Tiger Torment

BY – JACKSON CLARK

One word springs to mind when describing the Richmond Football Club – passion. We have had a couple of passionate albeit erratic key forwards and there is little doubt we supporters are passionate.

There have been plenty of ups and downs during my time barracking for Richmond. Unfortunately there have been more downs than ups since I naively decided to follow the Tigers as a four year old. I am a competitive person and decided to follow the Tigers for the sole reason that my father is a Bombers supporter and we wear opposite jumpers with a yellow sash instead of red.

My early memories of the Tigers involve Nick Daffy kicking a long goal or Matthew Knights running hard through the midfield. Danny Frawley took us to a preliminary final in the early naughties and we were belted by eventual premiers Brisbane to the tune of 68 points.  I was seven years old at the time and fast forward more than a decade later, I am still waiting to see the Tigers play finals. I sympathised greatly with Matthew Richardson and by the time of his retirement he would become one of the most popular figures in the AFL.

The appointment of Terry Wallace sparked great hope for Tigers supporters. Wallace had come across from the Western Bulldogs after taking them to a couple of preliminary final losses. He announced a five-year plan that was supposed to ensure success for the club. Unfortunately, this success was nowhere to be seen and the Tigers supporters would have to continue to suffer in pain for some time yet. From the outside looking in, it appeared as though Wallace cared more about developing his tan than steering the Tigers to victory and his tenure ended with disappointment.

During this time the club announced the signing of silky-skilled forward Nathan Brown from the Western Bulldogs. Brown started his second season at the club in emphatic style and was kicking goals from everywhere, managing to bob up when he was needed most. By the half way mark of the season Brown was arguably the most electrifying man in the whole competition. It all came to a shuddering halt when the marvellous forward went down with a badly broken leg against the Demons. Unfortunately for the Tigers and Brown, his leg would cause further complications and he was unable to return to the player he once was.

Every pre-season Richmond supporters have been fed the same clichéd nonsense that the side has had its biggest and best pre-season yet and all of its players are looking noticeably bigger and stronger. By round one the confidence of Tigers supporters would be sky-high and there would be talks of finals appearances. It would not take long for the bubble to burst and all the hopes of the Tigers supposers to get washed away. This often occurred against Carlton, my most despised club, on a Thursday night in front of a large crowd.

The draft has also caused the club and its supporters plenty of torment since the days of drafting Anthony Banik and Richard Lounder at number one. If an opposition club is looking at drafting strategy to secure the next champion of the league, look no further than trading for the pick that immediately follows Richmond’s. It is comical looking back on some of the selection blunders that we made. Aaron Fiora directly before Matthew Pavlich, Richard Tambling in front of Buddy Franklin, Jarrad Oakley-Nichols before Mitch Clark, and even our selection of injury-plagued big man Ben Griffiths over Nat Fyfe is looking dubious.

But I guess that is all part and parcel of the package of being a Richmond supporter and there is no use dwelling on the negatives. A good mate of mine named Rex is a fellow passionate Tigers supporter and he showed me times when Richmond were a powerhouse of the AFL. Although these times were well before I was born, hearing about, reading and watching the successful era of the Tigers gave me temporary joy and offered me a glimmer of hope for the future. Another positive is that we have the best club song in the whole competition. I even reckon plenty of neutral supporters can secretly admit to belting out the ‘yellow and black’ part of the song after a close win.

Once thing is for certain and that is I will be a Richmond supporter for life. I love the Tigers and I firmly believe that we are on the way back up as a club. We have the nucleus of an awesome midfield, solid key defenders and key forwards that look like superstars on their day. I guess only time will tell …

TWITTER – @JCLARK182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

Comments

  1. T Bone says:

    Great read Jackson. I really liked the pacing of your piece. Just the right amount of words in all your sentences.

    I was a Richmond fan as a young fellow and enjoyed their great success in the 70’s and early 80’s.. I got off then in 1983, only because I felt a geographical tie to Footscray in the early 80’s. Boy, did I get lucky, eh? Who would have ever thunk what the next 30 years had in store for this 70’s powerhouse.

    Stick with your team, mate, I reckon this years list is going somewhere, and your loyalty will soon be rewarded

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