GALLERY: Ocean of yellow and black flows into town

THEY’RE something else, those Richmond fans.

Hundreds of the Tigers’ loyal army converged on Reid Oval yesterday afternoon to get a glimpse of their favourite players in the flesh.

Nearly every member of the Richmond list was at the Cramer Street ground to run a super clinic as part of the Tigers’ AFL community camp.

The spectacle temporarily turned Warrnambool — traditional Geelong heartland — into a sea of yellow and black.

Scarves and jumpers — many with Dustin Martin’s number four on the back — were common, as were cameras and smartphones to record the day.

Most of the fans were budding youngsters taking part in the clinics, honing their skills under the guidance of their football idols.

But others such as Port Fairy’s Alicia Drew, a 27-year-old football junkie and lifelong Richmond supporter, were there for the players.

Drew, the coach of the Western Rebels’ youth girls’ football program, said the AFL club coming to Warrnambool was “awesome, amazing, emotional”.

“I love it,” she said of being a Richmond supporter.

‘‘It’s disheartening at times but there’s nothing bad about it. I love the stick that people give you when you say you’re a Richmond fan. 

“(They say) ‘you’re not, are you’.”

Drew said she still got nervous watching Richmond in action — a consequence of her beloved Tigers coming so close to success over the years.

They reached the elimination final in 2013 after finishing fifth. 

But that came after missing finals the previous 11 seasons, finishing ninth twice.

“There’s no-one like a Richmond supporter,” Drew said.

‘‘The unwavering loyalty isn’t something you see at a lot of clubs.

Also among the crowd was Warrnambool’s Grant Howland, another long-time Richmond supporter.

Howland said the Tigers’ visit to Warrnambool coincided with a group of fans trying to establish a south-west Tigers’ supporter group.

He attended a fans’ function at Reid Oval last night with the hope of having a committee in place before the night was out.

“We feel there are probably upwards of 300 Richmond members and supporters in the district,” he said.

“We’d like to run two or three local functions, a family day and a sportsman’s night, and one or two bus trips down to Melbourne as well.”

Howland said the concept had the support of Richmond officials. 

Similar supporters’ groups exist in Mildura, Ballarat and Geelong.

“Hopefully with an improved showing from the Tigers last year there will be a few supporters emerge from the woodwork,” he said.

But the fan of the day award, if there was one, belonged to Warrnambool teenager Caitlin Kavanagh.

Caitlin, 14, watched the clinic from the sidelines with her Richmond-mad family — parents Paul and Cindy and sister Erin, 12.

When asked who her favourite player was, her answer was instant: “Dustin Martin”.

“He’s my husband,” she said while pulling her smartphone from her pocket.  “This is our wedding photo”.

They’re something else, those Richmond fans.

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