Unleashing Merimbula’s Tiger Army

Yellow and Black: Merimbula locals Anthony Daly, Melanie Leach and Paul Pincini were shocked to run into each other at a bar in Melbourne last Saturday where they were all celebrating the Tigers making it to the big dance.
Yellow and Black: Merimbula locals Anthony Daly, Melanie Leach and Paul Pincini were shocked to run into each other at a bar in Melbourne last Saturday where they were all celebrating the Tigers making it to the big dance.

A little known part of the Merimbula community has reemerged over the past couple of weeks.

The local faction of the Richmond Tiger Army has been bubbling away under the surface for many years just waiting for their moment to come out in force.

And now their moment is here as the Richmond Tigers have made their first AFL grand final since their disappointing loss to Carlton in 1982.

Pambula’s Shaun Gleeson wasn’t even born the last time the Richmond Tigers played in the AFL grand final, but now the die-hard fan has secured tickets to watch his team in action at the MCG this weekend.

Mr Gleeson said he has been a Tigers fan since before he could talk.

“My grandfather was a fan, my father and my brother all are, through thick and thin,” Mr Gleeson said.

Admittedly, the Richmond Tigers have had more ‘thin’ times than ‘thick’ in recent years, but with Dusty Martin winning the Brownlow on Monday, and the team reaching the final in ferocious fashion, some people are saying it could be fate for the Tigers to win.

As for Mr Gleeson, while he is hoping for a Tigers win, he said he still cannot believe that it was this year, of all years, that the team has made it to the big dance.

Mr Gleeson has been on the MCC waiting list since he was born, he has been an MCC silver member for 15 years and just this year he received his full MCC membership. He got his tickets to the grand final through the MCC ballot before the finals series had started.

He said he was just hoping to enjoy the finals atmosphere, he hadn’t even thought about the odds that he would be watching his team play.

Mr Gleeson will be watching the game with his old man, his brother, his uncle, three cousins and some friends.

“If they win you might not see me for a month,” Mr Gleeson joked.

“I'm quietly confident, three in a row at the ‘G suits us but Adelaide have been my pick all year, even from the first round so I think it will be a great game.”

But Mr Gleeson isn’t the only Merimbula local who thinks it could be fate for Richmond to come away with the premiership.

Anthony Daly, who watched the Tigers advance to the final over GWS on Saturday, said he was eight years old the last time Richmond won a premiership.

Now he plans to watch the game with his son, who is currently eight years old.

“It would be one hell of a good coincidence,” Mr Daly said.