35 years just waitin’ for a chance

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page -

PAUL Knowles never made it to the MCG in 1980 to see his beloved Rich­mond win their most re­cent premier­ship.

Sadly, his mother Clau­dine, a life­long Tigers’ fan who was born and bred in Rich­mond had died the year be­fore. Paul was 11. “I went in 1982 and sat just above the spot where He­len D’Amico ran on the ground, but I was too young to ap­pre­ci­ate the mo­ment,” he said as he pre­pared for Satur­day’s show­down with the Crows.

“I lived in Mel­bourne from 1984-87 and watched some ab­so­lute thrash­ings by teams like Carl­ton and North Mel­bourne.

“I have my ticket for this week and cried in the car on the way back from the ticket agency in Al­bury.

“Thirty-five years wait­ing for a chance, sounds like Liv­ing Next Door to Alice, to have a shot at the flag.

“Life as a Tiger is never easy, but this month has been one hell of a ride.

“A win on Satur­day and may the lord have mercy on your souls.” A loss? “It’s not a word we use at Tiger­land in 2017,” Paul said.

When pressed on his omi­nous words he said, suf­fice to say Po­lice Com­mand have raised the prospect of clos­ing off the streets sur­round­ing the MCG on the day.

“We will tear the place apart,” Paul said. “And that’s if we win so don’t even think about if we lose.”

The week lead­ing up to the fi­nal has been noth­ing out of the or­di­nary for Paul (“we’re tak­ing it one premier­ship at a time”) and he will prepare for Satur­day like any other match.

“The Bulls Head Thurs­day night, the Rail­way Fri­day and Mac­cas on the way home,” the ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner said.

He even has his accommodation or­gan­ised.

“We fin­ished top four and ev­ery­one knows if you fin­ish top four you’re au­to­mat­i­cally into the grand fi­nal,” Paul said.*

Paul’s pre­dic­tion – Tigers by 17 points – “That’s Rich­mond’s favourite num­ber (Jack Dyer’s).”

Daniel Ri­oli for Norm Smith Medal.

Foot­note* Paul’s con­fi­dence in book­ing his accommodation so far in ad­vance needs to be qual­i­fied. The mo­tel has a re­fund pol­icy if the Tigers didn’t make it.

PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

FI­NAL COUNT­DOWN: Paul Knowles (right) with mate and Crows sup­porter Jor­dan Ruf­ford-Sharpe. Jor­dan, 17, has been a Crows mem­ber for 10 years and saw them win in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal in Ade­laide but missed in the bal­lot for a grand fi­nal ticket. His fa­ther Craig be­lieves a mate of his, Peter McIn­tyre, who played for Ade­laide, some­how turned his son away from a Vic­to­rian club at a very young age. Jor­don tipped the Crows by 25 points and Matt Crouch to win the Norm Smith Medal.

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