Huge Tiger turn out for AFL training run

If AFL club Richmond wanted to sell tickets to Friday’s training session, they easily could have.


The Tigers started training at 9.45am AEST at Punt Rd Oval.

Approximately 45 minutes before the light run started, the gates were already being locked at the club’s spiritual home.

A capacity of 5000 was simply never going to be enough amid a 37-year wait for a premiership.

Fans – old and bitter plus young and optimistic alike – queued up long before gates opened at 8.30am.

They swamped the oval in a sea of yellow and black.

They cheered with a sort of glee that, for many in the crowd, had been a foreign feeling up until this grand-final week.

They belted out the club song with gusto.

And that was all long before Trent Cotchin’s team had even run out.

It was standing room only throughout the morning, save for a few settled in the Jack Dyer stand.

They jumped to their feet and joined in a standing ovation when the players entered the field.

Cotchin and Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin were the clear favourites during the rock-star reception.

The locked-out masses spilled into Yarra Park, sneaking a glimpse here and there while peering over Portaloos.

Training was as you’d expect the day before the biggest game of the year and every player’s career: slow and steady.

Coach Damien Hardwick cracked a smile as his charges warmed up then started a few low-key drills.

Hardwick would have been smiling even more by the end of proceedings – the public spectacle went off without a pinged hamstring, head knock or any form of banana peel.

Players signed autographs and posed for selfies after the session.

Jack Riewoldt and a few players practised their goal-kicking as teammates started leaving the track.

Fans demanded an encore as a helicopter hovered.

Everybody had a parade to get to.

Hardwick will hope to deliver something suitable at the MCG on Saturday.