The Parade College Writing Workshop: Why I Support Richmond

By Zach Delzoppo

 

25th August 2019. Richmond’s form is undeniable. They are coming home with a wet sail this season. Richmond is now being viewed as premiership favourites for one of the first times this year. We are playing Brisbane who are currently sitting first and seem to be on top of the competition. It is the last game of the Home and Away season and Richmond desperately need to win to remain in the top four.

 

Collingwood have won their game, which was expected, but one of the worst upsets of the season occurred. West Coast managed to lose to the seriously under-gunned Hawthorn at Optus Stadium. It was a seriously disappointing game for West Coast but a great game for Hawthorn who were making a last-minute attempt to find a finals spot for this year’s campaign. Because of this loss, West Coast dropped out of the top four and Collingwood filled their position. I tell you what I so wanted: Collingwood to lose that top four spot and lose their first finals game. The look on all of their supporters’ faces would have been unforgettable. Now that Collingwood have secured a top four spot, and if Richmond do not win, we do not get that top four spot.

 

This game is set to be the best game of the round. It is high stakes for both teams with top spot up for grabs for Brisbane and third position for Richmond if they win. The funny thing is that, if Richmond win, they play each other again in the first game of the Finals. It’s hard to say who was the favourite but, as it is being played at the MCG, Richmond were favoured by the punters.

 

This was a great game to watch. Richmond started off with a great lead and seemed very strong until the third quarter when Brisbane made a comeback. Brisbane brought the lead way back to about five points. Then, in typical Tigers fashion, we blew them out of the water in the last quarter. We ended up taking home the win by 27 points.

 

Richmond supporters’ stoke levels were on an all time high. We are in tremendous form and seem unbeatable. We had secured our top four spot and were playing Brisbane again. The top of the ladder was Geelong first, Brisbane second, Tigers third and the Collywobbles, I mean Collingwood, fourth. This means Geelong play Collingwood and Brisbane play Richmond.

 

I support Richmond, not because I’m a bandwagon supporter, but because my Dad supports them. I remember being on the couch in the family room before a Friday footy match and my Dad coming up to me asking who I would like to support. He told me I could support whoever I liked, and I did not need to feel obliged to follow Richmond. I then told him that I want to go for Richmond. I was happy, my Dad was happy, and I can’t imagine supporting anyone else, although if I had supported another team, I would have probably said the same thing. Why does my Dad go for Richmond? The same reason as me.

 

I enjoy supporting Richmond a lot more now than in previous years. I remember Richmond wins were very scarce. I remember watching Richmond and wondering whether we were going to lose by 30 or 50+. If we got within ten points, it was a great game for us. Then Damien Hardwick came and we started to find some sort of form. Soon enough we were making finals, although there was not really any sort of hope of us getting anywhere near the premiership.

 

The first ever final I went to was Richmond v North Melbourne at the MCG. It was one of those awkward weather days where it’s too warm to wear a jacket and too cold not to. We sat about three rows from the top of the Southern Stand. From about the start of the second quarter, the sun was in our eyes and we could not see a thing. It was frustrating, but a least we didn’t have to watch our team give up our lead and then get slaughtered all around the ground. It was a disappointing game, but I didn’t care too much. I had just witnessed my first AFL final in person! To describe a final compared to a regular season match, I would say that there are a lot more people and it is a little bit louder, so in that aspect is about the same. The main difference is that there is a lot more feeling to it and everyone is a lot more nervous.

 

The Tigers had suffered another disappointing season in 2016 and it looked to be the end of Dimma’s reign. I liked Damian Hardwick and I was happy that we decided to keep him. I was hoping for a good season, but I did not expect a premiership after that horrible 2016 season. 2017 was the first time that I had actually enjoyed watching Richmond. The fact that we won that flag was a great way to top off a milestone in Richmond history.

 

The finals series had finally begun! After that week off football, everyone was bored out of their brains and needed to watch some football. During this hectic week of finals, my beloved Tigers got the win over the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood beat Geelong. West Coast beat the Bombers at Optus and GWS beat the in-form Western Bulldogs. This meant that Richmond and Collingwood got the week off while Brisbane faced GWS and Geelong faced West Coast. Brisbane lost to GWS and Geelong took home the win against the premiership favourite West Coast which capped off a disappointing end of the season run.

 

The Tigers were facing Geelong which was set to be another great game. During the first quarter, Geelong started to run rampant and Richmond only showed minor glimmers of hope because  Geelong did not capitalise on theirenormous amounts of forward 50 entries. Come the second quarter, Geelong was running rampant and I was experiencing serious déjà vu from the previous year’s Preliminary Final. I was almost in tears. At half-time I had all but thrown in the towel and I was about to head to bed.

 

We were staying in Queensland for about a week at the time. We were due to get back home after the Grand Final which was not going to be an issue at the timer because the Tigers were getting thrashed by Geelong. We were held in the game by Geelong errors and misuse of the ball inside 50. I was really feeling for Grimes, Astbury and all the boys in that back half carrying the team at half-time.

 

We came back in the third quarter with a bang. We kicked a few goals and suddenly we were back in it. A couple more goals and we would be in front. We fought that entire game and I was so happy that we came out on top. We were going to another Grand Final!

 

It was Thursday night and my Mum told me that she had changed my tickets so that I could fly back on my own to meet my Dad (who is already back in Melbourne) to watch the Grand Final. I was beyond excited.

 

It was Saturday morning and I was pumped for the big game. We drove to Coolangatta airport after a holiday packed with surfing, swimming and soaking up the sun and I flew home. It was just like any other flight and I couldn’t wait to get off the plane to get home and watch the game.

 

The game started off as a tight arm-wrestle which was great to watch but horrible to be supporting. Once we reached the end of the second quarter, we all know what happened. It was not the best game to watch as it was an enormous blowout, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the rest of the game. I never thought I would enjoy a Grand Final that my team would be playing in. But here I am.

 

Richmond Football Club have had their fair share of downs in my 15-year life but I am loving the highs that our supporters are enjoying now. This is why I follow this great club.

 

To read more stories from The Parade College Writing Workshop, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Vanessa Fox says

    Zach, I was feeling goose-bumps with your opening line – well done! It has been wonderful to be enjoying Tiger Time and hopefully we still have a number of years left in which to celebrate and enjoy the ride!

  2. Shane Reid says

    I’m a Lions man Zach so I really wish the Tiges didn’t finish as strongly as they did! Love the pace and rhythm of your writing, good job. I hope we read more from you and your classmates on the Almanac

  3. roger lowrey says

    Enjoy every minute of it when it happens Zach.

    Grand Finals are notoriously hard to win. As a Cats’ fan I should know. It took us 44 years from 1963 when I was a 10 year old lad to experience the exquisite joy of success in 2007.

    Keep writing mate. We all need to know each others’ stories.

    RDL

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