Chris Rees has been blogging for 10 years about his kids, his dog, his collection of fictional cars, and Richmond. He only gets to one or two Tigers games a year (usually putrid Round 1 losses to Carlton) but has listened to them play on the radio every week since 1975. Pre 2015 articles are archived here.
- Benny Award final tally
- Tigers Together goes nuts
- Connected - celebrating the 2017 premiership
- Your 2017 Richmond Premiership team
- Roar magazine, 1998-99
- Richmond, A User's Manual by Andy Fuller
- Pilgrimage to the big smoke part 3: Tigerland
- Pilgrimage to the big smoke part 2: Glenferrie Oval
- Pilgrimage to the big smoke part 1: VFL grounds
- A couple of fours
- Open letter to Richmond: look after Bachar
- Tipping the 2017 season
- Cigarette cards
- A visit to Youngtown
- Horrible in Hobart. Again.
- May gloom
- April gloom
- See us with a grin – R2 v Collingwood
- The other football, my other team
- TTBB merch reminder
- Reading the 2016 tea leaves
- So it’s come to this
- What next?
- The Swan Street billboard
- Double header at home
- Hawks dismantled
- A good game of footy
- You may have heard we beat the Swans
- Friday on my mind
- Eighteen sublime minutes
- The circus comes to town
- Failed to turn up for a 'big game' again
- Anzac Day - Footy beyond the Flannelette Curtain
- One and One
- Arm wrestling a kitten
- A reminder about my Footy Enigma shirts, mugs etc
- Duffle Coat Update
Over here Dugald has woven the Grand Final votes into a monster premiership narrative. For the easy reference of future historians they are;
10 votes – Alex Rance
8 votes – Bachar Houli
6 votes – Dusty Martin
4 votes – Jack Graham
2 votes – Nathan Broad
It’s worth mentioning here that last year’s Benny wrapped up in dark and introverted circumstances after capitulation to the Swans. The last votes were given grudgingly and the future appeared bleak. This year we finish off with the biggest bang imaginable. We have every right to expect wonderful things next year. The club is in great shape.
Final Tally - Benny Award
52: Trent Cotchin
45: Alex Rance
31: Shaun Grigg
26: Bachar Houli
21: Dylan Grimes
18: Kane Lambert
17: Jack Riewoldt
15: Daniel Rioli
13: Dion Prestia
11: Toby Nankervis
10: Josh Caddy
7: Jacob Townsend
6: Jason Castagna
5: Daniel Butler, Jack Graham
3: Kamdyn McIntosh
2: Connor Menadue, Nathan Broad
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2017: Caddy, Grigg, Hampson, Houli, Hunt, Nankervis, Maric, Miles, Prestia and Townsend.)
31: Shaun Grigg wins his first Hartley award
26: Bachar Houli
13: Dion Prestia
11: Toby Nankervis
10: Josh Caddy
7: Jacob Townsend
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2017: Shai Bolton, Dan Butler, Ryan Garthwaite, Jack Graham, Ivan Soldo, Tyson Stengle)
1: Bolton, Stengle
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2017: Batchelor, Chol, Corey Ellis, Grigg, Nankervis and Houli).
31: Shaun Grigg wins his first Bowden
26: Bachar Houli
11: Toby Nankervis
(2016, 2015 and 2014 all won by Bachar Houli)
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
Potentially eligible 2017: Castagna, Chol, Moore, Stengle and Soldo.
6: Jason Castagna wins his 2nd successive Tivendale.
1: Tyson Stengle
(2015: Kane Lambert, 2014: Anthony Miles)
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler
139: Trent Cotchin wins the inaugural Rioli Grip of Death.
110: Kane Lambert
97: Toby Nankervis
94: Shaun Grigg
93: Dion Prestia
88: Dustin Martin
85: Daniel Rioli
My Tigers Together design has been the joy of my life since the GF. Far from any kind of post-premiership let-down, I feel like I have been surfing the wave with a jet booster. The design has been selling in all sorts of formats, and now for the last week as a bumper sticker, which was its original intention.
