The AFL (Australian Football League) season has just concluded with the Sydney Swans winning the premiership cup for 2012. No one should have picked that before the season had started. But this aint about the Swans, this is about the mighty Tigers who certainly appear to be on the way up.
To anyone curious, the AFL is aussie rules football a sport only played down here on the sunburnt land. A game consists of four quarters lasting between 25-35 minutes each. It is high contact and the players are elite athletes who run hard and tackle non stop for two hours of play. It is a spectacular game and I freakin love it.
The Tigers haven't payed in the finals for 11 years now but this past season they showed tremendous promise finishing with an 11-11-1 record. Included in those 11 wins were impressive victories against both Sydney and Hawthorn, this years minor premiere and runner up.
2012 had many heartbreaking moments for this young team losing games inside the last minute of play against bottom of the table Gold Coast, drawing inside the last minute against lowly Port Adelaide and coming up short by less than 10 points in nearly all their losses this year. In fact, Richmond was put away in only one game by a big margin but held leads in 19 of the 22 matches played, many of those leads evaporated late turning victory into loss more times than what seems fair.
Next years season opener will be a huge knock down, drag out contest against Carlton, but we will go into that clash on even footing. We have signed some good talent already in the off season that will bolster our forward set up and if we can acquire Chaplin from the Power we will have gained considerably to strengthen our back line. Round one next year can't come soon enough and I can't wait to finally put down the Blues. They have had us for too long.
The Tigers really are a heartbreak club. We skirt the borders of emotion all the time but there is not another club in the land whose team has lacked such ongoing success and can still amass a huge, passionate following believing for better days. We will be playing finals footy next September I am confident of that. This current squad is so exciting to watch!
To the boys from Punt Road, thanks for a promising year.