Friday, 23 May 2014

10. Lamentations Of A Tiger

As much as the media has all been about another 'crisis at Tigerland', we do wonder how they can recover to make the Finals.
Is it another season where they fail to capitalize on the previous years finals effort? Has the club lost its 2014 tilt after just 8 games?

On a day they should have honoured the memory of a 'club immortal', the result, and more importantly, lack of fight was dispiriting.
This despite being only 4 points down in the last quarter and having 29 scoring shots (to the oppositions 21).

Makes you wonder what is going through the players minds. And worse still, why it is of SUCH IMPORTANCE in this state that...

The 'Audacity Of Hype' site takes the AFL media unit to task with this post (and also calls upon the AFLPA to consider their position of this particular impost on players)...
Chasing Jack 
What chance does Riewoldt have if his own competition’s media team are willing and able to follow him camera in hand on his way home? If you haven’t seen it, I’m not linking to it on here because that’s pretty much exactly what they want. Would be interesting to hear what the AFLPA thinks about it  but considering they didn't seem to care about anything other than free agency I'm not holding my breath.
This sort of chasing players about reminds us of another 'follow a player' incident.

But back to the Tigers.
What of their fans...? Success starved for so long, and teased with irregular bursts of finals action, only to fall back to bad habits in following seasons.

The pain of that game, and that loss is no better expressed than by Sean Ross, again st the 'Audacity of Hype' blog. Written in the hours after the game, it reads as if written any time over the past two dozen or more years. And it is the insight of a follower and lover of a club that has yet to see ultimate triumph in his lifetime.
We suggest you read it in full, after discarding your own tribal loyalties as best you can, and read with an open mind. For it applies to Richmond for Sean, but could also be equally applicable to rusted-on Melbourne fans, the red-white-and-blue lovers from Footscray's basalt plains, and to the seasiders from St. Kilda.
The full text is found if you click the headline below, and an extract or two is underneath it
Wounded, but not tigerish.
We didn’t let Tommy Hafey down today.
We’ve let him down nearly every single year since 1983. We let him down when we launched the player war with Collingwood. We let him down when we put KB in charge. We let him down when we sacked Northey. We let him down when we let Maxfield go. We let him down when we hired Gieschen on the back of soft late season wins. We let him down by not putting resources into recruitment when the draft became the most important thing in the game. We let him down when Frawley was the only candidate willing to coach us. We let him down when we traded ourselves out of the 2001 draft. We let him down when we gave Wallace five years. We let him down when Ottens left. We let him down when we drafted Oakley-Nichol on the back of his interview. We let him down when we went 0-2 against Gold Coast. We let him down in the elimination final last year. We let him down whenever someone gives one of our teenagers a cheap shot and we don’t fly the flag.
.... After we lose a legend of the club like Hafey, it rams home that we stopped producing legends in the early 80’s. My generation won’t be able to speak about legends of the clubs when we were young. Knights, Campbell and Richardson were great players but were never able to frank legendary status because of their surroundings.

Dugald Jellie also writes of his pain from that game, as well as other incidents of the last season or two. It is an interesting read detailing his treatment by the club, and also the same theme expressed by Sean above - where are the heroes for this generation of Tiger fans?
A lament for Richmond (& how the club broke my heart)
Thinking about Tom Hafey now, he was a footballing identity in our city who for many was a household name, and probably will be for years to come. His death was front page news. Jack Dyer, Lou Richards, Bob Davis, Tom Hafey, Ron Barassai – time will one day catch them all, these footballing men who have inspired so many others with their feats, with their examples of how life could be lived.
Unlike Sean Ross’s generation of Richmond fans, I have the 1980 premiership and 1982 grand final to cherish. I attended both games, not yet a teenager, with hand-made floggers and a boyish enthusiasm for my club and its team. I have Francis Bourke, Jim Jess, Kevin Bartlett and Michael Roach to remember.
A generation before mine has the glory days – the Hafey years – that cast still a distant shadow. After so many years of mediocrity, four premierships came, and a lineage that saw 20 of his former players go on to become coaches, three of whom won premierships elsewhere.
His recent piece covers his feelings in the aftermath of the Hafey match, but also his feeling of an insular club that Richmond is in this era. A theme which he touched on after visiting the Whitten Oval earlier in the season.
R3 v Western Bulldogs: A lament, for us Tigers
In all my time visiting Punt Road these past two seasons, never have I felt as welcome as I was at Whitten Oval on Saturday morning. Partly, it’s because of the design of the stadiums. Whitten Oval’s redevelopment invites people into an open foyer, from which they can freely access the playing arena, a large reception area, a bar, a shop, and numerous other facilities. It invites curiosity. It feels open to all.
At Punt Road, the most obvious entry-point is into the Superstore. There’s a mouse-hole entrance – manned usually by security – to the social rooms. And there’s a separate entrance to the club offices. It feels like the architecture of exclusion. There is no space where visitors feel as though they can freely walk-in and assemble.
At three-quarter time in the VFL, our boys getting a roasting in the fierce sun, the pack gathered around the Footscray huddle. Tiger supporters had dwindled. Well-meaning Richmond staff cordoned off the players with a yellow chain. Footscray had no such encumbrance.

What has happened to this club from 'Struggletown' that once was a leader in its neighbourhood?
Where are the current day heroes to secure a flag?
Where are the outstretched arms to its fans?

Yet even in the depth of Dugald's despair, and Sean's sense of loss... some other Tigers also feeling the same pain express it differently and look forward. In a sense, they are also hooked and addicted to the yellow and black.
John 'The Holy Boot' sums it up beautifully.

I love the Richmond Football Club
Little did I know the emotional pain following Richmond would bring to my life. The embarrassment at school, the anger at matches, the hollow feeling of being overrun in a final quarter, time and time again. Losing the unloseable and failing whenever it really matters.
.... But I wouldn’t change a thing. Following Richmond has been difficult, a real test of character. Yet I’m thankful to barrack for the club and suburb that my family both followed and lived in.
A revealer of character, says John.
They must be made of stern stuff, these Tigers.

Two close ones this wee, with Carlton and Hawtorn tipped to win by around 1 goal>

We also have Richmond to win by 51... which would be great for the bloggers above, but at present a real challenge for the club.

Last of the abbreviated Index's.
In scaping our calculated tipping goat, the Mezzoculo suggests
 - Port to upset Hawthorn.
 - GWS to be better than we calculate
 - Adelaide might sneak the win over Carlton.

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