September for losers (reprise)

September is a non-event for those of us who rarely see AFL finals action. Unless we swallow our pride and follow someone else’s team.

Always full of hope at the start of the season, we keep September free until the last minute just in case, resisting the urge to plan a weekend away an overseas jaunt until our team is mathematically out of contention.

For some fans this is after about Round 3.

For others, it’s the final round when they’re relying on four teams to win, three to lose and another two to draw for their side to sneak into the eight.

Then their team loses anyway, making it all irrelevant and resigning them to the “there’s always next year” file. Unless they are prepared to hitch a ride on someone else’s wagon.

As a Richmond fan, this has happened every year since 2001. Some people have no interest in the finals without their team, but if us Tiger supporters did that we’d never get to watch. So I usually swallow my pride and follow another team.

For me, it’s those I hate least. No-one holds a candle to your own team, even if you are grumpy at them after failing for the 11th year in a row. But there are usually a couple of other teams you can bring yourself to support come finals time – just.

Top of my list is the Western Bulldogs, as they are true underdogs with only one flag – won way back in 1954 when my parents were kids.

Who can begrudge a team that has survived being based in the less affluent part of Melbourne without the money and numbers that power clubs have always attracted?

Aussies love a good underdog in any field of endeavour, whether it be sport, politics or a TV quiz show, and you can’t get much better – or worse – than a 58 year premiership drought.

Sadly the Dogs won’t be there this year, so I’ve rated those that will and whether fans of the bottom ten teams should get behind them in September.

Hawthorn

Nah. Those poos and wees jumpers are just too awful on the eye. Buddy’s exciting, but that doesn’t mean you have to like him. The Hawks also have their fair share of premierships in recent years, which for Richmond fans is the past 30.

West Coast

No way Jose. There is an unwritten rule in Victoria that in any game not involving your team, you support the Melbourne based club – unless of course it’s Collingwood.

Sydney

Possibly. This is an interstate team but it started in Melbourne and still has plenty of local diehards. One flag in 75 years also sort of qualifies them as underdogs. Some may argue the relatively recent 2005 flag disqualifies them from the sympathy vote.

Adelaide

Not on your life. Probably the most hated interstate team, partly due to its success, I’d support other interstate clubs against the Crows in a non-Victorian final.

Collingwood

Buckley’s chance. Any non-Magpie worth their salt loves seeing the Magpies lose and the finals are even better. It’s almost worth willing them into the Grand Final to watch them lose and revel in those close ups of Eddie blowing a gasket.

Fremantle

Yawn. Sorry but purple just doesn’t cut it as a footy team colour. They get some sympathy for lack of success, but Freo is an interstate club and they wear Justin Bieber’s favourite colour so it’s a no from me.

North Melbourne

Almost. Despite relatively recent success (in Richmond terms 1999 was yesterday) North are still underdogs due to a lack of supporters and money. But any team that allowed Wayne Carey to act like a tool because he could play footy loses my vote.

Geelong

Yep. They’re not underdogs but for some reason I like Geelong. Maybe it’s that country hick air, the last of the daggy old stadiums where you can still have a post-game kick to kick or all those red heads. In the absence of the Dogs it’s the Cats for me.

Follow Cheryl Critchley on Twitter  @CherylCritchley

 

Comments

  1. Cheryl – at the very least the Cats will give you an interesting ride this September. We could go out in the first round, but we could also really shake it up. Therein lies the fun.

  2. Claire Heaney says:

    Spot on Cheryl.

  3. Andrew Fithall says:

    Cheryl

    If I happen to be in your situation, I take a different approach, and generally support the non-Victorian teams. The rationale is that if my team can’t be successful, I don’t want to be running into people celebrating their team’s success.

    And along similar lines, I am going to the Geelong Freo game this Saturday night – I think I had better sit apart from my wife and daughter because I will definitley be supporting Freo.

    AF

  4. Cheryl Critchley says:

    I agree Dips. I want to see if they can pull a rabbit out of the hat or whether their best days are behind them. And Andrew I can’t agree with that – I’d always prefer a local team to win apart, of course, from Collingwood!!

  5. Campbell Fuller says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    I agree with you about the Crows. They’re second on my most hated teams list (Port Adelaide is even worse in my view). Yes, I dislike both Adelaide teams more than (little bit of vomit in my mouth) Collingwood. And Freo is high on that list there too. I don’t mind the new uniforms but as a team … yetch. Gag.
    Given I now live in Sydney, it’s the Swans for me in the absence of my beloved Bluebaggers and the Lions. I reserve the right to swing across to the Cats if the Swans are wiped out.
    Campbell

  6. Mark Doyle says:

    Yawn! Another irrational article from a conservative parochial Melbourne person who has never accepted that the elite level aussie rules football competition is a national competition. The non-Victoriran teams which have joined the competition in the last 25 odd years have done more to enhance the competition than 4 or 5 of the garbage Melbourne clubs. It is irrational to ‘hate’ any team whether it is Collingwood, West Coast or Adelaide. The only reason for the lack of success of clubs such as the Western Bulldogs and Richmond is poor club management.
    September is always a great time for the footy spectator because AFL finals provides the best quality of football. I have seen some great games of grand finals footy and other finals games at the MCG in the last 45 odd years. This years finals series is shaping as one the best and most even in recent years.

