Stone the flamin’ crows!

McIvor Times - - SPORTS - By DAVID CHAP­MAN

IT’S un­clear what ex­actly is in Tiger sausages but any crows in the area would be best ad­vised to avoid McIvor Meats in Heathcote. One crow did stray into en­emy ter­ri­tory in the lead up to Satur­day’s AFL grand fi­nal in what proved to be some­thing of an omen for the big match.

ANY­ONE walk­ing past McIvor Meats in the past week would have been left in no doubt as to who butcher Steve Shad­dock was cheer­ing for in Satur­day’s AFL grand fi­nal.

Mr Shad­dock’s shop was im­mersed in the yel­low and black of Richmond as the team sought to end a 37-year pre­mier­ship drought against the Ade­laide Crows.

The Tigers won the match in em­phatic fash­ion and the Heathcote butcher was just one of many long suf­fer­ing fans breath­ing a big sigh of re­lief af­ter the re­sult.

Mr Shad­dock put up the dec­o­ra­tions in his shop on Mon­day af­ter­noon of last week af­ter Richmond had booked its spot in the grand fi­nal with a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal vic­tory over Greater West­ern Syd­ney.

With the pre­mier­ship in the bag, Mr Shad­dock was con­tent to start tak­ing down the dec­o­ra­tions on Mon­day of this week.

‘‘I don’t want to rub salt in the wound,’’ he said, al­though he could be for­given for leav­ing the para­pher­na­lia up a lit­tle bit longer considering how long it had been be­tween Richmond flags.

At 56, Mr Shad­dock can re­mem­ber the Tigers last flag be­fore Satur­day’s in 1980 and even the suc­cesses of 1973 and 1974.

‘‘I can re­mem­ber the old man coming home from the grand fi­nals in 1967 and 1969 with the posters out of The Her­ald,’’ Mr Shad­dock said.

The butcher even had an omen of things to come.

The Satur­day morn­ing af­ter Richmond had de­feated Gee­long in the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal, Mr Shad­dock had opened up the door of his shop to let some fresh air through.

He was tak­ing some rub­bish out­side and when he turned around he saw a crow sit­ting on the par­cel shelf.

‘‘The crow flew off and straight into the win­dow. He then picked him­self up and walked out the door.’’

It was enough to con­vince Mr Shad­dock the time was right for this crop of Richmond play­ers to end the club’s drought.

‘‘It’s been a long time coming,’’ Mr Shad­dock said.

‘‘I had be­lief in this group of play­ers. I wasn’t sure if (coach Damien) Hard­wick was the right man to lead them but it turned out he was.

‘‘The guys we picked up this year like Josh Caddy, Dion Pres­tia and Toby Nankervis pol­ished the group off nicely.

‘‘I thought Bachar Houli would win the Norm Smith Medal but he had a lot of pos­ses­sions out in the open. Dusty Martin, he’s just a gun.’’

Mr Shad­dock watched the grand fi­nal at a mate’s place.

‘‘There were 15 of us at Too­boorac.

‘‘I was con­fi­dent go­ing in. I thought they could ac­tu­ally do it. I thought at the end of the sec­ond quar­ter and into the third that ‘we’ve got this’.’’

When Richmond had shot out to an unas­sail­able lead in the fi­nal term, it was a huge sense of re­lief for Mr Shad­dock.

‘‘The beers started go­ing down a lot eas­ier then,’’ he said.

He said cel­e­bra­tions went well into the next morn­ing and Sun­day af­ter­noon at Pya­long Ho­tel where he watched the grand fi­nal re­play.

‘‘I’m just start­ing to get clear eyes now,’’ he said on Mon­day.

‘‘I’m just start­ing to get clear eyes now.’’ — Butcher Steve Shad­dock af­ter cel­e­brat­ing Richmond’s drought-break­ing pre­mier­ship.

McIvor Meats left cus­tomers in no doubt about its al­le­giances in the AFL grand fi­nal.

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