to hear a leading sport’s story about’ Bulldog champion ruckman Luke Darcy injured his knee at training today and will miss the rest of the season’. So a bit like you and the Tiges, I’m always ready for the next kick in the guts just when we should be on a roll.
    I’ve only read one list of 2013 ladder predictions in the Herald -Sun the other day which had the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide just above Gold-Coast and GWS at the bottom. But he expected GC and GWS to probably win a lot more games, whereas teams like Melbourne and the Dogs were basically stuffed. He also predicted that Essendon were over their hammy problems and were ready to rock. Not that surprizing coming from the journo Essendon supporter that he somehow knew that all their injury woes were behind them.
    Now getting more realistic and cynical in my old age, I’m hoping the Bulldogs will just be competitive and basically survive in this competition with it’s lopsided draw and huge disparities of finances in football departments etc. I’m not even thinking about ladder positions at this stage. I’m more worried about how we can get through the year with one recognised ruckman and his second-year apprentice.

  2. Michael Parker says:

    Great stuff cheryl. I am a Richmond sympathizer and if nothing else they are good for football. All the best for 2013

  3. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks Neil. I really hope the Dogs come good as well as it was sad to see their slide last year. I also sympathise with your lack of Grand Final appearances. The Bulldogs have had lots of finals action in the past 20 years but never any joy. I’m not sure what’s worse! At least when your team doesn’t make the finals you don’t have that expectation and you also save lots of money not having to buy tickets! And Michael, I know Richmond is good for football but not for its fans’ blood pressure or stress levels :-)

  4. Cheryl – I’m about to go away on holiday with a group of people, most of whom barrack for the Blues. I can’t wait to hear their attitude towards the 2013 season. Last year they sopke of “hope”, but it was that Carlton type of hope. The one that is as genuine as Paris Hilton’s support for the environment.

    The Richmond hope is far more melancoly and Catholic in its origins – I love it.

  5. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks Dips, you have just given me some … hope :-)

  6. aussie80s says:

    Good luck to the Tiges, definitely hope they not only displace Carlton or Essendon but preferably both from the eight. Even when my side (hawks) loses to you guys – as we do on a regular basis, I still want to sing your theme song at the end.

    But it’s not just about collecting the big scalps though, it’s avoiding the annual string of 6 consecutive losses to inexplicable opponents that hurts the most.

    If you think it will help your chances then I am happy to say you have no hope and you should put a $50 on Carlton first up so you get reimbursed for the seats you used.

  7. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Good plan re backing Carlton, but if I do that Richmond will win. Maybe I should then…

  8. Cheryl.

    More than most teams the Tigers are a serious injury, Cotchin or Riewoldt, away from being back in the bottom 6.

    The list looks better but as you said someone needs to drop out of the 8 and there are many other well credentialed teams looking to enter the 8

    We can only cross out fingers

  9. Cheryl Critchley says:

    And toes!

  10. Dave (hungry) Baker says:

    If the Tigers can’t put the Suns to sleep this year then 9th at best . Hopefully they start the season strongly and win the tight ones and prove me wrong .

  11. Since 1996 is has been my firm belief that Richmond should give a complimentary box of Zoloft away with each membership.
    Come on, Tiges! This year!

  12. Stainless says:

    Happy (I hope) New Year Cheryl

    You’ve expressed all my sentiments exactly about the hopes and fears for Richmond in 2013.

    A couple of thoughts:

    Finals action in 2013 isn’t the be-all and end-all for Richmond. Another year of steady improvement could result in 12-13 wins and another 9th or 10th place finish. There should be no great outpouring of grief if this occurs. It’s a long way to the top….

    What would be disastrous is if we suffer a 2009, 2007, 2002-type implosion that undoes the excellent rebuilding over the last three years.

    And with regard to Round 1, why the hell should all the pressure of expectation be on Richmond when it was Carlton that had the disastrous (fantastic!) fadeout in 2012 and has mortgaged the farm to get Mick to return them to their rightful position on top of the ladder?

  13. Cheryl Critchley says:

    I agree re the Suns. We NEVER should have sold those games, whatever the cost. Those losses have cost us dearly on and off the field. And Stainless, I have to disagree with you on the “just missing” scenario. We’ve been told the Tigers are primed and everything is now right so I think Richmond fans are justified in finally expecting finals action. I’m confident we can beat Carlton in Round 1 as for a change they’ll be the ones with all the hype in the lead-up. Bring it on!!

  14. aussie80s says:

    Actually Brenden Gale asked for 3 flags by 2020 and 3 finals appearances by 2015 which means the next 3 years must be finals.

    David King is therefore just being rather modest in predictions for Richmond by selecting a place within the Top 8 where the club has declared it will be.

    At least if you do win 3 flags I expect there will be no trouble reaching the 75,000 members target.

