Sport Richmond fans flock to Tigers' Punt Road base to cheer premiership heroes

04:40  01 october  2017
04:40  01 october  2017 Source:   The Age

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They needed to watch it again to believe it. Nursing sore heads from the previous night's celebrations, thousands of tigers fans flocked to Punt Road Oval on Sunday morning to watch a replay of Richmond 's historic grand final win on large screens.

Richmond fans have flocked to Punt Rd on Friday to cheer on the Tigers ahead of their preliminary final against Greater Western Sydney. The Tigers are eying their first grand final in 35 years, and first premiership in 37 years, with fans desperate to end decades of pain.

Fans heading to the Richmond Tigers family day at Punt Road Oval.© Daniel Pockett. Fans heading to the Richmond Tigers family day at Punt Road Oval. In the Richmond Tigers' heartland fans are still celebrating their fairytale premiership, flocking toward Punt Road Oval for a chance to see their heroes in the flesh.

At the oval with coffee in hand and still wearing his tiger suit and face paint, Paul Webb said he hadn't slept a wink last night.

"I did everything, you name it," the Bacchus Marsh man said. "Punt Road, Bridge Street, Swan Street, the London Tavern, the Cricketers Arms, the Royal … I was in every pub in Richmond."

And Mr. Webb said the party was set to continue. "We've got 365 days to celebrate," he said.

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The jubilant roars of long-suffering Richmond fans could be heard echoing throughout Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, as the Tigers 's 37-year Premiership drought finally came to an end. Tigers ' Punt Road base erupts as heroes break 37-year premiership drought. Tweet. Facebook. Of. ╳ exit.

Fans have flocked to Richmond 's spiritual home on the eve of AFL Grand Final. Melbourne's Punt Road Oval was a sea of yellow and black on Friday morning. Thousands packed out ground for Tigers ' last training session before decider.

The electoral commission worker said he had the foresight to take Monday off work – but warned colleagues they would not escape his reveling.

"I'll sleep tomorrow, probably, but I'll be heading into work on Monday to give it to everybody who said we couldn't do it."

Fans are still celebrating their fairytale premiership.© Daniel Pockett Fans are still celebrating their fairytale premiership. Other fans are still in a state of disbelief.

Father and son Rick and Luke Rosenstengel from Colac are also among the crowd at the Tigers' spiritual home.

Luke was at the MCG for the game, but after celebrating the win he went home to watch a replay. "I'll watch it a few times again I reckon," Luke said.

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RIchmond fans cheer on their side at Punt Road Oval, as thousands of Tiger fans watch the Grand Final. Photo: Chris Hopkins. In Swan Street, Richmond , the beer was flowing and the fans were dancing, on the road .

Richmond Tigers fans converge on Melbournes MCG. Richmond legend Dale Weightman, who played in the club’s last premiership in 1980, said the team had been “training as Picture: Nicole GarmstonSource:News Corp Australia. Fans flocked to Punt Road to soak up the pleasant weather.

Cafes up and down Swan Street are packed with punters wearing the yellow and gold.

Mates Chris McKenzie and Andy Nobel are among those out for breakfast to soak up the excesses of the night before. "The hangover is fantastic," Mr Noble said.

Both were at the MCG on Saturday to see the historic game.

"After that we hung around in the bullring for another hour, just soaking up the atmosphere," Mr McKenzie said.

Fans are flocking to Tigers' heartland.© Daniel Pockett Fans are flocking to Tigers' heartland. Like thousands of fans, the Bayside pair headed down to Swan Street to celebrate afterward.

They described the atmosphere as "electric" – but other fans lamented how a festival atmosphere in Tigerland eventually "turned feral".

"It was fantastic until about midnight, then it just got out of hand," Richmond cafe owner and Tigers fan Peter Laliotis said.

"That's when the argy-bargy with police started and it was after six hours of partying – it was only going to turn ugly, and it did."

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  Tigers will get better in AFL: Gale Richmond CEO Brendon Gale believes the premiership-winning Tigers have room for improvement given they've got one of the youngest squads in the AFL.Gale's emotional embrace of club president Peggy O'Neal in the stands during Saturday's win was one of the enduring images of the grand final.

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But before that, Mr Laliotis said Swan Street was like a festival.

"I was here [when Tigers last made the grandfinal] in '82, I was here last night and I've been here every grand final in between," he said.

"I've never seen anything like that before, not even Collingwood 2010 came close."

Most, though, are recounting the exploits of their heroes on the MCG and their own post-match antics.

Also on Sunday morning Cole Spender and his dog Fender were enjoying a walk along Swan Street, a day after Mr Spender went to the MCG to cheer his team onto premiership glory.

Fans look at a Dusty 'statue'.© Daniel Pockett Fans look at a Dusty 'statue'. But the highly-sought after tickets didn't come cheap.

Mr Spender, who works in healthcare technology, said as soon as tickets sold out he got onto the phone to everyone he knew to try and coax tickets for himself and a relative a ticket – at any cost. They've been going to Tigers games together for 22 years, Mr Spender said.

Eventually, he got hold of tickets -they were $750 each.

Mr Spender said he paid $1500 for the "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to see his beloved Tigers play their first grand-final in 35 years – and doesn't regret a thing.

The 34-year-old and dog Fender walk down Swan Street every day. But this day is not like every other day, even for Fender.

"He picks up all the uneaten Souvlaki and kebabs," Mr Spender said.

"So today is an extra special day for him too – because more drunk people means more spoils."

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