AFL Finals Week 1 – Richmond v Carlton: How ironic

How ironic that having finished ninth six times in the past 20 years, when Richmond finally earned a place in the finals after 12 years the team that finished ninth also made it.

How ironic that the team that snuck into the eight thanks to Essendon’s disastrous supplements scandal was Carlton – the mortal enemy.

And how ironic that the Blues went on to win this Elimination Final, rubbing salt into the wounds of devastated Tigers fans, a whole generation of whom had never seen a final. It was a bitter pill to swallow after our team had finally made it to September on its merit.

Richmond simply wasn’t good enough on the day, but the arrogance shown by some Carlton fans after the game didn’t help. Our hearts were not only ripped out but tromped on.

In yet another irony, the lead-up to the game had been magical. The Tiger Army was out in force following a 12-year finals drought that felt like 200. The game sold out in a blink, with only 15,000 MCC walk-up seats left on the day.

Long-suffering Richmond supporters shared a special connection and fans of the other 16 clubs willed us to beat the Blues. It was the Tigers’ week; our turn to shine. We lapped it up.

I saw the cheer squad preparing its huge banner, taking 16 hours instead of the usual six. Members painted caricatures of every player who’d taken the field in 2013, never mind the fact it would be destroyed in seconds. Richmond was in the finals!

I saw training sessions packed with success-starved supporters and met the likes of newborn Zoe, who was just 11 days old on the day of the game. Zoe was signed up hours after her birth by her 86-year-old great-grandmother Joan Chapple, a 68-year Richmond member.

I also met 11-year-olds who weren’t born when Richmond last played finals and diehards like Carli Keith, 28, who drove from Ararat with 11-month-old daughter Mackenzie to the Tigers’ Tuesday morning training session. She’d been up since 5.30am for the three hour trip.

At the final Saturday morning training session several thousand of us were in seventh heaven – but nervous as hell.

We hadn’t been this apprehensive since … last time Richmond played finals. Back then we’d met Carlton in a surreal  2001 semi with 83,323 fans still shaking from the September 11 bombings earlier that week. We then lost a preliminary final to Brisbane by 68 points and had not seen September since.

This time the only dampener as we headed to the ‘G was watching Tony Abbott become Prime Minister the night before. Kevin Rudd’s speech was just as infuriating; conceding nothing and grinning like a Cheshire cat after leaving the Labor Party in disarray. Surely this weekend couldn’t get any worse?

Match day dawned with a beautiful sunny sky and the promise of something special. I had excellent seats next to the Richmond Cheer Squad with Brian, our kids Jess, Bec and Ben and friends Claire and Rob and Rob’s son, Cale. None of the kids, aged 10-14, had seen a final.

The atmosphere was electric and the record crowd of 94,690 even more deafening than Grand Finals now packed with corporate theatregoers. We drank it in like kids in a candy store. We’d finally made it!

The game lived up to the hype, with Richmond dominating the first half before Carlton slowly took control. The Tigers messed around early and should have led by much more than the eight point quarter time margin. Their lack of September experience was not posing a major problem, with Martin, Cotchin and Newman, who had played 232 games without a final, getting plenty of it.

Richmond also dominated the second quarter with seven goals to four. Newman kicked his first finals goal and by the 22 minute mark the Tigers had 27 to 12 inside 50s. But the Blues would not lie down, with Betts, Waite, Robinson and Duigan all kicking truly. At half time the Tigers led by 26.

Richmond fans may want to turn away now.

The third quarter was a nightmare with Carlton slowly but surely taking a stranglehold on the game, thanks largely to Judd’s silky skills, Robinson’s determination and the magic of Betts and Garlett. The Tigers, particularly Delidio and Cotchin, fought hard and clung to a four point lead at the final break. But the tide had turned.

The Blues continued to dominate in the last quarter, kicking six goals to two and controlling play at both ends. Carlton hit the front just before the nine minute mark and were never headed, winning by 20. Garlett’s final goal on the run was literally a dagger to the heart.

We were shattered.

A season that had promised so much was over. Just like that. We were spent and couldn’t get out quickly enough. We just wanted to go home. But as the sad sea of yellow and black trudged towards Richmond station two pig headed Carlton fans started yelling and taunting us. For what?