  15. Cheryl Critchley says:

    According to the club’s predictions we should have already played finals by now so fans have every right to expect a better year. Here’s hoping!

  16. Hi Cheryl, HNY to you all. I think there’s a competition for hope at this time of year and we’re all thinking the same. Saints, Dogs, Tigers, all hopeful, Bombers, Blues feeling senses of entitlement we only dream of, and Kangas still hopping. (rather than hoping).

    Who knows. Bring it on and we’ll see

    Yvette

  17. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks Yvette, well said. It is true that everyone is hopeful before the first bounce, which is why the Cousins game was so disappointing as we knew the season was over then and there. Hope we can turn that around this year!

  18. For a few weeks during 2012, I found myself getting quite excited about the prospect of Vic’s ‘Big & Nasty 5’ royally battling it out to the death in September;

    alas…

  19. Lord Bogan says:

    Cheryl, you are perfectly valid with your fears. But the main difference for me is that in 2013, the Tigers have the talent to override the hype. I really believe that the only thing that can stop Richmond from making the 8 is a really bad run of injuries. They need to stop being people’s second favourite team out of sympathy and start being respected again for being loud, obnoxious, primal and menacingly relevant.

  20. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Lord Bogan I do hope you are right! I want people to hate us again. It’s most humiliating having people say we are their second team. Bring back the hate!

  21. Tiger fans are ecstatic in September when they finish the minor round in 6th place and win their elimination final beating Collingwood, before a close semi final loss in Perth.
    Then in October comes the shattering news that all children born to Tigers players in the last 4 years all share Ben Cousins DNA (thanks for the tip Litza), and will become Eagles under the father son rule.
    Tigers CEO Brendan Gale immediately announces that “Uncle Ben’s” pies will no longer be sold at the club’s pie nights.

  22. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Stop giving us nightmares Peter! Reality can be bad enough :-)

  23. Cheryl

    Lord Bogan has a point. I think what upset Essendon under Knights is that people started feeling sorry for them and stopped hating them, so they bacme arrogant again.

    We need to be hated again and feared. All this tanking stuff in the papers going over that game against us (McMahon’s goal after the siren) brings back awful memories of how terrible we were that day, when everyone was laughing at us.

    The league want and need a strong Richmond despite the expansion plans, as a strong Richmond (and Carlton, Dons and Pies) ensure 80K plus crowds and blockbusters for TV.

    Whilst I think we are improving massivley, there are very good teams ahead of us. This year, strangely, I wouldn’t see 9th as a negative, if we performed well but missed out due to a strong top 6 and some interstaters that did OK with home ground ad. We need to manage teh hype, unlike that lead up to Cuz’s first game (what on earth was he still doing on the field late in the final Q, 80 points down, poor hammies, chasing Fev out of the backline, really poor coaching by Terry)

    I think we challenge in 2014 for finals and top 4 is realistically 2016

    Good luck for the long suffering

    Sean

  24. Dave Nadel says:

    If it helps, Sean and Cheryl, Richmond has never been my second team. I haven’t forgotten 1980. After Fitzroy ceased to exist I transferred my sympathy for the underdog to Femantle….until they appointed Ross Lyon. Now Gold Coast is the team that I am happy to see win when they ae not playing Collingwood.

  25. John Butler says:

    I’m with Dave. I haven’t got over ’73.

    Though ’82 sure helped. :)

    Signed: Entitled of Carlton

  26. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks guys, makes me feel much better :-)

  27. Brian wallace says:

    It must be remembered that David King has an agenda against RIchmond.
    When he left the tigers afer his inglorious stint as an assistant coach, he remarked that his time at RIchmond had “damaged his brand” and that he woudln’t get another coahcing gig. he applied at nearly every club but with no success and to this day, he holds a grudge against the tigers. He fancys himself s a coach but is now reduced to kids school foty as his only coahing gig.

    Would he welcome the chance to put pressure on RIchond and watch them fail? Absolutely. you only have to listenedto him after round one last year and he was revelling in the fact Richmond lost and the way the supporters were carrying on.

  28. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Interesting theory Brian. For what it’s worth I can’t stand the use of the word “brand” when it comes to sport and footy. Makes it sound like we are all customers and consumers rather than fans!

  29. Brian wallace says:

    I know for a fact he hates Richmond…King was trying to set RIchmond up for a fall

  30. Sorry, but I’m going to go against you here, Cheryl. I’m tired of being a Tiger fan who’s only dipping my toe in the water. I’ve been doing that for the last fifteen years plus… This year I’m keen as, and totally expectant. It’s not just the players who need to get that attitude and pride back – the fans need to get the Roar back as well.

    This year is going to be an interesting one – there are probably only four or five teams who are prime candidates not to make the finals, and everyone else is all in with a shot. I’m tipping the Tiges for sixth this year. Let’s go.

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