JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

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.

Related Coverage

Live AFL: Sunday 3 June

West Coast travels an enormous distance to take on the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. The Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs clash in a hard-to-pick encounter. And Collingwood hosts Gold Coast in what shapes as a twilight mis-match at the MCG. Follow the action with our live blog.

Power blackens Blues

Port Adelaide caused one of its biggest upsets by brushing aside and embarrassing an inept Carlton by 54 points at AAMI Stadium last night.

Ablett shines but Suns sink

Not even an AFL record 53 disposals from Gary Ablett can stop Collingwood notching a 97-point win.

Tiger King facing five-match ban

The wild enthusiasm about Richmond's improvement is set to be dented by more match review panel attention on firebrand Jake King.

Tigers' mojo returns

Richmond star forward Jack Riewoldt says the confidence missing early this AFL season has come flowing back.

We have the belief: Hardwick

After beating St Kilda for the first time in nine years and in so doing defeating a second tough finals-credentialled opponent in two weeks, Richmond now had the belief it belonged among the best teams, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said last night.

Riewoldt leads Tigers revival

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).

Related Coverage

2014 Home and Away

Round 1
Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Report Stats
STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 1
Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 2
Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 3
Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 4
Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Home and Away
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
View all
 
Featured advertisers