Joy at last for Tigers fan

September 12, 2017

Long-time Richmond supporter Ruth McCracken is quietly confident this is the Tigers' year.

Tatura's biggest Richmond fan Ruth McCracken had a nervous Friday evening when her beloved Tigers took on the Geelong Cats. Ms McCracken was delighted when her team came away with the win, progressing to the preliminary final on September 23.

Richmond Football Club’s biggest supporter Ruth McCracken will be a happy woman if her team manages to take home the silverware this September.

The Tatura resident, 89, jumped on board the Tiger train in 1942, becoming a paying member soon after.

That is 70-odd years of barracking with a return of 10 premierships.

‘‘I met my husband Ted when I was 14 and he was 17,’’ Mrs McCracken said.

‘‘He started me on the Tigers... but I’ve gotten worse than Ted now.’’

The two married and regularly made the trip to Melbourne to watch their beloved team.

‘‘We’d milk the cows in the morning at 5am, go to Melbourne and spend the day there and get someone else to milk for us at night,’’ Mrs McCracken said.

‘‘One year we went to 11 games in a row. They had to win them all to make the finals — and they did it.’’

Mrs McCracken said the first premiership she watched was the Tigers’ 1943 VFL grand final triumph, led by captain-coach Jack Dyer.

‘‘You forget a lot of the premierships, but I can remember 1967 well and how good Kevin Bartlett was,’’ she said.

‘‘His hair would stream behind him... he was so quick... but I remember he didn’t have much on the top of his head.’’

Since the Tigers’ most recent premiership in 1980, Mrs McCracken and her husband have had it tough.

‘‘I’ve gone to bed at half-time during games,’’ she said.

But for the thousands of Tigers supporters around the country, there is a glimmer of hope, with many believing this year might finally be their moment.

‘‘We’ve got our small forwards working well, we recruited that big ruckman from Sydney and Alex Rance is just a miracle, he’s marvellous,’’ Mrs McCracken said.

‘‘I don’t like Dustin Martin’s tattoos, but underneath the facade is a nice boy and he is so agile and always gets away.’’

Like the Western Bulldogs last year, Mrs McCracken believes the stars have aligned for her team and it is the team that is ‘‘supposed to win’’.

‘‘I was lost last week without the footy on television... but I will die a happy woman if I get to see my team win a grand final again,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve got a feeling they’ll win it, but I don’t want to put the mozz on them.’’

Richmond took on Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

Although the Tigers headed into the game having lost the past 13 games to Geelong, Mrs McCracken was confident her team could get across the line.

‘‘I get told I scream too much watching the footy, but I’ll have to behave myself because I’ll be with friends this year,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m nervous inside as soon as it’s talked about on television or I read an article in the newspaper.

‘‘But they’ve got those small forwards working so well that (Jack) Riewoldt doesn’t have to kick a lot of goals, so they’ll win.’’

■Mrs McCracken tipped Richmond by 21 points. She need not have worried, the Tigers defeated the Cats by a whopping 51 points and will play the winner of this weekend’s clash between Greater Western Sydney and West Coast on September 23 in the preliminary final.

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