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The outlaws

Date

Just who is this tribe ''from Tigerland'' and where do they come from when Richmond starts winning?

Illustration: Mick Connolly

Illustration: Mick Connolly

''And what rough beast, its hour come round at last; Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?''

W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming.

IF YOU live anywhere east of Monash University, or happen to stumble into a Richmond pub over the next few days, the odds are high that you'll see one of them slouching towards the bar.

Jack Riewoldt outmarks Jason Blake. Click for more photos

AFL Round 10 2012:St.Kilda V Richmond

St.Kilda and Richmond clashed in a blockbuster match of the round at Etihad Stadium. Richmond led at every change and fought off a late charge by the saints to win 18.13 (121) to 16.17 (113). Photo: Pat Scala

He - they are mainly male - might be wearing an undersized jumper with a yellow sash or a shiny yellow and black jacket. Contrary to popular myth, the older species no longer has the famed 1980 jumper, and AFL research suggests that he will be stabbing his fingers on an iPhone. Richmond fans rank fifth among the AFL's tribes for using iPhone applications.

He looks as though he became lost after celebrating Friday night, missed the last train to Cranbourne, or was too drunk to drive to Rowville - which the club has discovered are two of the four postcodes in which the feral Tiger is most abundant (Narre Warren and Glen Waverley are the other heartlands, research shows). Don't be frightened by him. He's a happy soul, right now. If he displays aggression, quickly voice ''Oh we're from Tigerland'' and you'll have an unwanted friend for the night.

He has two kids, one of whom follows the Tigers, who will pick up more support among the pre-adolescents now. Richmond rates eighth in the AFL's Auskick registrations - a modest ranking that reflects two realities. The first is that kids love winners, the second is that Richmond hasn't been one for 30 years. Success, coupled with the 2012 crop of charismatic players (Jack, the Mullet, Dusty and Cotchy), will ensure that the children of the Rowville rusted-ons won't be tempted by Buddy and Cyril, Collingwood's tattooed midfield or Essendon's Hird of wholesome hard-nuts.

It would be wrong to say this beast is ''back'' because he didn't ever go away; he stuck with them, though there were times when he stopped going every week, became angry or despondent and their crowds dwindled (notably in the late '80s and early '90s). It didn't take much to get him aroused - a good win over an interstate team at the 'G, Richo kicking 4.7. Heck, even those ephemeral ninth placings kept him hopeful.

The Tiger army is one of the game's great mysteries and characters. Collingwood, Essendon and Carlton have won 15-16 premierships and have never been terrible for more than a decade. The ''big three'' of Melbourne were fairly constant in winning games and (Collingwood 1958-1990 excepted) flags over the past 100 years. Not so Richmond, which had much of its success concentrated from the mid-60s until the early '80s, the seminal period that yielded five premierships and a host of champions. It forged a fierce culture that, as ex-Richmond chief executive and Melbourne boss Cameron Schwab put it, later changed from ''eat 'em alive'' to ''eat your own''.

Richmond's membership will hit 50,000 this week, placing it fourth. It ranks fourth among the 18 clubs for web traffic, and eighth on Facebook - whatever that means. Before this round, it was third for 2012 average attendances, with virtually the same number (47,802) as Carlton (2nd, 47,979) and Essendon (4th, 47,711). A Channel Seven insider recently told the Tigers he hoped that they would beat St Kilda, simply because of the ratings it would reap.

Why do so many follow Richmond? Following the Tigers' intoxicating win over the Saints - it was hard for anyone who wasn't a Sainter not be swept up in the roar emotion - I asked a former colleague why he'd sworn fealty to the yellow and black. ''I lived in Noble Park. It was a Richmond area,'' he said. ''But that was a Swans zone,'' I replied.

''Uhm, yeah, the Morwoods were from there, that's right,'' he recalled, as the Foster's fog lifted. ''But everyone at school was Richmond.''

Richmond was historically blessed to move to the MCG at the precise moment when the Melbourne Football Club fell into a hole following the exits of Norm Smith and Ron Barassi.

Melbourne had owned the ground in the '50s and '60s. Whichever club ''owns'' the MCG arguably has primacy in Victoria - Collingwood of today a case in point. The Tigers would have sovereignty from 1966 until the early '80s, their success creating a G-force strong enough to withstand sustained failure.

But the Richmond appeal was deeper than just success and that theme song. The Tigers, as Tim Watson once explained (he followed them as a child), were the outlaws.

The club Godfather, Graeme Richmond, called their motto ''kill or be killed.'' That 1970s and early '80s team was the competition's Hell's Angels, willing to play outside the rules. ''Ned Kelly would follow Richmond,'' was how a friend explained it. For impressionable youth, the notion that a team could be both successful and rebellious was hard to beat; it's the same sympathy for the devil that had some teens choosing the Rolling Stones over the Beatles.

Too often, administrations ran scared of the Tiger hordes. Coaches would be sacked, boards undermined, in order to pacify them. Even the recruitment of Ben Cousins, as president Gary March admitted then, was partly influenced by the fans' desire to see Cousins, who fitted the outlaw bill, in their colours.

The combination of extreme success followed by decades of extreme failure made for a justifiably angry supporter base - a situation expertly exploited over the years by sports radio hosts. Lately, however, the club has become more professional and the anger seemed to have ebbed; increasingly, there's been a light-hearted edge to the yellow and black cult, helped by lovable Richo and (yellow and) black humour.

The game is a form of entertainment. Richmond, whatever its failing, never fails on that score - witness Jake King. More than anything, what maintains interest in the Tigers is the fact that they're always interesting.

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Tiger Army's broad church is the backdrop to a perfect day at the footy

I might not have gone to the footy last weekend but my daughter egged me into it. "Weather looks a bit grubby," I said when she rang. ";Not from where I'm standing" she replied. She sees TV games as fillets of footy. She says you've got to go to games to get the big picture.

St Kilda v Richmond AFL round 10 Etihad Stadium , Jack Riewoldt and The Tigers celebrate their win Photo Pat Scala The ... AFL Round 10 2012:St.Kilda V Richmond

St.Kilda and Richmond clashed in a blockbuster match of the round at Etihad Stadium. Richmond led at every change and fought off a late charge by the saints to win 18.13 (121) to 16.17 (113).

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AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
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Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
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Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
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Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
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Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
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Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
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Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
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Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
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Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

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