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Like Tigers Of Old

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

The Round 9 match between Hawthorn and Richmond was billed as a clash between the newly anointed Premiership favorites and the up and coming Finals hopefuls. The recent demise of Carlton and the continuing struggles of Geelong had the bookmakers talking up the Hawks as the team to beat in 2012. With young gun defender Dylan Grimes out of the Richmond team through injury, all signs pointed to a comfortable Hawthorn victory. The late withdrawal of another solid defender in Jake Batchelor left the Tigers' defense ripe for the picking for the Hawks' prize forwards in Lance “Buddy” Franklin and the dynamic Cyril Rioli.

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Hungry Tigers Shut Down Power

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Adelaide

Overcast conditions and a steady drizzle greeted the visiting Richmond Tigers as they ran onto a pristine AAMI Stadium surface to face the Port Adelaide Power. With both teams sporting an equally precarious 1-4 record, the importance of a win and the prized four Premiership points could not be understated. The home fans were buoyed by a strong Port performance a week earlier at the same venue when a late fade out cost them a win against their arch rival Adelaide Crows, while Tiger fans could point to narrow losses against League pacesetters the West Coast Eagles and Geelong Cats as evidence of solid improvement.

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Cool Cats Outlast Tigers

A buoyant Richmond side, fresh off its first victory for 2012, headed to the fortress now known as Simonds Stadium (formerly Kardinia Park) in Geelong to take on the reigning Premiers in one of football’s toughest tests. Geelong is so hard to beat at home that it recently had an unbeaten run at “the Cattery” that extended from 26 August 2007 to 27 August 2011. To further intimidate the visiting Tigers, the home team unveiled its 2011 Premiership Flag prior to the first bounce as the crowd finally took their seats after a power outage had shut them out of the Stadium.

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Tenacious Tigers Demoralize Demons

Both teams came into Round 3 with a 0-2 record and were feeling the heat for different reasons. Demons' coach Mark Neeld had been under siege after a poor start to his AFL coaching career, taking over a team considered Finals contenders at the start of the previous season. The coaching change was supposed to inject new life into the Demon line-up but the results so far had been disappointing to say the least. On the other side of the coin, Richmond shared the dreaded 0-2 record. However both losses were to highly touted opponents in Carlton and Collingwood. There had been enough positive football played by the Tigers to suggest they could still improve on their 12th position finish from last season but a loss to the struggling Demons would no doubt have loyal supporters and the media lamenting yet another season of unfulfilled promise.

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Resurgent Tigers Overcome Demons

A Round 23 clash between two struggling clubs would normally not attract a lot of attention but this round had a high level of importance for both Richmond and Melbourne. The Tigers had seemingly lost their way after an exciting start to the season but, coming off a thumping 47 point win against perennial finalist Sydney, they appeared to have their mojo back. If they could pull off a win against Melbourne – a feat they had not managed since Round 18, 2009 – some momentum could be regained as the Tigers move into a very important off-season. Melbourne on the other hand, has had its season torn apart over the past month, going from a highly-touted dynasty built around Trengove, Scully and Watts to a team which sacked its coach after some abysmal late season performances. Amazingly, the Demons could still mathematically make the Finals with a win over Richmond and games against cellar-dwelling Gold Coast and Port Adelaide to follow.

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Tenacious Tigers Top Struggling Swans

Sydney arrived at the MCG for the last game of Round 21 expecting to strengthen their Finals claims with a victory over Richmond. The Tigers have had a disappointing second half to the season and, while looking to regain some respect from the football public on the back of a six game losing streak, were not given any chance against the Swans.

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Happy West Coast 25th Anniversary

In recent years, Patersons Stadium has been a fortress for the West Coast Eagles against Richmond with 12 of the last 14 matches going West Coast’s way. The Richmond Tigers had been given no chance of winning the Round 20 encounter, particularly with the Eagles celebrating 25 years in the competition and knocking on the door of a Final Four berth. Tiger fans hoped that with nothing to lose, Richmond might come out with a hunger to play and rain on the Eagles’ parade.

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Stirring Tigers Stun Fremantle

In a season-defining win, the Richmond Tigers have come of age, defeating one of the most talented and improved sides in the AFL, the Fremantle Dockers, and recording their third victory in a row. After many seasons at the bottom of the Ladder, the young Richmond side has shown that it is heading in the right direction and that it may well upset other stronger and more experienced teams on the road to improvement.

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Dockers Honor Diggers

Anzac Day football has a special meaning for Australians. The traditional playing of the Last Post in front of 38,000 silent people will raise goose-bumps on the arms of anyone who is fortunate enough to be present. The winless Richmond came into this game with a good record against Fremantle, having won their last four encounters. Last year Fremantle were humbled by their opponents on most occasions. This season so far their attitude and skill levels have improved and they appear capable of beating any team in the league. The Tigers arrived in Perth at the bottom of the Ladder but who knows what any team is capable of when the blood is up and the ANZAC battle cry is ringing in its ears.

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Demons Character Win

After a nightmare week in the media spotlight, beleaguered Richmond Tigers coach Terry Wallace found no salvation in Sunday's must win game against the Melbourne Demons. Week-long headlines prophesying Wallace's demise should Richmond fail to produce a winning performance were read by all it seems except the Melbourne football team. Twenty-two players, most in their fledgling years of AFL football, ran on to the MCG in red and black Melbourne guernseys. The youthful Demons came with but one aim - to play the best brand of football they could muster. Not only did they turn a deaf ear to the roars of the Tiger Army, they turned the footy tipping world upside down in a display of character football for which the Tigers had no answers. At last the starved Demons have something to build upon for the future.

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