  7. Welcome aboard Cheryl.

    Your intelligent approach to the remainder of the season has me inclined to forgive Jack for his goals yesterday.

  8. Lord Bogan says:

    Can the Tigers handle the weight of expectation next year?

    I don’t mind the non-Victorian teams as long as they beat Carlton, Essendon and Hawthorn. Oh and I hope Rossy Lyon’s Dockers strangle the Cats next week. Sorry Dips and Phanto.

  9. Campbell Fuller says:

    I agree with Mark to the extent that footy is the winner in September. However, I think it is entirely rational to hate Collingwood.

  10. Neil Anderson says:

    Cheryl we are in furious agreement except for the Freo rating. I think I was won over on a trip to Fremantle and environs last year and saw their cute little training ground in the cute little harbour village. I think the Pav has won me over as well as the modest hero on and off the field. But it is interesting how we pick a finals team after ours drop out. I have written before that Richmond would be it for me so I was happy to see you selected the Bulldogs. Having said that, I would like to apologise to you and others on your Bulldog selection after seeing the shite dished up yesterday at the Gabba. I am still trying to cool down after what I saw yesterday before I let fly on the Almanac. I’m a bit worried my tirade won’t get past the censors.

  11. LB,

    one of my all time fav. books was 101 Uses of a Dead Cat.

    I especially liked the pencil sharpener.

    I would expect you are not the only person that wants the Cats strangled on Saturday night.

    Why am I feeling a bit Collingwood this morning? All of Australia is against me.

  12. Because that’s how you feel every morning Phantom.

  13. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Thanks for everyone’s comments and sorry I haven’t had time to reply individually – crazy day. Can I just say that Mark sounds like an economic rationalist which is fair enough to a point, but footy is about passion and not just good money management. Take the passion out of the game and have all the clubs run by machines and it will be a very boring game indeed :-)

  14. Cheryl, I agree with both your former and latter contributions.
    I love the Tigers. They have been the source of so much amusement over the years, particularly when one Gary Ablett Senior was on the scene. I also have some great mates who are Tigers through and through and they are hysterical!

    Finals are always an exciting time, but I can’t wait for the Tiges to crack the 8 because excitement levels will explode!!

  15. Cheryl,
    You are correct.
    To paraphrase a certain wise man:
    “Who said footy was rational?”

  16. As a West Ham supporter in the EPL I’ve been doing this for years, and supporters from one-team towns like Stoke or Reading or Norwich or Southampton the same.

    That is, I know my mob’s only there to help fill out the fixture list, so most years I keep an eye on the Hammers and work out of the real contenders (usually Manooted, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton) which is the least obnoxious and get behind them for the real stuff at the end of the season.

  17. Chris Weaver says:

    I feel both honoured and a little bemused that Everton makes your list of ‘real contenders’!

    I’ll be hoping Geelong wins the Flag. This might be a little melodramatic, but they ‘saved’ footy from a pretty gloomy spell in 2007. Fast-running, highly skilful and tough – the Cats deserve all the success they get.

  18. That’s a pretty lame reason for not supporting Freo, Cheryl. The Oakleigh Devils VFA side, from where Richmond recruited Tony Jewell and where Billy Barrot ended up, proudly wore purple since, I believe, 1891.

    I wonder if people derided yellow as not being a footy team colour when the Tigers entered the VFL in 1908?

  19. Peter Schumacher says:

    Well for me, in the absence of Brisbane as a born and bred Crow, I have to say with passion “Carn The Crows” Stick it right up these Victorians who think that the game starts and ends in that state. Mick’s comments whilst probably true still rile me beyond belief, much like his rants against Brisbane’s Premierships “they were bought at the expense of other clubs”. Every Grand Final featuring a Victorian team is a HOME GAME for that team, donkey, and that is worth a five goal stand up start against interstate competition. So don’t give me that shit!

    No for me my joy will be complete when Taylor Walker kicks a 55 metre goal after the final siren. Come on Adelaide!

  20. A good choice Cheryl–one I would have made myself!!!

    Gareth

  21. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Hey Lord Bogan, the expectation for next year will be there for those not as cynical as some of us, but it’s not going to be easy as who are we going to kick out of the eight? I agree with you Jonathan re Freo. It is lame but most Victorians find it hard to get passionate about teams like the Dockers, especially when they play Ross Lyon’s brand of football! The Richmond Freo games were both shocking to watch.

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