THE Tiger Army came to Wangaratta in full force on Saturday.
Richmond’s official cheersquad was up and about with plenty of gusto, with 150 members lapping up the club’s win against traditional enemy Collingwood.
They queued early and set up camp at the city end.
The rewards came as the Tigers piled on seven goals at their end of the ground in the final quarter to crank up the expectation meter a couple notches ahead of a round 1 clash against Gold Coast in less than a month.
Among them was 35-year cheersquad veteran David Ward, who returned after watching the Tigers beat Essendon last year.
“We go anywhere to watch Richmond play,” he said.
“Some are staying overnight and some are going back.
“But the ones who are staying are putting money into the local area.”
Ward is typically bullish about the Tigers’ prospects after seeing September action last year.
“We are going to go one step further than last year and win a final,” he said.
“It was disappointing at the end, but it was still a good year.
“The experience of last year and the loss of that final will drive us on.
“The players were greatly affected by it and I think they will be a hell of a lot better for it.”
Ward also supported Tiger cult hero Jake King, who came under fire from AFL boss Andrew Demetriou for his ongoing friendship with bikie Toby Mitchell.
“Let him play footy,” he said.
“He is not doing anything wrong and it is not a crime to catch up with a friend.
“He is not doing anything he shouldn’t be doing as far as we are concerned.”