Grand Final – Richmond v GWS: Bidding a fond farewell to the Tigers of old


A grand final that was both a coronation and a farewell for the triumphant Tigers.


Two premierships in three years has cemented this Richmond team’s place in AFL lore.


And yet if the 2017 premiership winning Tigers were the people’s champion, they handed back their belt after the final siren on Saturday.


Not because they did anything wrong in crushing a hugely disappointing Giants side. But rather that the victory marked the last page of the Richmond fairy tale story that had so captivated the neutral audience.


For in reclaiming the cup, the Tigers passed from wildly popular historical avengers to the far less romantic status of great football side.


This was the part of the journey where anyone not cloaked in yellow and black said their goodbyes and alighted the Tiger train.


And the jubilant Richmond faithful heading for Swan Street barely noticed the exodus, for they don’t need our empathy anymore.


The sense of collective ownership now gone, this is Richmond’s team and Richmond’s team alone.


But the Tigers’ legacy remains as a shining light for the other clubs that we now turn our attention back to.


For a club in Richmond that was a punchline for thirty-five odd years did the unthinkable and changed its stripes.


And that means any club can, even the Saints and the Demons (and dare I say it the sickly Suns).


If you don’t believe me, you have likely already allowed these yellow and black glory days to obscure the pain that preceded them. Pain borne in the mediocrity that cloaked Punt Road Oval following the club’s golden era spanning the late 1960s to the early 1980s.


While having poor results in common, the Tigers’ even lacked the charm that many fellow-strugglers possessed.


Sans the romance of St Kilda, Melbourne and South Melbourne / Sydney’s premiership droughts – and the colour that always illuminated Moorabbin and Gary Ablett’s Cats – the Tigers were just plain ordinary.


Even the bright spots that were the club’s preliminary final runs of 1995 and 2001 ended in the kind of bloodbaths that serve to reinforce inadequacies rather than potential.


Of course, Richmond had Matthew Richardson. But it’s easy to forget that the wildly popular contemporary ‘Richo’ gracing our TV screens and social media accounts, is the same frustrated, wonky-kicking forward who often-times came to personify the flaws of his beloved Tigers.


Whereas now the likes of Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt and co speak to a club with the richest of cultural tapestries, complete with the incredible newly-stitched Marlion Pickett thread.


That and the affirmation of a second premiership cup, which has eluded so many great teams of the past.


And then there is GWS, the grand final day Washington Generals to Richmond’s Harlem Globetrotters.


The Giants broke the solemn unwritten pledge that a grand final team must not spoil everyone’s big day by laying an egg. A failing made even more egregious by GWS denying us a Tigers v Pies blockbuster courtesy of its epic preliminary final win over Collingwood.


And yet disappointment in the margin and the joy of #bigbigsound memes aside, one feels that many of us weren’t quite ready for the AFL’s golden child to snatch away the game’s prized toy.


Saturday’s uber-humbling display, together with the prospect of more Giants stars heading for the exit doors, may well have got us most of the way there.


In any event, there is no need to shed too many tears for the Orange Army.


After all, one suspects that the relative youth of the club and many of its players will mean this grand final loss will be far more developmental step than deeply scarring experience.


Throw in the fact that as consolation prizes go, the Stephen Coniglio re-signing on the eve of the finals – which felt very much like a fork in the road moment for this AFL outpost – is near top of the list.


And now we jump headlong into trade week before the draft, pre-season and AFLW, for this contemporary AFL beast rarely sleeps.


Another grand final played and won, and a reminder that in sport – as in life – nothing lasts forever.


RICHMOND                                2.3     7.5     12.9     17.12     (114)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     1.2     1.6     2.7     3.7     (25)


Riewoldt 5, Martin 4, Lynch 2, Rioli, Soldo, Pickett, Lambert, Bolton, Cotchin
Greater Western Sydney:
Cameron, Hopper, Himmelberg 


Richmond: Martin, Riewoldt, Prestia, Pickett, Edwards, Vlastuin, Houli
Greater Western Sydney:
Taranto, Shaw, Haynes, Hopper, Williams


15 –
Dustin Martin, Richmond – 33333
6 – Bachar Houli, Richmond – 222
4 – Marlion Pickett, Richmond – 211
3 – Jack Riewoldt, Richmond – 111
2 – Dion Prestia, Richmond – 2


Judges voting (3, 2, 1)
Alastair Lynch (Chair) – D. Martin, B. Houli, J. Riewoldt
Chris Johnson – D. Martin, D. Prestia, J. Riewoldt
Matthew Lloyd – D. Martin, B. Houli, M. Pickett
Bruce McAvaney – D. Martin, B. Houli, M. Pickett
Angela Pippos – D. Martin, M. Pickett, J. Riewoldt


Greater Western Sydney:


Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Ryan, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 100,014 at the MCG


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE




Having failed to achieve sporting success, Jump Ball has resorted to writing about those that have. Jump is a regular contributor to Footyology ( and the pen behind the Ball Don't Lie Blog (


  1. Jump

    It’s a fine line isn’t it? At half time in the Prelim, the headlines about Richmond were being drafted with the term “under-achiever” figuring prominently. Happily the last six quarters of our season yielded 25.20 to 5.11 and the transition to “great team” is now complete.

    The next stage of the metamorphosis is to become boringly successful and to be openly hated. Bring it on!

  2. What a day! I didn’t have any of the nerves and feeling of dread of the first half of the prelim. Saturday was pure enjoyment from first to final siren (and sorry to everyone from the other 17 teams who wanted a close grand final). We’ve proved that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. We’re a great team!

    Now we get a summer of Fox Footy Tiger-thons, and when trade talk gets too boring, we can just pop the telly on and watch the grand final again.

    @ Stainless, wow, only 5.11 in the last 6 quarters of footy.

Leave a Comment