Bulldogs gave Tigers AFL flag inspiration

Until Saturday, no club had ever leapt from 13th place one year to winning the AFL premiership the next.


That’s until Richmond broke the mould at the MCG, and they say the Western Bulldogs showed them the way.

The Tigers were shock 48-point victors over Adelaide in the grand final, re-writing the record books in the process.

It was Richmond’s first premiership in 37 years, completing one of the great rags to riches tales in recent memory.

The modern-day strugglers hadn’t even won a final in 16 years until earlier in September.

Thanks to the efforts of stars like Alex Rance, the Tigers were able to break through.

Rance was simply impassible in defence, denying the Crows time and again with his spoils, smothers and man-marking.

He said it was talent, effort and teamwork that won them the flag — but it was the Bulldogs that allowed them to dream.

“The Dogs were the flagship team to give the underdog a hope,” Rance said.

“We never really thought … we’d get this far, we just put one step in front, one step in front and now we’re here.”

Captain Trent Cotchin also said he was inspired by the Bulldogs’ 2016 success — their first for 62 years.

“They didn’t finish 13th the year before but they got to work last season and they gave everyone a great example of what was possible,” he said.

“The Doggies did that for everyone last year.”

Rance said Richmond had “talent coming out the wazoo here with Dusty, Dan Rioli, (Jack) Riewoldt, Cotch”.

“You also need connection. Synergy. You’ve all got to work together, its a team game,” he said.

“It’s about knowing your role and not trying to be something you aren’t.

“We’re a champion team now. We’ve proven that with these medals.

“It’s been an amazing group.”

One other factor helped; the club’s incredible fanbase.

Tigers supporters jumped out from every corner of Melbourne to pack the MCG in three blockbuster finals.

More than 289,000 people witnessed the three matches, the vast majority clad in yellow and black.

“We had the support in the two finals before hand and we outnumbered them 20 to 1,” Rance added.

“There’s no doubt it helped us get over the line in those games. It’s amazing.”