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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10349


Ms CATHERINE KING (Ballarat) (11:02): With my dad born in Richmond, I grew up with stories of the toughness of his life there and spent every winter Saturday at Essex Heights Football Club, and with two brothers, Michael and Marty, recruited to the Richmond squad, there was never any doubt that I was going to be Richmond through and through. At the age of 16, in 1982, I was at my first ever grand final, and I cried all the way home from Richmond to Syndal station. This is a club that has broken our hearts more often than not, but, oh, how we love them.

Last Friday night, the Richmond Tigers shrugged off history to beat Geelong. It's been 16 years since they were last in a final. Coming into Friday night's game, Richmond had lost the past 13 times to Geelong. They had not beaten them at the MCG this millennium. The last time they won against Geelong, in 1999, the now CEO Brendon Gale was the centre half-forward. Geelong supporters thought that they had our measure and that they had it in the bag. It was unthinkable that we would win, but win we did. Damian Hardwick, and captain Trent Cotchin, who've been under enormous pressure from commentators and supporters for the last few years, have shown wonderful leadership, just as the club overall has under the stewardship of the league's first female president, Peggy O'Neil.

For the team itself, as TheAge football writer Michael Gleeson accounted:

Richmond was never going to do a final easy. The game on Friday night was as tortured as Richmond's path to it.

Well, for three quarters it was. In the last quarter, in a manner befitting the fretful apprehension they, or rather their fans, carried into another finals appearance, once the realisation dawned that they were home the relief was like an outpouring. They kicked six goals for three quarters and seven in the last. Cotchin's goal in the last quarter was typical of Richmond in 2017: fearless, ferocious and fantastic.

One of my staff has been trying to get me to do the Kath & Kim version of the Tigers' theme song. I will resist, but I highly recommend people googling it. It says everything and more about us as Tigers supporters. I might even put it up on my Facebook page alongside this speech. As the theme song says: 'Like the Tiger of old, we're strong and we're bold.' This is a Richmond team embracing Richmond values and sharing the journey with its fans. We have a bye this week. We want the boys to rest up well, regroup and be ready for the next game. We, your fans, will be with you all the way. Go, Tiges!