Unfurling an AFL premiership flag was simply a dream for Richmond supporters five years ago, now they get to show off two at once.
The dramatic turnaround of the Tigers’ fortunes was on full display at the MCG on Thursday night as they celebrated their 2019 and 2020 premierships.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting just before last season, Richmond held off unfurling their 2019 flag as crowds were banned in Victorian stadiums and the competition shifted north.
But with the Victorian government now allowing up to 50,000 people into the MCG, the Tigers’ 2021 season-opener against Carlton proved the perfect opportunity to enjoy the spoils of the last two years.
The encounter was the first men’s AFL game played with a crowd in Victoria since Richmond demolished Greater Western Sydney in the 2019 grand final in front of 100,014 fans.
After going 37 years without a premiership, Richmond supporters are lapping up this golden era that has seen the Tigers claim three of the past four premierships, beginning with their shock 2017 flag.
Club stalwarts, including the influential Neil Balme in a Richmond playing guernsey, helped carry the two flags around the MCG as scores of the Tigers’ winning grand finals flashed around the boundary advertising boards.
Richmond president Peggy O’Neal received a giant applause as she addressed the Tigers faithful at the Punt Rd end of the ground.
“Hello Tiger army, tonight we have the unique opportunity of unfurling two premiership flags,” O’Neal said.
The spectacle was an intimidating sight for the Blues, who entered the match winless against Richmond since 2013.