There is something simmering at Tigerland

Lunch with the boys is always something to look forward to. As with most groups there is much good natured ribbing and laughter.

The “ribbing” is usually started by Nuf, a Tigers man.

“The Cats will struggle this year,” he might say.

“Don’t care,” Diesel might reply with a smirk.  “I can die happy.”

“What about the Tiges, hey? They’re looking good.”

Laughter.

The Tigers this. Laughter. The Tigers that. Laughter.

It is joyous laughter; uninhibited laughter; the sort of laughter you only experience when you’re with close friends, but it is good humoured, not derisive. And we laugh, not because we know what the Tigers will do, but because we know what they have done and how Nuf has reacted. The Tigers have been the Cats’ play thing for more than two decades now, and it must frustrate Tiger fans to distraction.

I caught up with the boys on Tuesday. It was not a normal lunch.

“We were just talking about your place,” says Nuf as I walk in, some 10 minutes late.

Swooper, a Blues man who works where I am currently anchored, has obviously briefed the others on the goings-on at the office. They ask me how I’m doing, then we order.

While waiting for our meals, Nuf raises the Gillard/Rudd issue. While eating our meals, he asks if we watched Q&A and we discuss the political issues raised by the show.

Globalisation and its impact on Australia is dissected; distribution of profits from mining becomes a talking point.

“So, the footy,” says Nuf in the final minutes of the lunch. A general chat ensues, but Nuf says nothing specific about the Tigers. We goad him, but he doesn’t bite; not fully anyway.

“The Tigers must have sent out a memo asking members to keep it low key this year,” laughs Swooper as we walk back to work.

I nod, knowing exactly what he means. I’ve never seen Nuf so controlled and low key about his beloved Tigers. No bravado, no roar, no overt optimism.

And it’s not just Nuf. A disquieting quiet has descended upon the Tigers, and upon Tiger fans. They are going about their business without any hype; there is an air of, dare I say it, professionalism and maturity.

It’s funny: they’ve built themselves up for years and I’ve never taken them seriously; now they’ve toned it down, I rate them.

I just feel like there is something simmering at Tigerland.

Last year, they reminded me of the Cats in 2003 – full of endeavour but with an inability to properly execute their skills. Poor skills result in turnovers and good opposition often take full advantage. Turnovers make you look silly; undermine your game plan and your confidence; make you look worse than you perhaps are.

If the Tigers get their skills right, as the Cats did in 2004, and as the Tigers may well do this year with another year of experience behind them, September is definitely on the cards.

I hope that’s the case because I love it when the Tigers are “up and about”. It brings a new dimension to the competition, and adds undeniable electricity.  And I feel no shame in saying that I find “Tigerland” the most stirring Club song in the League.

It would also bring Nuf back to boiling point, and our lunches back to normal.

Comments

  1. Peter
    I’ll be having a similar lunch tomorrow and no doubt the question of the Tigers will come up.

    I agree that we’re probably at about the same point as Geelong circa 2003. However, Geelong had the core of their great team in place by then and I’m not sure that Richmond does. In particular, I don’t see a Scarlett or a Mackie or an Enright in our defence.

    I hope my pessimism is misplaced. Go Tigs!

  2. Agree with your observation Stainless.

    But I remember prior to the 2004 season boasting to Nuf that we were going to the next Brisbane. He scoffed of course as most people would have, and he said, “Brisbane have got 3 Brownlow Medallists. How many have the Cats got?” It was a fair point, but I reeled of Kelly, Chapman, Enright and Corey as future Brownlow medallists. Got none of those right, but they are All-Australians and we did get 2 Brownlows.

    The point is that Scarlett and Milburn were probably the only “known quantities” by the end of 2003. Even at the end of 2006, scribes were of the belief that the Cats did not have the “star” quality to be premiers. The last 5 years have of course been a revelation.

  3. The fact that you could name those players as future champions back then is the key point. Richmond has Cotchin and Martin as genuine midfield guns. Riewoldt and Vickery are a potent combination up forward. But then…I start to run out of names. Not many sides play finals, let alone win flags without a strong defence and a decent ruckman. I’m yet to be convinced we have these – even under development.

    As you can see, I’m taking the “keeping the lid on it”order seriously!

  4. My concern for Tiger supporters is their capacity to keep their good players. They must play finals footy this year or a few of their goodens may be lured off to fat purse country. I believe this would be a shame and long term would be of little benefit to the league.

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