Sure Richmond supporters were arrogant in the late 1960s and 1970s, but today’s breed is a humble lot – that arrogance evaporated 30 years ago. We don’t pre-empt results and all we wanted was to slink off in peace. But no, these idiots, who were thankfully a small minority, had to rub it in. Classy.

After such a calamitous end to a day that had started so well, all we were left with was the hope that Sydney would put those rude Carlton fans in their place and give their team a football lesson. Now that would be ironic.


RICHMOND   3.5   10.7  12.10  14.12  (96)                  

CARLTON     2.3    6.5  12.7  18.8 (116)          



Richmond: Vickery 2, Cotchin 2, Edwards 2, Maric 2, Riewoldt, Grimes, Newman, Martin, Tuck, Ellis,

Carlton: Waite 4, Duigan 4, Betts 3, Garlett 2, Robinson 2, Warnock, Scotland, Judd



Richmond: Deledio, Cotchin, Martin, Rance, Newman,

Carlton: Judd, Murphy, Robinson, Curnow, Duigan, Betts, Waite, Gibbs


Umpires: Farmer, Nicholls, Meredith CROWD: 94,690


OUR VOTES Judd (Carl) 3, Robinson (Carl) 2, Deledio (Rich), 1.




  1. John Butler says

    Cheryl, kudos to the Tiger fans for making the occasion. Hopefully your team continues to warrant the devotion from this point on.

    Rude Carlton fans? Maybe, but I’ve never noticed much charity on offer between Carlton, Richmond, Collingwood and Essendon. That off field game has always been played hard.

    What a great day!

  2. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi John. Sadly there were a few incidents after the game which put a real dampener on it. Is it too much to ask that they be gracious in defeat after sneaking in thanks to Essendon? Unfortunately all clubs have a few fans who take it too far. None of the Richmond fans I know had gone into the game expecting to win and none of us would have said anything to Carlton fans if we had won. The usual code for footy fans is healthy stirring and having a go at those who assumed that they were going to win if their team falls over (eg Eddie McGuire talking about having to play in Perth before Collingwood had even played Port Adelaide). Thankfully most people stick to this.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Cheryl Good write up but the most arrogant idiotic Football supporter I no happens to be a Richmond Supporter he was planning his trip to Sydney before the Game so all clubs have them also yet again in a Big Game Chaplin was a huge disappointment
    I fear for Richmond supporters that you will not get such a Easy draw next year or have so much luck injury wise eg Adelaide this season

  4. Cheryl Critchley says

    Yep true Malcolm – there are idiots following every team. The line is crossed though when they taunt strangers when they are at their lowest. Your mate would have copped it fair and square knowing he’d got a head of himself and deserved it. Most Richmond fans went into this game as nervous as hell and not taking anything for granted.

  5. Cheryl
    As a Carlton person that win was like kissing your sister. You did it but not proud to be there

  6. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Tony. It must have felt weird! But I’m sure if the boot had been on the other foot we would have taken the win. For us it was a sad end to one of the most controversial seasons for a long time. It also proved us Tigers just can’t take a trick. We finally make the finals only to be beaten by the mortal enemy who finished ninth. I know lots of people think that’s funny but we certainly don’t. Thanks for your understanding :-)

  7. sean gorman says

    Just for the record in the west there are no – repeat no knobber supporters who go for Freo. They are all with the other mob. Its true!.

    CC hard loss but the Tiges are well placed for next year. The other Tigers – Claremont – my team – also got beaten by the Cardies – West Perf absolutely saturated with knobbers. And jerks.


  8. Cheryl Critchley says

    Good to hear Sean :-). I know some nice Freo fans – like Di Waddingham. Sorry to hear about Claremont. The more Tigers in the finals the better.

  9. Lovely writing, Cheryl. You have a real talent! As a Carlton supporter, you really had me feeling for you and the other Richmond fans – and in truth, in that final quarter, I thought about how devastated you’d all be if Carlton won.

    No, I wasn’t altruistic enough to hope Richmond would win for the sake of those like yourself and ardent friends and family who were over-the-moon about Richmond’s first final appearance in twelve years, but I consoled myself that if we lost, and we were there courtesy of Essendon in any case, a win would be so special for the Richmond fans.

