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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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Richmond captain Chris Newman said yesterday that a recent highlights tape of Jack Riewoldt's emerging career has shown how much the exuberant forward has developed into more of a team player.

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 Age Friday 1st June 2012 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 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 13:10AS
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 11:10NZ
ESS 49 vs COL 69 14:40MCG
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 17:40SO
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 20:45Domain Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 13:10G
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 15:20SS
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 13:45MCG
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 14:10SCG
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 16:35MS
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 19:20ES
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 13:10MCG
STK 80 vs ESS 82 15:20ES
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 5 5 0 0 151.10 20
Collingwood 5 4 1 0 147.53 16
Western Bulldogs 5 4 1 0 104.75 16
Hawthorn 5 3 2 0 149.86 12
West Coast Eagles 5 3 2 0 145.92 12
Sydney Swans 5 3 2 0 118.26 12
Adelaide Crows 5 3 2 0 111.40 12
GWS Giants 5 3 2 0 102.87 12
View all
 
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