The most prestigious individual award there is in the AFL, the Brownlow Medal, recognises the best player in the competition.
The Richmond Football Club is an iconic brand in the Australian sporting landscape. Having won 10 premierships in the VFL/AFL and boasting over 46,000 members in 2011, with average attendances reaching a similar figure, it’s clear to see that support is substantial for the club from Punt Road.
However, success for the Tigers is a long and distant memory – their last taste of Premiership glory was 31 years ago and they’ve reached the finals just twice in the past 20 years.
Yes, success has been largely non-existent for the club and their vast legion of supporters. Until now…
After seven rounds, the Tigers have a respectable record of three wins, three losses and a draw and sit in the ninth position on the AFL ladder, due to a poorer percentage to higher-placed Melbourne and Sydney.
You may be thinking: “Ninth position? And they’re going to be successful? What is this guy on?”.
Don’t berate me just yet.
The Tigers have a selection of players, ranging from established stars of the competition, to up-and-coming stars, a reliable back-half and a sound leadership group, set to lead the club to bigger and better things this decade.
Look no further than stars such as Jack Riewoldt; last year’s Coleman Medallist, Brett Deledio; the Rising Star winner from 2005 and the young, tough and silky-smooth mover in Dustin Martin; my pick for the Brownlow Medal in a few seasons time.
Then, they have the potential stars like top draft pick Trent Cotchin, goal-sneak Robin Nahas and recruits Bachar Houli and Shaun Grigg.
They are topped off by a solid defence, led by inspirational captain, Chris Newman and in-and-under hard man Daniel Jackson and you have the makings of a top-four club.
Being a proud South Australian, the idea of liking anything Victorian doesn’t particularly excite me, but I will admit my admiration for the Richmond Football Club community as a whole.
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed the smaller things, such as the contribution the club gives to the community and the massive support you see at the Punt Road, end of the MCG at every Tigers home game.
Then I’ve noticed the bigger things, like the passion every player shows when they sing the “Yellow and Black” club song after every victory, and the ‘never-say-die’ attitude, the club, as a unit, displays, year in, year out.
Sure, this article may seem quasi-biased as a result of my endearment for the Richmond Football Club, but one can’t deny the excitement surrounding the potential the Tigers hold.
I wish the boys from Punt Road every success – not only for the club, but for their massive supporter base, ever-so-deserving of success.