No sore losers here

Over the weekend I ventured to two games and the contrast between them could not have been starker.

As a Richmond supporter born and bred in the early nineties, I have lived through a period of little success – in fact I’d go as far as to say it has been a period largely of disappointment. I will say one thing though. It has taught me to love the game of football for what it is. I have friends who support successful teams who think the joys of football stretch no further than their own song, their own players, and their own colours.

Being a Tiger supporter, I’ve had to look elsewhere.

Of course, it hasn’t all been bad and last season did a lot to heal all the pain and suffering previous years have wrought. But what happened on Friday night fulfilled all prophecies the inclement weather had promised.

The rain made for a dreary, gloomy evening and the umbrellas and parking and hunt for covered seats made Friday night an already tense and stressful affair:

Dad: “The bloody car park’s bogged we’ll have to park a fair way out – Walk faster, hold the umbrella higher – oh bloody hell the nose bleeds…” and so on.

What followed took me right back to the Wallace years. I found myself convulsing and groaning with every backwards handball, every botched kick-in, every attempted contested mark among teammates.

A charge came some way through the last quarter but it was all too late. We Tiger faithful had seen enough and were already praying that another rebuild is not on the way.

Twenty-four hours later I was sitting in the Pivots down at Geelong watching football the way it should be played.

It was the first time I’d been to down to Kardinia since Wayne Campbell’s swansong – it’s come a long way since then. The lights were very impressive and the 35,000-strong crowd sounded like it belonged at the MCG.

Geelong was spectacular, not because the opposition necessarily allowed them to be, but because they just were.

The ball flowed from one blue-hooped jumper to another so effortlessly that I at times forgot West Coast was out there. It was an absolute clinic but the skill and finesse that Geelong displayed made it so enjoyable.

It was certainly nothing like the scrap that had gone on the night before.

On the rare occasion that something didn’t go the Cats’ way, supporters far and wide would stamp their feet and cry out. “It’s an outrage,” I heard one-man yell when the umpire dared to award a free kick against one of his own. But these instances were so few and far between that any indignation shown was almost comical. They were up by ten goals. There was really very little to complain about.

Herein lies one of the conundrums of football. As Martin Flanagan wrote a few weeks ago “in an ideal footy world, everyone’s a winner.” He went on to say “though it’s not the point of the game, I wish every team could celebrate a win every week.”

When you support a struggling team, you have to look for wins elsewhere. In the broader scheme of things, at least we can say that football is still played by some as well as it has ever been.

Although it pains me that Richmond are still far from where they need to be, as long as there are still teams out there playing good, honest and skilful football, then that’s enough for me.

At least for now anyway. It’s still only round four. I’ll probably be a little less philosophical if this drags on much longer

About Catherine Durkin

Catherine Durkin, who has been writing for the Almanac since her high school days, is now a reporter and presenter for Fox Sports News, based in Sydney


  1. Ben Footner says

    “I have friends who support successful teams who think the joys of football stretch no further than their own song, their own players, and their own colours.”

    Great line, and one that applies to most of my fellow Adelaide fans. Watching them pour out of the ground well before the final siren, heads bowed and completely blind to the beauty of watching opposition players of the likes of Franklin, Ablett, or Goodes in full flight is a tragedy.

    If only all of them could be gifted a healthy dose of Richmond perspective.

  2. A good point elegantly made Catherine.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Catherine what is amazing and alarming is the gap between the top teams and the rest is seemingly growing by the minute . I think you have more realism , reality than the tiger supporters who were unloading there vitriol on , SEN after the game on , Friday night

  4. How were you traveling half way through the third quarter last night. Wow, what a crazy team you follow.

  5. Bit like Geelong c.2006!

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