My day with the Grog Squad

Being a Richmond supporter for 20 years you get to know the different supporters groups within the club. Of course there are the coterie groups, the social club and of course the cheer squad. The support group I have had a passing interest in is the famous Richmond Grog Squad. Situated behind the goals at the Punt Rd end of the MCG in the only terraced area in the AFL. The grog squad have been around for as long as I can remember and hold legendary status with the Richmond faithful. They sing chants like they do in Europe or South American soccer game, drink to their hearts content and support the Tigers with a passion rarely seen in a lot of AFL grounds these days.

I had sat near the grog squad in the past, but wanted to stand with them to experience what it was like to be in the grog squad. The Dreamtime game between Richmond and Essendon was the perfect opportunity to stand with the grog squad. Finding my spot with beer in hand I was struck by the different age groups and backgrounds stand as one in the terraces at the G. While you might spot who you would class as a hardcore supporter, there were supporters you would never think would stand with the grog squad. The atmosphere was one of confidence with Richmond in good form after the shaky start to the season. Chatting to some of the supporters over the start of many beers, most of them have been standing there for years throughout the good times and mostly bad times as a Richmond supporter. There is a sense of community within the group and newcomers are welcome as long as you are a Richmond supporter. As the teams come out the squad comes into its own. The Tigerland theme song is sung with gusto and after the dreamtime ceremonies are over the ball is bounced and the chants begin. Jack Reiwaldt and Trent Cotchin are sung, but Dustin Martin being allowed to sleep with one’s wife was quite a funny chant. The Essendon supporters are not missed either and of course their controversies of late provided a lot of material for the grog squad.

As Essendon start to stage a comeback things started to get tense in the terraces of the G. A small group of Essendon supporters have immersed themselves within the grog squad and while the banter between the supporter groups was friendly to start, you could tell as the game wore on there was more venom in the verbal exchanges between the two groups. It all came to a head midway in the third quarter when a fight broke out between the supporters. Full credit to the security staff and police who broke up the fight quickly and escorted the troublemakers out. It did result in one Richmond supporter sustaining a broken nose and needed medical attention. The tension was palpable in the last quarter as both sides were wrestling for the victory. Screaming at the top of my lungs with the tiger faithful, we were willing the lads on to claim the precious 4 points. Supporters were getting even closer together adding more heat to the game. When one of the lads behind screamed we have 90 seconds to go. We started high fiving and hugging each other as we knew the Tigers would grab another valuable 4 points.

Of course the Tigerland theme song was sung in gusto and the beers tasted that much better after a win. Leaving the MCG Terrace I then saw the Cheer Squad and the Grog Squad singing together and roping in other Tiger supporters on their way out of the G. I made my way to the Cricketers Arms for a couple of quiet drinks and started chatting to some Tiger supporters. When I mentioned I stood with the Grog Squad for the first time they asked questions of what it was like to be there. Some of them had been there at one time or another, but felt it wasn’t the best place to take their friends or family there and standing all day at a footy game can be quite exhausting.

So while I enjoyed the experience I do prefer to sit in the Olympic stand with my cousin, his kids and other tiger supporters I have got to know. Like the Grog Squad we have also formed our little community of Tiger supporters who follow the lads, but in a more family friendly atmosphere. At the end of the day we all have different ways of going to the footy and how we support our team.

About Vaughan Menlove

Obsessed with Richmond, Luton Town, Melbourne Victory and Arsenal. The Dr had a soccer career hampered by the realisation he was crap, but could talk his way around the game. Co host of It's Not Called Soccer podcast


  1. Dennis Gedling says

    I swear I’ve heard Essendon go on in a similar way when at the Punt Road end standing room for one of their home games a few years ago too. Swan Districts in Perth definitely have a grog squad. They were threatened with a ban if they kept swearing at the umpire so now they just chant ‘ABUSE! ABUSE! ABUSE’

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