AFL Grand Final – Adelaide v Richmond: Overseas Correspondence

Very good friends of Middle Australia have spent the entire footy season travelling Europe. They were able to watch the Grand Final on delay in Crete. With me being a Richmond supporter, they asked for my take on the game. I was fortunate to get a ticket the match via the Richmond ballot. My ticket was in standing room in bay M12 with the other Richmond faithful.


Below is the message I wrote to the my friends, and thought I would share it with the Footy Almanac community. There has been some very minor editing to protect the innocent from the Richmond diehard.


Daws and Susie,

What an extraordinary day pretty much sums it up.
I was in Standing room positioned level with the 50m line down at the Punt Rd end. As my ticket came via the Richmond ballot it was all Richmond around me. Some of Richmond’s long suffering faithful were in the throng with me.
While the viewing wasn’t great, to be surrounded by the faithful was incredible. There was one of those small screens near us, but there wasn’t much point in watching it as it was about 2 sec behind the play. It mightn’t seem much, but if a goal was kicked or a tackle made it meant missing the spontaneity of the crowd roar.
After Adelaide kicked the first two goals there was an eerie silence around the ground. I think the Richmond faithful were scared it could become ugly quickly, but no-one was saying so. Richmond steadied and were only 11 down at quarter time. The second quarter set the tone for the rest of the match with Richmond kicking 4.1 to the Crows 5 points; no goals. Richmond’s pressure was extraordinary and the Crows seemed to wilt under it. Richmond went into halftime 10 points up, 41-31.
While the signs were good at halftime, all the faithful were nervous the Crows would come out strong at the start of the third quarter. They didn’t, and Richmond extended the lead to 34 points (74-40). The Tiges kicked 5.4 to the Crows 1.3. Richmond never let the pressure off the Crows and apart from Sloane it was hard to name a Crows player that was doing anything. Rance, Houli and Martin were playing great games, and the rest of the team were manic in applying pressure.
Amongst the standing room Tigers there was a sense a win was on the cards, but no one wanted to say so. Richmond kicked the first two of the last quarter and while the standing room mob were now happy and hugging each other, it was still too early to celebrate what looked like a win. The Crows kicked two in a row, but time had been run off the clock. When Butler kicked a goal at about the 18 minute mark there was genuine celebration going on in the crowd. Butler kicked another at close to 21 minutes into the quarter, and that’s when spontaneous singing of Tigerland first started up. Martin kicked another at about the 23 minute mark and the lid was well and truly off. If the same sex marriage vote was taken in the standing room of Bay M12 it would be 100% in approval. I have never seen so many grown men hugging each other.
Cameron kicked one for the Crows, but it didn’t matter, the win was ours. Richmond kicked 14 goals to 4 after quarter time. When the siren rang, Tigerland was played so many times I lost count.
Martin received the Norm Smith, but it could have easily gone to Houli or Rance. Reiwoldt, Edwards and Prestia also played well, but really the whole team did. The team pressure was incredible and the Crows couldn’t cope.
It may surprise you, I didn’t have a drink at all during the game or after. The excitement of a potential win becoming a reality in the third quarter, and then a certainty during the last, used up a fair amount of emotion. All of the Richmond fans, and there were many, stuck around for the official announcements and more singing.
Once that was over, I sat on the steps outside the ‘G, and felt happy and content. I observed the joy Richmond supporters, old and new, were showing for the win and it was great. I caught up with my sister, who was there with her family, for a short time at The Killers concert. After that, I had a sense the right thing to do was to go back to my sister’s place where mum was. Mum isn’t really a footy fan, but the last two weeks, including yesterday, were the first times in mum’s life she has watched full games by herself. Deep down we all knew dad would be watching down so it felt right to be with mum.
The curse Helen D’Amico is now broken and I feel contented.
Go Tiges,
The Chairman
(A.K.A. John Baker)


More 2017 Grand Final coverage here.

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