When I had a rough design I showed friends on Twitter who were unanimous that I should make it available immediately for t-shirts and mugs. So I did, and people have bought them in droves. After about a week they began sending me pictures of their new treasures. Every sale gives me joy, every picture is a miracle.
I built an e-commerce page for my reesdesign.com.au website so I could sell the bumper stickers directly. I panicked a bit when the printers called to say they were ready about 4 days earlier than expected, and the site wasn’t built yet. I am not a web designer so it was all a bit fraught but seems to be now working smoothly.
My previous best-seller on Redbubble was Bones McGhie, which had amassed 160 sales after about 4 years. Tigers Together went past that in THREE DAYS. Since Redbubble sales passed 300 I have been looking at it as an amazing Test innings; it is now closing in on the record, with only Lara, Hayden and Jayawardene ahead of it.
On top of that are 70+ bumper stickers which are out there in the world.
At lights, bloke in car next to me winds down window, 'where do I get that sticker?' Expecting to get mobbed when Tshirt goes on. @johnno1629
So that’s covered the cost of my first actual merch investment (Redbubble is all print-on-demand with no up-front cost). Another difference is with Redbubble I very rarely see the customers names or locations, so I can’t follow up with new designs they might like, or even just visualise where my stuff goes. With the bumper stickers I get a name and address to post them to and it feels really different.
Redbubble has a thing called Bubblemail whereby buyers can communicate with sellers. Its rarely used; maybe one buyer in 30 or 40 leaves me a note. But I have had so many sales in the last weeks that the notes are piling up and I want to share a few. This is a bit of an ego trip but I want to keep them somewhere in case Redbubble wipes them.
Love Tigers Together. Great stuff! Anon, Hadspen TAS
This is really a great design Chris! captured why the Tigers did so well this year Thanks! John (location unknown)
Thanks for this design. It is beautiful, simple, and powerful imagery. Go tiges. Anon, Fairy Meadow NSW
Thanks for finding the real essence of the Tiges on GF day. Anon, Jannali NSW
The design is incredible. Anon, Ocean Grove VIC
Gday mate, even as a demon I love the design and it’s perfect for my father in law for Christmas! I even gave him my gf ticket so I’m in the good books right now! Keep up the great work Anon, St Kilda East VIC
As much as I love the use of the tiger on Richmond memorabilia, the players linking arms is powerfully symbolic in commemorating this long awaited victory. I was a little emotional when I saw this, and personally this captures the many feelings that my partner, friends and that I’ve experienced and continue to experience since that glorious day- strong & bold too! Thank you so very much… Anon, Colac VIC
How’s that last one – made the hair on my neck stand up. I can’t think of anything I have done in my long career as a graphic designer that has got a response like this. Its immensely satisfying. As I said in the last post I understand that it piggybacks on the astounding achievement of the 23 men in the picture; it taps into the strong emotions people feel at the moment.
I looked through 46 pages of Getty news photographs after the Grand Final to find the right pics to celebrate each of the premiership players for this post. And I just couldn’t stop looking at the pics of the boys lined up for the anthem. Is it the Crows dopey pose? Is it the yellow? Teams often line up with linked arms, but there is just something about this occasion that seems special. They look relaxed, united, and ready to make history.
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
I had been kicking around lame ideas for a premiership design that was a celebration but not a cash-in exactly, and didn’t rip off the club’s intellectual property, or use player’s pictures without their permission. I looked at this photo by Darrian Traynor and just thought; perfect bumper sticker format. Could work with no logos, no faces, not even any sash. But everyone is so recognisable, especially for a Tiges fan. [I am a bush lawyer on these matters and just follow the law of trying to do the right thing].
Should it say “Tigers Together 2017” or “Connected” or “Premiers”? It felt great when the perfect idea arrived; that no text was required at all. Here it is.