    I’m no stranger to the Carlton/Richmond rivalry, having grown up the youngest in a family of six children that was three Carlton, three Richmond and two Essendon. I still remember my bitter tears as I ran up the road away from our house to escape my brothers’ merciless crowing to their ten year old sister when Richmond trounced us in the 1969 Grand Final. I got my own back, I’m ashamed to say, in 1972 when it was Carlton’s turn to beat Richmond.

    Funnily enough, in spite of my brothers’ teasing over the years, which truthfully grew into a far more good-natured banter quite quickly, I greatly admired the Richmond team of the seventies and eighties, and amongst such football heroes as Geoff Southby, Kenny Hunter, Bruce Doull etc, I also included Royce Hart, Geoff Raines and Barry Rowlings to name a few of my Richmond faves. In those years, I probably watched almost as many Richmond games as I did Carlton. So you see, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for the Tiges.

    On behalf of all the reasonable Carlton fans, who know how euphoric it is to win and how bitter it is to lose, I apologise for those nasty fans who rubbed salt into your wounds. Empathy should play an important part in any ardent fans life, particularly when you consider the team you beat one week will in all likelihood be the team that beats you in the not too distant future.

    I think the rivalry between Carlton/Richmond/Essendon and Collingwood is actually quite special – a reminder of those by-gone days when each club had its own ground, players finished the match with so much mud on them you couldn’t see their number, and Aussie Rules football truly belonged to the Victorian fans and not some big corporation who price the tickets nowadays beyond the means of the average family.

    I truly hope Richmond does better next year – just please don’t beat Carlton!

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I can empathise Cheryl. You’ll always find a few peanuts in the giant turd that is Carlton.

    I watched the game after leaving the G to the sounds of silence the night before. I waited for Deledio, Riewoldt and Martin to show leadership in the last quarter. They didn’t and were very disappointing. I’d be filthy after that loss.

  11. craig dodson says


    Like most neutral fans yesterday I was cheering for the tigers. You have a good CEO, coach and playing list so you should have sustained finals visits all things being equal.

    The footy gods are cruel at times but I guess that is why we love sport. Once you bounce the ball anything can happen.

    I hope my swannies can take care of the blues for you this week, however, I fear we are running on tired legs.

  12. Cheryl Critchley says

    Yep Phil I am filthy. We needed to step up, should have stepped up but didn’t. Run over by a 30-year-old coming off an injury. No excuses there.

  13. Cheryl Critchley says

    Thanks Craig. Boy do I hope you can win next week too!

  14. Cheryl Critchley says

    Thanks Suzanne for your kind words. The rivalries are great, and I’m listening to KB copping it on SEN now which is lots of fun. It’s just annoying when people are arrogant and rude about it to those who haven’t done anything to deserve it. Sounds like you have a great football family and there will be plenty more fantastic battles between their teams in the next few years.

  15. Neil Anderson says

    Cheryl. Last year you and I had a light-hearted contest about who was the most hard-done- by team between the Bulldogs and the Tigers. One premiership versus no finals appearances in the last twelve years etc.
    After yesterday’s result, I cede defeat.
    To see my second-team go down to a team I loathe the most…there is no contest.
    If it’s possible to get into the heart of a supporter from another team, I did it yesterday.
    Lets hope we can make sense of this nightmare when the dust settles. Bugger irony! This was pure AFL footy gods at work letting the enemy slip through the gate after waiting til the end of the season to replace the other evil-doers.

  16. Hi Cheryl, I love your work. Are you a writer or something?

    No doubt Richmond deserved to be there; Carlton made it only because of an AFL decision. I am sure that if the circumstances had been reversed Richmond would have taken the chance too. Yet my social media feeds have been inundated by Richmond supporters accusing Carlton of having cheated. That’s pretty poor form.

    Once there, any side would have made the most of the opportunity, and the simple fact is Carlton played the best game of its season and overhauled the Tigers with guts, grit, determination and some brilliant passages of play. Too many Richmond players clocked off at half time, leaving the burden to too few.

    The win came despite some appalling umpiring in the first half, which gave Richmond (at my count) four goals.

    I think Tigers supporters can hold their heads up high. Your team has shown it has what it takes to make the finals and you will surely be there next year.

