Time for Richmond to roar in the city that gave it some of its best players

There was a few eyebrows raised in this city when the Richmond Football Club announced its Australia-wide premiership cup tour.

Many of Victoria's big regional centres – including Bendigo, Mildura, Echuca and Shepparton – were flagged for a visit to show off the silverware to the Tigers fans.

But there was no Ballarat.

This is the same Ballarat that played an integral part in the development of four of Richmond's 2017 premiership players.

Shaun Grigg and Dan Butler grew up and went to school in Ballarat before being drafted to the AFL through the North Ballarat Rebels.

Daniel Rioli moved to Ballarat for schooling and went through the Rebels system, while David Astbury was also drafted to Tigerland via the city’s TAC Cup program.

Of course, the Tigers can’t go everywhere. But you have to wonder why Ballarat was overlooked given its strong ties to the senior team.

This city has proven before that it supports these type of events, with big numbers turning out for the public Melbourne Cup celebration back in 2015.

This was obviously a local success, with trainer Darren Weir and jockey Michelle Payne combining for victory with outsider Prince of Penzance. But it was done very well and drew hundreds to the celebration.

Richmond’s decision to bypass Ballarat for its cup tour brings back memories of the Western Bulldogs’ public relations blunder after their premiership triumph last year.

Like the Tigers, the Bulldogs broke a long drought in winning AFL’s biggest prize.

And in the days after the grand final success, the club confirmed it would bring the cup to Ballarat, it’s adopted second home.

But two days after the win over Sydney, it was announced that none of the players were going to be making the trip.

This was met with plenty of disappointment, despite coach Luke Beveridge and club president Peter Gordon coming to hold the cup aloft at the town hall.

Beveridge even apologised after the event, admitting the club over-estimated what it would be capable of doing after the grand final success.

Plenty of times following the September 30 win over the Adelaide Crows we’ve heard that famous line of the Richmond theme song: “In any weather you will see us with a grin”. So come on, Tigers. Ballarat’s not that cold.

This story Time for Richmond to roar in the city that gave it some of its best players first appeared on The Courier.