I really like thinking about what was going through their heads, who was next to who, the dynamics of it. Redheads together, old mates Prestia and Caddy together etc. Somehow Sheds is the figure I come back to again and again.
- Simplicity is an important part of good design, so everyone’s got black boots. And if you want tatts you will have to draw them in yourselves.
- On the other hand everyone’s socks are exactly as photographed; 1 out of 44 is pulled up. Happy to discuss this at length with any sock psychologists out there.
- Bachar and Dylan have their heads bowed in the photo. I have tried to depict this for Bachar but it didn’t feel right for the design for Dylan.
- Some of the hairdos are a bit rough; I have tweaked them a bit for the bumper sticker.
You can buy it now on shirts, mugs, phone covers, scarves; on Redbubble via my site here.
There is a bumper sticker coming; I am printing locally and I’ll pump it up on all social media when they are available, maybe 2 weeks but hopefully less, around $8. More expensive but very good quality ones are available now on Redbubble.
UPDATE the stickers are here, they are $6 each including GST and postage within Australia.
The last thing to say about it is I made a donation to Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision and one to Alannah & Madeline Foundation on behalf of everyone who has bought something. It’s not a formal arrangement, they certainly do NOT endorse this and neither does the club or AFL. We the supporters have given a lot to this club for years. But now in return the whole club from the volunteers up to Peggy and Brendon, Cotch and Dimma, have given us a premiership. The most wonderful, unexpected gift we could ask for. And that’s why people are buying this thing, so while sales continue I will make sure the club’s charity partners benefit from this windfall.
It’s fair to say we are still in shock here at the TTBB office to some extent. It is dawning on us that we are really premiers. There will be plenty to read here over the next few weeks, but for now, enjoy this selection from Getty Images. They didn’t manage to snap Sheds (or Kmac) in action at all which speaks volumes about how subtle Sheds’ work in particular was. Blink and you’d miss it but it was very telling in the 2nd quarter. Go Tiges!
Embed from Getty Images BACHAR
Embed from Getty Images GEORGIE
Embed from Getty Images ALEX
Embed from Getty Images DUSTY
Embed from Getty Images DAN
Embed from Getty Images DYLAN
Embed from Getty Images CADDY
Embed from Getty Images YOUNG JACK
Embed from Getty Images DAVE
Embed from Getty Images NANK
Embed from Getty Images GRIGGA
Embed from Getty Images BROAD
Embed from Getty Images TOWNERS
Embed from Getty Images BRANDO
Embed from Getty Images VLOSSY
Embed from Getty Images COTCH
Embed from Getty Images JACK
Embed from Getty Images KANE
Embed from Getty Images DION
Embed from Getty Images BUTLER
Embed from Getty Images KMAC
Embed from Getty Images SHEDS
Embed from Getty ImagesTHANK YOU DIMMA
Back in the nineties life was different, footy was different, and Richmond was different. Cheryl Critchley was a rabid Tiges fan and budding journalist. She and her small team put together six issues of this substantial, professional zine which they sold outside games for $2. Cheryl says their costs were about $1 per copy, and they donated the other dollar to the club. They raised $5000 this way.
Cheryl was pregnant with her first child Jess during the 1998 season, and carried her in a pouch while selling copies outside Punt Rd oval in 1999.
The club was great. They gave us access to players and even Jeff Gieschen, whom I managed to get in a dog leash for the headline “We leash the Giesch!”
Have a browse through these covers and selected highlights Cheryl scanned for us.
In April this year, our colleague Andy published a footy zine. He says in the introduction; “I’m interested in matters relating to fan activism, the experience and aesthetics of going to games.” He spent about 4 weeks writing it, and then put it together it at home while listening to Beethoven. The end product is beautiful, thoughtful, academic, artistic and very human. He has since put out two more issues. There are hidden corners, pockets and fold-outs. While Andy is an academic and brings that rigour and vocabulary to his writing, he has made his zine fun. Each issue has Richmond-related artwork in it, photos from around the suburb and old newspaper clippings. Issue 3 had a clipping from exactly 100 years back, featuring an interview with an 82-year old Richmond resident. She remembered when the paddock next door was an aboriginal camp, and Bridge Road was a customary track.
Andy’s academic discipline is Indonesian literature; and he brings that interest to his footy in surprising ways. I started by asking about his research.
TTBB: Do you enjoy the research process as well as the results?
Andy: Yes. One of the reasons why I started doing my writing on RFC is that I wanted to approach the Club from a relatively distanced perspective. RFC lives strongly in the minds and imaginations of its supporters. But, I wanted to retrace a range of moments – both trivial and important – in the Club’s recent history through going through newspapers of the 1980s and 1990s. This period is interesting because it marks the decline of the Victorian Football League and its transition into the Australian Football League: there were the threatened mergers, new clubs, new tv deals, and of course, an increased number of Aboriginal players coming into Victorian based clubs. Things move so quickly in the footy world and we’re always being enticed to look forward to next week, or ‘wait till next year’. My aim is to have a critical reading of the recent past and to factor these learnings into how we consider current developments.
What inspired you to make RAUM?
This could be a long answer. Websites and blogs and podcasts are great, but I also felt that it could also be nice to have something papery. And, I didn’t want to only buy the official Australian Football League Record. Although I still buy the Record, I wanted something home-made; something independent. Because I couldn’t find a Richmond related fanzine, I thought I’d just make it myself.
One of my favourite books is Georg Perec’s novel, Life a User’s Manual. It is a detailed description of an apartment block in Paris: he tells the contents of the apartments and the occupants. Although my project is on a very small scale, I want to tell the stories of Richmond: many of which use the Club as its starting point and some of which are only partially related to the club. The Club though is of course more diffuse than just ‘Richmond’. It has supporter groups throughout Australia: this has been smart strategy. Footy clubs have to reach beyond their ‘traditional’ supporter base and get new fans on board. Richmond, the suburb, has also changed significantly over the last 10-15 years. I’m interested in where the two trajectories, of club and suburb meet.
How long does each edition take, and how many copies are you producing?
It’s difficult to say. I would say about two months. When I first started I thought I could do one a month. The problem is, the writing itself takes about one month. Of course, the pieces of writing are not necessarily complex or draw on too much research. The challenge is to be able to combine a variety of discourses and writing styles into the one edition. I’m currently working on the 4th edition: which will incorporate some of the finals related hype.
Are there other Richmond zines being made now? Are there earlier examples anywhere to be seen, eg RFC Museum?
Cheryl Critchley used to make a zine. I think it was quite successful and, if I am not mistaken, she (and her collaborators) were able to raise money for the club through the zine. I haven’t seen any copies of it at the Club’s museum, but, that is the kind of material that should be in the museum. The Museum has scrap-books made by fans, inclusive of clippings etc, but I haven’t seen any zines. It would be great if we could get a better idea of what fans have made over the years.
[I contacted Cheryl to find out more about the Zines Of Old. She confirms they raised $5000 for the club from the six issues of Roar they produced in 1998 and 99. She has sent me so much great stuff I am going to do a post on Cheryl and Roar during the week.]
Does living in Richmond give you a deeper sense of ownership of the club, and a stake in it’s direction (over and above blow-ins from interstate for instance)?
I like this question. My straightest answer is to say ‘no’. The Club belongs to its members, wherever they live. Over the last few years, the Club has significantly grown its membership through very strategic marketing and engagement with Cardiniashire, in the southeast of Melbourne. So, although Swan Street, Lennox St are always rocking after a big Richmond win, and these are the places where the Club has its history, ‘Tigerland’ is dispersed. There is a Richmond diaspora so to speak ☺ Whenever I go into the Museum and am asked by one of the staff, ‘where do you live?’, they always raise their eyebrows when I say, ‘Richmond’.
That being said, my own narrative in being a Richmond fan is very much linked to living in Richmond. That is, I changed to Richmond from another team a while ago. That Richmond is not my first team (nor only team) is not a problem for me. Living in Richmond gives me an ease of access to the Club’s history: I lived in a house that was used by the Club’s players (on Richmond Terrace), I had a suit made from the same tailor as Royce Hart (and no doubt others); I can hear the players’ training from my front door. And, now and then, I bump into players – most of the time I totally ignore them and pretend that I don’t spend a large amount of my nervous energy worrying about their performance. One of my highlights of everyday interactions was Dimma saying to me, ‘sorry mate’ as he got out of the way as I was riding home on my bicycle. He absolutely wasn’t in my way; he was unnecessarily polite ☺
We all have our own narratives as supporters. Some years we follow the Club intensely; sometimes we tune out. Living in Richmond doesn’t mean that I am any more authentic than someone who lives interstate and rarely attends a game. What is most important for me, is that as ‘fans’ or ‘supporters’, is that we support the Club in general, rather than just the team. Players, coaches, administrators come and go throughout our life as fans; the ‘Club’ remains.
A few years ago, you mentioned in an article that there was a culture of casual privilege the other way – of the club over the suburb (players parking on footpath etc). You think that has moderated recently?
Yes. There were times when the players would park their cars on the footpath and in no standing zones. If they were in a group, there was a tendency for the behaviour to be worse. But, this was several years ago; probably during a time when things were a little less well run at the Club. At the same time, though, I occasionally had very relaxed conversations with players such as Shane Tuck and Nathan Foley. The bad behaviour of some players is no doubt an outcome of the tremendous amount of media attention they receive, the huge salaries and the amount of ‘free time’ they have. Fortunately, many of the Clubs within the Australian Football League are doing a lot to moderate this culture. At the same time, many players have no interest in the celebrity culture; they just want to play footy as best they can. And good on them.
Last question: who do you think is the MOST INTERESTING current Richmond player. (I say Houli).
Well, because you have already mentioned Bachar, probably I also shouldn’t in the name of recognising the diversity of Richmond’s playing list ☺. But, let me say, Bachar is a very impressive individual and someone who I would love to have a coffee with, or preferably, dinner with. He is very grounded and presents himself very well. He has brought a lot to the Club: his family and friends, and of course, his Bachar Houli Cup which has been endorsed by the federal government and, I think been given $1 million. Not bad, eh? He speaks so well about what the Club has given him; and in return, he has given back so much. I’m pretty sure he’ll be a supporter of Richmond, long after he has retired. Being a player in such a well-moneyed sport, presents all of sorts of opportunities; not all of which are taken up by players. Bachar fully understands the role he can play in mediating tensions between Melbourne’s diverse communities.
I guess the corporate speak for what he has done, is ‘leveraged’: but I don’t think this is how Bachar himself would describe it. The word in Indonesian, ‘niat’, comes from Arabic, and is also related to the word ‘maksud’ (which also comes from Arabic): it is about having good intentions and making a vow to God. He does it (both playing and his other work) with a great degree of sincerity: ie, keikhlasan – coming from ‘ikhlas’, which also means ‘whole-heartedly’.
I have got a lot out of following Shane Edwards’ trajectory. I admire him as a player and individual. He answers questions honestly and openly: he speaks in his own terms, and doesn’t stay ‘on message’ – whether that be the Club’s or AFL’s official line. In the same manner, I very much enjoyed Jacob Townsend’s speech after he won the Liston award in the VFL. I loved how he answered the questions appropriately and then went off track and would finish with ‘I’m not very good at talking’. It was so honest. But he neither said too much or too little. I empathise with his discomfort in public speaking ☺ and also have a tendency to leave sentences unfinished. He came across as a very gentle individual, and also very focused. This is in contrast to his toughness as a player. So many players contrast with the stereotyped image of footy players as macho, alpha males – Edwards, and Townsend among them.
Although he is no longer a Richmond player, Chris Yarran has shown tremendous resilience in over-coming his drug addiction. I find it interesting that he described how the very expensive, professional treatment he was in for a month, didn’t cure him in the slightest. It was only when he bought-in to his recovery, that he was able to get over it. He was a very good player and most likely an admirable individual, who made a serious mistake by starting to take drugs.
The club is putting an emphasis on developing the players as individuals and as footballers. This is how it should be. Peggy O’Neal, Dimma and Cotch all come across as very balanced and measured individuals and are the right people to set an example. I love the way the team plays the game on-field: they’re increasingly hard and focused, without engaging in rough or violent play.
I upped sticks from Andy’s place, dropped my stuff at Dugald’s for Night 2 of the pilgrimage, and headed to lunch at the London Tavern in Richmond. I am not a gifted bon vivant, raconteur or bain marie, and so my attempts to organise a gathering were feeble and unsuccessful. Next time there will be more notice, more hoopla and possibly door prizes. Tiger jumpers (and one or two furtive Saints) were everywhere. I relaxed with a chicken schnitz and a Guinness, and tweeted my location and the above photofit image. Tumbleweeds, crickets. But I was enjoying the atmosphere anyway, of one of Richmond’s favourite pre-game pubs before a should-win game. (One block from Ralph Carr’s office, by the way). On the way out of the pub I got my first loose-ball get of the day as I passed some kick-to-kick in Richmond Terrace.
I arrived at Punt Road Oval to see the VFL Tigers giving standalone Coburg a bath. A few players had been rested for this, Bachelor was watching and Stengel, Maric and Mendaue were not out there either. Some other observations;
- Mabior Chol looks a fair way off. In wet and slippery conditions he dropped a ball and kept trying to pick it up. Just boot it forwards son!
- Sam Lloyd is a sensational set kick. Under no pressure today but he just gets into a zone.
- Ben Griffiths sank a 55 metre set shot in classic style.
- Ben Lennon looks unstoppable at this level.
- Ant Miles also dominated and is hot favourite for the Morrish Medal
With no help from my bad directions, Sean Ross (@sjhross) tracked me down and we talked about babies, Sydney v Melbourne and Tigers, Tigers, Tigers. A bloke beside us chimed in that he was at an intimate pre-season insiders-only Crown lager-style knees up with Dimma. Desperate for a shred of hope after the poor showing of 2016, he begged for something to hang his hat on. Dimma said one word; Rioli.
Having discharged family lunch duties, Andy rejoined me and as the VFL game wound down, we headed up the hill to the big ground.
After bag searches and a thorough wanding, I was stuck at the turnstile when it turned out I had brought my 2016 membership card. Huge thank you to the steward who sussed that I wasn’t trying to be smart – this must happen a lot I guess. She suggested I go around the RFC membership caravan and see if they could rig me up a ticket. Fortunately that went smoothly, so I went back through the searches and then commenced a search of my own for Andy.
My knowledge of the MCG has hardly improved at all despite fairly frequent visits. It looks different full to half-full; and things seem to change regularly. Andy likes to move about during games, and I was interested in seeing it from different vantage points too, as well as not losing my native guide. I found him in the area near the Cricketers Arms known as The Grog Squad – and whaddaya know, with him was the famous Swish Schwerdt (@swishtter) keeping a low profile in his Adelaide Crows cap. It was great to see him again. Swish writes for the Footy Almanac and is a
wisearse wise presence on Footy Twitter as well. The Grog Squad of 2017 probably compares to that of 1987 like a labrador to a hyena; people don’t bring and drink an esky-ful any more. Still the barracking was blue, occasionally funny, not very creative but lively all the same. Swish has written his outsider impressions here at the Almanac. Didn’t love it. Someone called a Saint a retard and apart from that it was all pretty much within community standards. I enjoyed being behind the goals and the cheersquad, and it gave me a story to tell at work. Jake Carlisle in white long-sleeves attracted some lifestyle advice. “Why don’t ya sniff some more coke, Carlisle!”
Like a few games I have been at, the Tiges kicked to the far end and started constructing a decent margin from the off. Fortunately this continued in the 2nd quarter so we could see a few sausage rolls close up. Young Towners continued where he left off. From a standing start as a defensive midfielder at VFL level, he has come in and kicked 6 against Freo and had 2 in the first and another in the 2nd. The Saints looked dead flat. In his last game Nick Riewoldt was invisible. At one stage we were up 9 goals to one. Jade Gresham seemed to be the Saints’ only scoring option. Displeasingly he snagged two in quick succession to bring some unwanted competitiveness to the game. The Butler got a late one to at least finish the quarter on the up. Halftime score Richmond 11.5.71 to St Kilda 4.3.27.
Andy went off to see someone and didn’t return until the next break. If we were a membership more secure in our finals birthright (see Hawthorn), we would have treated the 3rd quarter as the ideal lull to just go for another craft beer, or catch up with old Kayden who is now mostly doing conveyancing. (Tie over the jumper or under?) But as we are nervous nellies expecting fate to kick us up the backside at every turn; the 3rd quarter was painful. The Saints kicked four goals to a single yellow and black contribution from Jack Riewoldt. All through the third quarter Richmond fans educated Swish with their creative calls.
“Hey Membrey! MEMBREY! Yer a cunt, Membrey!!”
We had a bloke nearby who had clearly asked his mum for a Dusty haircut. Looks to me like mum had no idea so bloke had had to describe it, with mixed results. And same deal with his neck tatts. The cougars in front of us were like a 3rd-wedding hens’ night gone bad, with plenty of classic repartee like “That’s too high you fuggin blind maggot”. The last break came not a moment too soon, and I went for refreshments with the score at Richmond 12.7.79 to St Kilda 8.6.54. They doubled their score that quarter.
I got back as the the Tiges put together five minutes of sustained pressure, punctuated with goals through Dusty and Towners (4th) that just about put things beyond the Saints (more importantly this nailed down a top-four finish for the first time since 2001). The Tiges were coming home to our Punt Road End and they put on a good show. They Saints had a few chances and sprayed them, until Gresham got one back, but the mood around us had settled into relaxed confidence by this stage, and became generous and even magnanimous as the clock wound down. The rest of the game was a pretty bruise-free procession, with nothing more at stake for either side. In the flurry of Tiger goals Towners got his 5th (eleven in 2 weeks) and Prestia nailed one on the run. The Dusty song got many airings (“Oh Dustin Martin, you are the love of my life …” sung about various players in the EPL since at least 2005).
All the Tigers around us applauded Saint Nick as he was carried off by his cousin Jack from Richmond and Big Jack Something from St Kilda. Saints fans left quietly and weren’t subjected to any crowing that I witnessed. In fact the next day an elderly Sainter with a Lancashire accent rang Melbourne 774 talkback, and cracked up a little as he said thanks to Richmond supporters for respecting the retiring champ. I had a bit of a sniffle myself.
Andy charged down to the fence to soak up the atmosphere; and I followed him it was a Richmond celebration too far for the Adelaide Crow in Swish. Sorry again I dashed off on you and all the best to the tricolour hoops for the rest of September.
As Andy and I made our way out, we walked smack bang into the Grog Squad’s celebratory reading of the seminal late-period Malcomson work Tigerland. They and we and everyone in there gave it the kitchen sink. A security guard winked at me and said “Don’t worry Geelong will get ya”. Outside I left Andy to prepare for his family trip; spending this glorious September full of Tiger possibilities, in Indonesia. I headed to the vacant Jellie residence with instructions to light the fire for their imminent return from Sydney.
When I got there the woodpile in the backyard was inaccesible; the back door was blocked with an anvil. An anvil. I tried the side door for possible firewood access; it was tied shut with rope. I had somehow found myself in a cartoon.
On Saturday, Andy and Cahaya and I got out early to catch another old VFL ground, Glenferrie Oval. I was totally unaware of the charms of this venue until I saw Mike Hugo’s ‘Footy Places’ design. I have never seen a brick Art Deco grandstand before.
This is very much my wife’s homeland. Her parents and grandparents grew up between Hawthorn, Kew and Camberwell. (This why she says dahnce and I say dants). Great auntie Val, who passed away in February at 97, was a lifelong Hawk. She would have spent many fruitless afternoons here during the pre-powerhouse years. She’s the only person in my extended family with an obituary in Footy Almanac.
Glenferrie was in use this morning for Ultimate Frisbee and Lacrosse. We kicked around a little ball we found for a while before Andy threw it back to the lacrossists; I had no idea it was theirs. The turf looks like Brunswick Oval; a fluffy multicoloured mess of couch, buffalo, moss and sand. The main stand is now locked away from causal visitors and arsonists, and looks well cared-for. I like the little stand of gums squeezed between the concrete stand and the railway line, and the once brown-and-gold post holding a sign about correct dog etiquette.
I came over from Hobart last weekend for a big hit of footy. I got to four games, six footy grounds, spent time with TTBB colleagues Andy and Dugald, and spent a night in Richmond for the first time in my life! As a bonus on Monday I also met footy artist and dedicated Tiger, Kate Birrell.
I lobbed into town on Saturday, and headed into Richmond to find Andy’s house. I had not looked at the map to locate it until I was on my way there; it is closer to Richmond Station than parts of Richmond Station! He lives in a currently closed art gallery, architecturally fascinating. I rang him when I was outside as I couldn’t find the front door; suddenly a section of wall pivoted and he invited me in, to meet his partner Nuning and and his daughter, Cahaya.
With little delay we headed out to visit Brunswick Oval, former VFL home ground of Fitzroy. The club name and jumper survives now in the amateur VAFA, with their flagship team currently in Premier B division. They were trailing Parkdale Vultures in a battle to avoid relegation. The footy was open and quite skilful; to my eyes the main difference to a level like Tasmanian State League is the body shape; Fitzroy and Parkdale players were Matthew Lappins to the TSL’s Lance Whitnalls.
There was a healthy crowd on the hill and in the grandstand, and big queues for the burgers which are reputedly the best in Melbourne. Time for a shoutout here to Nicko Place who lives just up the road and will definitely be on the itinerary next time. The VAFA is a dry competition, which is really interesting, and possibly news to the youth who rode up on a bike balancing a slab.
We took off during the third quarter to have a look at the Whitten Oval, once Footscray’s VFL home ground, and now again “Footscray’s” “VFL” home ground through the contortions of crafty re-naming. A shoutout here to @theholyboot and @FMI who live nearby and will also be part of the next footy trip.
We got lost on the way and so by mistake drove over Mount Mistake, twice. [The overpass on Geelong Road that looms at the North end of the ground is traditionally called “Mount Mistake” by old time Doggies fans.]
Footscray were hosting top-of-the-ladder Williamstown, and Willy were doing as they pleased. The AFL Bulldogs’ season as reigning premiers came to an end on Friday night, and I was expecting the place to be full of misery, but people were generally looking bright and Barkers Cafe was busy.
We went to the northern goals at three quarter time. We didn’t take a ball, and Andy suggested we grab one from the official Tub Of VFL Balls. A young man of about 12 in a Bulldogs guernsey said politely but firmly that we couldn’t use those balls, sorry. Well done that lad. We dedicated ourselves to marking and turning everyone else’s shots at goal.
We watched the last quarter from the southern end near Mount Mistake. The Dogs were nowhere near the Seagulls, despite fielding quite a few big bodies with AFL experience and premiership medallions in Tom Boyd, Clay Smith and Tory Dickson.
A huge thanks to Andy for taking me on this pilgrimage because the traffic was frankly dreadful and my reading of the Melways not as fluent as it once was. We battled back to Richmond, and the perennial quest for a parking spot. Then we had an outstanding Thai takeaway, and I retired to my room full of art.