    Until then, I think you and your cohorts should switch to barracking for the underdogs in the competition. The Mighty Blues.

    (By the way, my grandfather played for the Tigers in the 1930s, alongside my ex-wife’s grandfather.)

  17. Cheryl Critchley says

    Neil it sounds like we are footy soul mates! Destined to suffer together for all eternity… :-)

  18. Cheryl Critchley says

    You make some good points Campbell but the umpiring went both ways. Eddie Betts got a gimme in front of goal and there were a few crucial decisions in the last quarter that went against us. It seemed that one quarter they’d favour one team, then swap the next to compensate. If Richmond fans are saying Carlton cheated then they are idiots. Of course any team would have lapped up that opportunity. We should blame Essendon, not Carlton, for that. Meanwhile I don’t like your chances getting Richmond fans to see Carlton as underdogs :-).

  19. Thanks for your terrific writing this season Cheryl. And thank you Suzanne for you magnanimity. I think the fine balance between stirring and needling versus actual hostility between clubs is one of the outstanding values of our game. Passing on to our kids the importance of maintaining old rivalries BUT ALSO the importance of offering the Carlton scum next to you one of your devon sandwiches.

    It’s so disappointing to go down the same track three times against Carlton this year. Pulled the first one out of the fire, but R21 and again yesterday the deja vu was … just very painful.

    I live in Tas and get to one game a year at most – my heart goes out to the diehards who are there home and away, rain or shine. Multiply my angst by 100 and that’s how they would be feeling. The cheer squad banner was so beautiful – the G full to the brim with happy nervous Tigers. If nothing else we can say we were part of a magnificent footy occasion.

    My 11-year old who had never seen a tiger final fled in tears when Judd tore us apart in the 3rd quarter. He knows in his guts that this Tiger team don’t have it in them to reverse momentum like that. Until we mature into a team that just doesn’t give up 5 and 6 goal runs, we are going to have these heartbreaking games.

    Did someone give Dusty an ultimatum on the spot about that disgraceful goal celebration? I was hoping the Chief had a direct line to the bench and would say to him “You have just taken $100,000 off what we are prepared to pay. You are a liability and if you are someone else’s problem next season we can live with that. You have taken the privilege of playing in a final and used it as a soapbox to show off your worst influences”.

    Some guys who have been huge for us this year really came up short yesterday when the tide turned, and I count Dimma among them. He was squarely out-coached and I listened in vain to his post-match for an acknowledgement of that. It was all statspeak. He would have been shattered and not at his best, I’ll allow him that. But he didn’t concede what was obvious – Judd got off the chain and won 3 or 4 or 5 centre breaks on the trot. Losing Conca was a factor I guess.

    It’s amazing that we had the rub of the green with the umpies, had the same number of scoring shots yet got flogged. Long before Carlton hit the front they had our measure. What was the rationale for Riewoldt AND Edwards going to defence in the 3rd quarter?

    I am sorry I am feeling a bit negative at the moment. I will maybe start looking at the positives out of the season during the week. It’s been a very long wait, and although we have talented young players our club has never been good at backing up a good season (at last since the Whitlam years anyway).

  20. Cheryl

    Of all the teams to lose to…

    It was a spectacular day, the sort of thing that makes you love footy, and if you have enough in your life, you can cop the result and still say it was a good day.

    Like you, I saw and sat near people for whom footy means too much, and logic and manners flew very early. I was saying to people at the start how great it is for fierce rivals to be able to sit together and walk to the game. sad that some take it too far, and Richmond people are just as guilty of getting agro over the result.

    I spent it with great mates, good seats, a pre-game parma in Richmond surrounded by yellow and black and walked to the ground in a sea of Tiger fans. My mate had flown in from Shanghai and we sat with a mum and daughter down from the Gold Coast. I was toey as a roman sandal.

    I think we were satisfied at half time, may have played our game by then. Loved the players having their final pre game chat in front of the cheer squad at the Punt Rd end.

    The umpiring decisions were all there, the 50 mt penalties harsh but in the rules and Robinson’s brain fade in the final quarter a massive moment.

    But, they were hungier, more expereinced and in the end, better. Credit to them, Judd a star, Waite saves his best for us, they are a chance next week having watched the Swans up close Friday.

    Task now is not to mark too harshly at de-listing time those that suffered from second half nerves yesterday and not be satisfied that we simply made it


  21. Cheryl Critchley says

    All true Sean. I think tough decisions were made against both sides but most were right. We also had a great experience inside (apart from the result) as we were in an area that was mostly Richmond. I think the trouble was all afterwards as people left. Let’s hope the Tigers can now recover and come back even stronger next season.

  22. Robyn Meggs says

    Hi Cheryl, another wonderful article which has been written with great impartiality considering how much pain we are feeling right now. I hope with some distance that the experience of yesterday will become a lot softer, nostalgic even. The atmosphere was unbelievable and like nothing I’ve experienced since the 1982 Grand Final in which, following your irony theme, we were mortally wounded by the hated Blues YET AGAIN. We were also in a predominantly Tigers area, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find an area of the G yesterday that wasn’t yellow and black! I knew in the third quarter that it was all over, but as I looked around, I could still watch a sea of expectant, optimistic faces, like worshippers at an altar. All were turning to each other saying “there’s plenty of time, we can do it”. Such was our desperation to drag the boys over the line – a line they’re not quite ready to cross unfortunately. As much as it pains me to say, credit to Carlton for drilling down into our mental weaknesses and inexperience – I hope that the lessons will be learned and the pain will burn for what I suspect will be a very tough pre-season (for we supporters too)! I didn’t expect to win yesterday, and many of my fellow Tigers didn’t either – therein lies the fundamental difference between we Tiger supporters and the Blues, their sense of entitlement. They expect to be the best, win at all costs, play finals every year and this can be expressed as the arrogance, rudeness and dickheadery witnessed at the G yesterday. Maybe we need to take some of this ethos into our team – but only on the field so we too believe we belong at the top and on the September stage. On reflection today, I’m extremely proud of the season this year- we improved in so many areas and enjoyed some wonderful matches and individual performances ( witness The previously much- maligned Dan Jackson), and despite my blackness, I look forward to next season like I have no other for thirty years. Whilst there are idiot elements within every club and supporter base, I feel we have, on the whole, conducted ourselves with a decent amount of hubris and respect. I wonder if the Blues can say the same….

  23. Cheryl Critchley says

    Thanks Chris, Sean and Robyn. It has been an amazing season but so disappointing that they couldn’t go on with it. I just hope they can build on it for next year and not go backwards again. That’s what worries me now. Let’s hope that what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger :-)

  24. Cheryl Critchley says

    PS Chris that was really strange by Martin. I didn’t know about that until I saw the photo. It’s definitely not a good look.

  25. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks Cheryl for a measured report, which beautifully evokes the emotion of a very emotional day. I was also pleased to see your reference to that weird day in 2001 when you came out on top, and when Kouta did his knee, incidentally.

    I like to think that I conduct myself with civility, even in the most testing of circumstances – and an intense football environment is about the most challenging. Win without crowing, lose without crying is the standard I aspire to, if I don’t always achieve. I can always empathise with the losing team’s supporters, whether I’m at a match as a rabid fan or a neutral. Yesterday the demands of courtesy were reinforced, as my son had asked if I could get seats for two friends of his (one an enthusiastic Tiger) via my AFL membership. Expecting a couple of blokes, I was surprised to find two young women alongside me, and the Tiger had a brother playing. This ensured that I was even more conscious of my behaviour than usual. I arrived at the ground, expecting Richmond to win, but thinking that the Blues were a possibility. So while I would have been disappointed with a loss, it would not have had the deflating effect that a Geelong or Collingwood supporter experienced on Saturday.

    However, sadly some of my fellow Blues failed the obligations of civility, just as you experienced. I was particularly disgusted with the bloke five rows forward of me, who made a particular show of taking a photo of the Tigers’ fans immediately in front of me to record their disappointment as the match slipped away late in the last quarter. Only the commendable restraint of the victims of that stunt prevented an all-in blue.

    I was also a bit troubled by Jeff Garlett’s several looks over the shoulder and slow down just to rub in his last quarter open goal. I would have allowed him the first check, just in case there was a free, and the trigger-happy whistle-blowers were looking for a 50, but Garlett was just performing like some of the obnoxious supporters.
    I spent election day handing out how-to-vote recommendations for the losing side. That also gives one plenty of opportunities to practise humility and forbearance, as does my moonlighting as a football umpire.
    I think your list indicates that Richmond is getting there, and I’m not particularly confident that Carlton will be higher placed than the Tigers at the end of 2014.
    Keep the faith!
    Kudos also to the many sensible contributions to this thread.

  26. This arvo Dusty got a tweet from A Krakouer congratulating him on it. Enough said.

  27. Cheryl Critchley says

    Peter and Robyn you almost brought a tear to my eye with your kindness! That is what footy is all about. Fellow fans showing empathy for others who have put their heart and soul into it. Of course good natured ribbing is fine, particularly when someone has been bragging that their team is going to win (not to mention any Eddie McGuire names), but it seems a few arrogant Blues overstepped the mark. Overall, however, most fans are great and sympathise when their brothers and sisters are in pain. Thanks guys!

  28. Peter Fuller says

    According to the Channel 9 News this evening, there was a sad aftermath to one example of “banter” getting out of hand near Richmond station – two blokes in hospital, and police investigating. I don’t know what time it occurred, but I’m a bit unnerved as it was the entrance I used on my way home.
    Rather than include the comment on the other more relevant post, I’ll mention that I engaged in a conversation with a Magpie supporter on the train home from their game Saturday night. I told him I was consoled by the fact that Carlton were still alive, when Collingwood were already eliminated, although as I told him I thought we’d only last another 20 hours.

  29. Peter,
    That is indeed a troubling report to which you refer, from near the Richmond train station.
    It’s a wonderful old world that we all share here. Any divisions between us, are, of course, false constructs.
    So well done to your Navy Blues, and Cheryl, well done to your Tigers. Well done to the whole lot of us.
    I guess it behoves all of us to reflect on this matter.

  30. Cheryl Critchley says

    I did see that report and it sounds awful. It shows how these things can get out of hand. I think it was a bit of a powder keg with Richmond fans so upset and a small minority of Carlton fans sticking the boots in when they were at their lowest. Violence is never OK and I hope we don’t see anything like that again.

  31. Trent C and Brett D fronted the media hordes today.

    As the Blues Brothers.

    Which of course will go down like a lead balloon with the (anti) social media and talkback crowd.

  32. still crying, alas there is eh mmm always net year.

  33. I was barracking for Richmond, too, Cheryl. What a lousy weekend. Collingwood loses while Abbott, Hawthorn and Carlton win. I hope Jeff Kennett and John Elliot choke on their whiskeys.

  34. Boorish, idiotic crowd behaviour is becoming a factor in my enjoyment of the experience of watching live sport – especially football. I ditched one-day cricket more than 20 years ago for exactly that reason, and find more and more that the centrepiece of my ‘live’ sporting year is shifting from the MCG on Boxing Day or Grand Final Day, to the other end of the footbridge the two weeks either side of Australia Day.

    TV started turning a camera back into the crowd about a dozen years ago, when they latched onto Joffa with his gold lame jacket (pronounce ‘lame’ any way you like), which was fine because he was mildly irritating sometimes but absolutely harmless. But there’s nothing harmless about the stuff I’ve been reading on this thread, and the stuff I see and hear in the crowd these days is a whole lot more than ‘mildly irritating’. But that seems to be what the roving cameras seem to be looking for when they seek out feral fans to highlight at ‘controversial’ moments.

    Apart from any wacky conspiracy theories about what might motivate a TV station to do that, I wonder if it adds to the problem by not just making this kind of crap legitimate, but giving these lamebrains a reason to ‘up the ante’ even further to get their heads on the idiot box.

    Those Carlton ‘supporters’ with the Candid Camera, and the hoons on the railway platform, should be sought after by the club and told never to darken the doors again. If they were wearing club colors or merchandise, there is a case they were, to coin a phrase the AFL often finds useful. ‘bringing the club into disrepute’. They might see themselves as the life-blood of their club (specially when the alternative is seeing themselves as the total SFAs they are otherwise), but Carlton doesn’t need them, Richmond doesn’t need them, the AFL doesn’t need them, and if Channel 7 decides they really can’t do without their ‘color and movement’ they can surely afford to hire Rent-a-crowd.

