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11:00am  Jan 19, 2018

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VFLW Tigers inaugural training session

The VFLW Tigers have begun their pre-season campaign, with 45 players fighting for a spot on the Club’s 2018 list.

12:27pm  Jan 19, 2018

Rioli set to run

Richmond star Daniel Rioli is set to begin running next week after undergoing surgery in October to recover from a broken foot sustained in the Tigers' Grand Final victory over Adelaide.

11:46am  Jan 18, 2018

Midsumma Festival launch

Richmond’s commitment to diversity and inclusion was on show at last Sunday’s Midsumma Festival launch at Alexandra Gardens.

5:14pm  Jan 17, 2018

Status Anxiety and Facing Our Demons

Paul Howorth  May 19, 2013 3:28 PM

Some of you may or may not have noticed that, during games in which the Tigers are not looking too good, I change the name of my twitter feed to Tigerholics Anon.  This is a free counselling service through which I encourage Tiger fans to vent their frustration at me, in order to face their demons.  Taking one for the team I like to call it and I receive some wonderfully creative and colourful rounds of abuse, the kind of abuse that only the extremely passionate, mighty and highly anxious Tiger fan base seems capable of.  I usually switch on the counselling service around 3/4 time, and I make the call about whether to switch it on depending on our 3/4 time lead or deficit.

One observation I've been able to make this season is no matter what our 3/4 time lead might be in any match, approximately 90% of tweeting Tigers fans remain worried we are a fair chance to lose.  For example, we could be 11 points up at 3/4 time, - as we were against the Saints in Round 2 - or we could be 50 points up at 3/4 time like we were against Port Adelaide last week, and a quick poll of Tiger fans at 3/4 time will find that 90 out of 100 fans are worrying we will lose.  I have invented a suitably long and complex medical term for this:  Hyper Traumatised Long Suffering Richmond Fan Live Match Status Hyper Anxiety Syndrome, (or HTLSRFLMSHA Syndrome).  This is a fairly complex syndrome, and hard to treat.  Many of the Tiger faithful have been suffering from this since about 5pm on the last Saturday in September in 1980 - that is, for more than 3 decades.

And so it is with wide-eyed wonder that I've been trying to imagine how far in front of the Demons we will need to be at 3/4 time this week in order to lessen the expression of HTLSRFLMSHA Syndrome.  On a small sample of 10 Tiger fans close to me, I tested 5 goal, 10 goal, and 15 goal 3/4 time leads. The results were nothing short of remarkable.  

The mere mention of being only 5 goals up at 3/4 time against the Demons this week sent 3 of my sample group straight to hospital for emergency psychiatric treatment, while the other 7 experienced severe paroxysms of terror, for which they felt Damien Hardwick would personally have to compensate them.  

The mention of a 10 goal 3/4 time margin against the hapless Dees had the entire sample group rummaging desperately through their messed up home first aid kits for sedative medicines, as they prepared to put their membership cards in the microwave. 

At a 15 goal 3/4 time margin, 8 of the 10 in the sample group felt calm enough to admit we may well be a chance for the four points, so long as everyone bloody well mans up in the last quarter for once, and if Ty Vickery stands on the defensive goal line for the entire quarter.  But most remarkably, the remaining 2 sample fans showed symptoms of the slightly rarer form of the even more complex HTLSRFLMS Super Hyper Anxiety Syndrome.  Super Hyper Anxiety Syndrome happened for these 2 fans because being in front by 15 goals at 3/4 time only meant that the embarrassment and shame of eventually losing despite having had a 15 goal lead would be so much greater.  As you can imagine, I have since had to send these two fans off to an isolation ward in a faraway place in order to protect the club from them, and them from themselves.

Yes indeed, we are an anxious bunch we Tiger fans.  There are some well known reasons for that no doubt.  Emotionally, every game's a hard game for us, even when we play imploding clubs like Melbourne.  Yet, let's be realistic.  Though nothing is a given in modern AFL, the 2013 Tigers are a good side in the process of becoming great.  Melbourne is a poor side in the process of finding a graveyard big enough to bury itself in.  I'm taking a very positive psychology into tomorrow's game.  We have to execute our game plan, but if we execute our game plan we will win comfortably.  

However, just in case, JUST IN CASE, if during this week's game you feel either the common strain or the slightly rarer strain of the syndrome coming on, tweet me.  You'll know I'm waiting for you when you see me switch to Tigerholics Anon.  I'll do my best to help you face your demons.

Eat them alive Tigers, Eat them alive.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulhoworth