This post is to celebrate this weekend’s win of my beloved Richmond Tigers in the AFL premiership final.
Australian Rules or Australian Football League (AFL) to be exact has a religious-like following in Melbourne. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “Hey, what team do you follow?” I would be sipping cocktails in Barbados. Initially I didn’t know what all the fuss was about – that is, until I watched my first game which was between two arch rivals, Richmond and Collingwood back in 1995 with over 90,000 in attendance.
I remember an older lady yelling across my shoulder at the match. I turned around to see a short stocky woman in Collingwood ‘get up’ bent over her knees with steely eyes barking inexplicable orders to the umpire. Her kids were oblivious to their mum’s yelping while they applied crayons to stencils on grainy recycled paper. In between her screams, I managed to ask her what the game’s rules were. Despite her passion for the contest, she hollered into my ears the rules of the game that night.
The whole place was humming. It touched a spot in me that I didn’t even know was there. It was like I had untapped a new sense of what community represented by the sheer effervescent and vibrant nature of the Melbourne public.
I was brought up on Rugby league having growing up in Western Sydney. My old man even played for New South Wales. I supported Collingwood in the very early days upon my arrival to Melbourne until my best Navy mate who followed the Tigers brought me to my senses in 1995. Although Richmond would suffer a drought of success for more than 3 decades I always loved watching them.
I migrated to Colombia in 2009 and having watched all of this season’s games here in Colombia with the ‘watchafl’ subscription and the preliminary game and grand final live with my kids I still feel over the moon about Richmond’s recent supremacy in the competition and that grandiose win we just all witnessed. To quote Paul Kelly ‘I go Leaps and Bounds’ and to share it with my kids who are relatively new to Tiger territory is something I won’t ever forget.
Below are the highlights of this year’s grand final and further below their celebration of the club song in the dressing room. Richmond waited 37 long years for premiership success. It now has two flags in three seasons. The ‘Dimma Dynasty’ (Damien Hardwick is the coach) started on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). It was just as invigorating and exciting two years on, as Damien Hardwick’s remarkable group brushed aside Grand Final rookies Greater Western Sydney on its way to an emphatic 89-point win.