The Fall and Rise of the Richmond Empire

Richmond strike me as an Old Testament sort of footy club. 40 years and 40 nights in the wilderness and all that sort of stuff.


God’s chosen people cast out of the kingdom to suffer plagues of frogs, boils, locusts, Tamblings and ninths.


“I am a vengeful God,” said GR.

“Thou shalt have no other Gods but me,” said God as he cast them out.

“My brother GR was a hard man, but I am a smooth man,” said Benny Gale.


Dimma has the heroic look about him. Must be the chin – part Chesty Bond and part Charlton Heston. Leading his people back into the Promised Land.



Where is Cecille B DeMille when you need him? The Greatest Story Ever Told. Dimma laying down the Ten Tiger Commandments. A swords and sandals epic.


Dusty has got the look of the noble freed slave. Taking up the sword to fight for the good man who released him from his chains.


Cotch the matinee idol leading man. But it’s the rough diamonds Jack and Dusty that set hearts aflutter in the stalls.


Bachar fresh out of the bazaar. Asking Crows midfielders if they would offer him 20 shekels for this finest pigskin. Taking their money and then making it disappear before their eyes.


Enough beards in the backline to provide all the extras you need for the chariot race out of defence. Toeier than a roman sandal emporium.


When you have been in as many churches and museums as we have in the last month, you realise that there is nothing new under the sun.


The bishop’s raiments of different colours that mark the seasons. Home and away jumpers with special guernseys for Indigenous Round.



Premiership medals, cups and B&F trophies rough cast out of precious metals from Persia and the Levant.



Big match pictures and mementos showing the victors joyous in armour and horseback confronting the defeated in their misery and chains.



Ornaments change and fade with the ages; just like civilisations; dominant cultures and their religions. But the symbolism doesn’t.


We all need our symbols. Our creation myths. Our stories of good and evil told from campfires, pulpits and Fox Footy live streams across cyberspace.


The more the world changes, the more we stay the same.


To the victor go the spoils. Enjoy it, Tiges.


Empires crumble.




More 2017 Grand Final coverage from our writers here.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Love it Peter. You are so right. Love the combination of pictures too, perfect! Empires rise and fall indeed.

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    Pete, that was a dead set ripper! Haha! On ya mate!

  3. John Butler says

    PB, you’re noticeably less grumpy when the topic moves away from the Eagles. :)

    We’re always looking to make our mark on eternity. Our methods just differ according to our abilities.

    “Richmond strike me as an Old Testament sort of footy club”. Never a truer footy word written.


  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Frank Thring as Neil Balme

  5. John Butler says

    Dusty = Russell Crowe. That works.

    Cotch is more a Victor Mature type.

  6. Yvette Wroby says

    With KB as one of the many gods of the Romans

  7. Wonderful stuff PB, very enjoyable. But, among the plagues and alongside the Tamblings, you surely overlooked the plague of Chaplins? Just a thought.

  8. How’s your travel insurance Mr B? Up to date? Better get the AE to book you in somewhere in Vienna. Dr Freud will be with you in a moment. This empire will be around for a bit yet.

  9. Lovely apt read, loved the symbolism and the sentiment

  10. Joe De Petro says

    Nice piece, PB. The Tigers and Epic Theatre, we really are back in the 70s.

  11. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Genuinely funny read Bald Eagle,
    The yearning for meaning, symbolism, trinkets, goblets. All part of an ancient cycle looking for fresh ways to express itself.
    Was it Jung who said: “God is in our diseases”?
    The Tiger faithful just got a mighty epiphany, relief and joy that the misery sooner or later ends.
    Heston a good choice for Dimma. Reckon Alex Rance must have felt like Spartacus over the last few years in that backline.
    I can’t read anything about the Roman Empire without thinking about ‘Life of Brian’: Welease Wichmond !!

  12. I always thought it was just a case of pissing the Hunts and Morrises off and getting Astbury, Grimes and Vlastuin to their potential at the same time

    Still can’t believe we rope-a-doped three ruckman. No ruck, grigg ruck,
    Nank the tank bashing into things.

    We did it for weeks and yet nobody developed a plan for it. Arrogance?

  13. Joe De Petro says

    Yeah, I was amazed at that too, Peter. Were they just taking the piss late in the game when Rioli started rucking?

    I cannot believe not one ruckman thought to either punch it forwards 20 metres or just take possession and kick it 40.

    Oh, wait, that will never happen. It is all about retaining possession through skill execution.

  14. PB, I’m looking forward to your assessment of the next Barca v Real fixture.

  15. JTH – I think I will leave the match reports to experts like Dennis G and Roy H. But as a social anthropologist at large – I am fascinated by how the Spanish and Portuguese watch football. Live and on TV. So much of the stuff we take as “normal” in our footy watching is turned on our head over here. It’s a social construct like everything else in life.
    I love watching how people watch football in different cultures as much as I love watching their football (which is bloody brilliant most of the time – Spain have 4 and Portugal 3 of the top 32 teams into the Group stage of the Champions League this year – 6 of the top 16 last year).

  16. And that’s why we can’t hold a night Grand Final Joe. Imagine the collective paralysis if Adelaide or Gwizz found themselves caught in the headlights. And taking a cue from Dips’ recent thread, you could probably include Geelong in that list too. Although it must be said, it works well enough to get you to September. Says he, grinning like a Hungry Tiger that has just found the barn door housing a juicy herd of fattened sheep left wide open.

  17. Joe De Petro says

    It is a bit like that, Wrap. I love how the Tigers have had the most awesome season in recent memory and every week everyone (and I mean absolutely everyone except Tiger fans) has been underrating them and waiting for them to play out the usual narrative.

    Did anyone in Adelaide (I refer to the Football club, I know no-one in the city had heard of him) even bother to find out who this Kane Lambert bloke was?

    Who is he again? Oh yeah, the guy who came third in his club’s B&F in a Premiership year!

    Its been hilarious.

  18. bring back the torp says

    Peter, your piece brought a big smile to my face whilst reading it. Classic!

    I would cast Neal Balme as the Prodigal Son who returned home at last; Richo as Spartacus, who led the doomed Richmond resistance to the AFL super powers; & Kevin Bartlett as Moses, delivering the Ten Commandments ( with Bartlett’s admonishments of all the recent evil deeds of the AFL).

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