Before anyone ever cared where I spent my weekends, I was a kid from the Punt Road End. It’s where I walked. It’s where I cheered. It’s where I cried. It’s where I hugged an obscenely obese man after a Kayne Pettifer goal. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. They inspire me. My relationship with the Richmond Football Club is bigger than footy. I didn’t realise that when I ended my ties with the club after losing to the Dees in Round 9. I do now.
I left Richmond because of Troy Chaplin and Shaun Hampson. I couldn’t believe that a 170 game veteran still struggled with the concept of football or that our latest recruit made me long for Jordan McMahon’s return.
When I left the Tiges, I was on a mission. I was seeking a reprieve from the pain while gaining some employment. I always believed that I’d return to the Punt Road End and finish my days there with a few stubbies in hand. I just didn’t know when. Coming back this season wasn’t even a thought. I looked around for a job, but soon realised that my weeks were better spent doing something else – watching the Tiges. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
To make the move I needed to believe that I would never see Hampson again and that Richmond could still make the finals. They’ve won six-in-a-row. I’m not a Miami Heat or Hawthorn bandwagon supporter. I’ve sat through Richmond’s 150-point loss to Geelong, McMahon kicking a footy, BT’s commentary and every other Richmond fuck up.
I’m not promising rational commentary on the Tigers. I know how hard that is to deliver. I’m not ready right now. No way.
At the Punt Road End, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You cheer for Dusty and wait for Delidio to show a heart.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.