  35. Cheryl Critchley says

    Thanks Haje and Dave. What a crap weekend for so many people! And Rick I agree there are too many idiots involved in sport but thankfully as Richmond supporters we’ve rarely seen any problems. That’s why Sunday was so disappointing. You’d think whoever beat Richmond from ninth would show a bit of humility but it appears some Carlton fans just couldn’t help themselves. It is hard to describe just how much Richmond fans were hurting after a 12 year drought, only to be beaten by a team that shouldn’t be there. You can compound a normal finals loss by about 20.

  36. Cheryl, to draw a contrast I remember the other-worldly unreality of the half hour straight after the 99 Prelim. We were in the GF, they weren’t, we left making an almighty racket, they sat until we’d all cleared off with their chins on the concrete. Never the twain met. Maybe they dared not.

    18 months later Carlton upset Essendon again, and both sets of supporters cacked themselves laughing as one as the original Milney, Gary Moorcroft, was dragged stat-less two minutes from full time at the same moment as the ‘no spectators allowed on the arena’ sign was flashed onto the scoreboard.

    Of course both teams were pretty good back then and following them wasn’t the ordeal that following Carlton became. And maybe that’s the difference – it’s easy to be magnanimous when your entitlement issues are not being challenged, but ten years of garbage strips that away and leaves bitterness and small-mindedness in its place, and possibly that, combined with the kind of general anti-social attitude that may be found in any context, is what you copped at Richmond station.

    (Your story also reminded me of why I always drive anywhere in Melbourne, especially to the football, but that’s a whole different issue.)

  37. Cheryl Critchley says

    That’s an interesting perspective Rick because 30 years of failure at Richmond has had the opposite effect on us, with fans becoming generally very humble. We never brag about winning a particular game beforehand because we are so conditioned to failure! I guess that’s why it hurts more when we get stirred, because we wouldn’t do that to others after a game. When two clubs are on an equal footing and both have been stirring each other up before the game that’s fine, and both sides expect to cop it afterwards.

  38. Cheryl, So maybe if Mick and his next six or seven successors as Messiah all fall by the wayside in turn and Carlton are still the same shower after another 20 years, maybe we’ll learn humility then? Dunno if I can be stuffed waiting that long.

    However, purely in the name of balance I also have memories, eg of the last H&H of 1997, the height/depth of ‘Unleash the Geish’, the Matty Knights as Bart Simpson banner with the blackboard style message ‘End Carlton’s Season, and the flag-style celebrations that followed, and (disclaimer: second hand story) the matchwinning Harrison goal was the ‘on hold’ tone if you rang Punt Road all that summer. It’s not an obsession and it doesn’t justify the next insult the other way, but it does show the other side.

    It also means club itself can’t always completely wash its hands of ill-feeling created when it over-rallies (read: ‘sucks up to’) its fans. If I was the personality type likely to over-cultivate the chips on my shoulder, or I was too dependant on my football club of choice for my sense of self-worth, that may be the type of incident that I might use to justify some very bad behaviour.

    1997 was about as far into Richmond’s ‘dark ages’ that Carlton are now.

  39. Cheryl Critchley says

    Interesting perspective Rick! We hadn’t won a flag for 17 years then, so it’s been a long time since. Many Richmond fans have been “beaten into submission” since then and would never dare come up with those antics. The current Cheer Squad chairman, Gerard Egan, insists on never mentioning the opposition on a banner so that certainly wouldn’t happen now. I agree that some people tie their identities too much to their footy club, which isn’t a bad thing if it gives them a sense of self and don’t use it to hurt or bully others. I love my club but certainly don’t follow it blindly, as people know, so I can separate myself when needed.

  40. Cheryl, if you were at the 01 1st semi straight after 9/11. maybe you can confirm or deny something I think I remember from that day but makes absolutely no sense at all:

    Were there or weren’t there fireworks as part of the pre-game entertainment? Surely not even the AFL would be that stupid?

  41. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Rick,
    No I don’t remember any fireworks that day, just how surreal it felt and even a bit scary. We were all looking over our shoulders. I really don’t remember a lot about that game except it was a real slog.

  42. Will our suffering ever end…

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