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Connecting people & communities BERWICK

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Thursday, 21 September, 2017

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Our Tigerland! With the whiff of perhaps Giantkilling their way into a grand final, Tiger fans in Casey are proudly emerging from the wilderness. Richmond Football Club cheersquad member Dave Coppin, of Berwick, is freshening up the colours of his club-themed tattoo ahead of a sellout AFL preliminary final at the MCG on 23 September. The tatt is on the top of his temple - a Jesus-like figure wearing a Richmond jumper. He wants well-inked star player Dustin Martin to sign the sash on the tattoo, if the Tiges win the flag. “Punt Road will be going off for a minimum of a week!” Mr Coppin’s devotion includes a signed lace-up premiership jumper worn by legendary hardman Robbie McGhie. There’s also a badge-laden jacket with 30 years of cheer squad patches and a full set of WEG premiership posters. Mr Coppin is ready to roar behind the Punt Road goals, encircled by a rumbling colosseum of 90,000 mainly Tiger fans in the high-stakes preliminary against Greater Western Sydney Giants. Pundits predict perhaps 1000 Giants fans to be engulfed in the chorus. As part of the massive ‘Tiger Army’, he said he’d never heard a louder crowd noise than the recent qualifying win against Geelong. It was aggressive, like “going to war”. “They’re starting to roar. They’re getting manic, absolutely desperate for the win. “As an adult you realise what it means. You well up with joy - we were all in tears.” Before that game, he felt a knot

Darryl Johanning flies the flag for the Tiges. 172811 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

of sickness. It’s a more relaxed team on the field though, led by Dusty, Cotch, Rance, Jack and the ‘mosquito fleet’. “We’ve never been this confident at Richmond. The monkey is off the back.

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“I can’t see us losing the prelim. I reckon we’re already in the Granny.” Kim Chante, of Narre Warren South, says she had a premonition at the start of the season that the Tigers would win the flag. From their couch, she and her kids Ashley, Danny and Lyndsay

will be nearly able to hear the Tiger Army, she says. There’s a soothing mass of Buddha statues in her home. But when the Tigers are playing, Ms Chante’s passion flares up. Continued page 14

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News - Berwick - 21st September 2017