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37 years is a long time: Is Richmond’s wait for glory finally over?
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The year is 1980.

Malcolm Fraser is Australia’s Prime Minister, Evonne Cawley wins her second Wimbledon title, Ted Bullpit makes his television debut in “Kingswood Country” and Split Enz tops the charts with “I got you”.

1980 also sees the Richmond Football club win the VFL Premiership.

They’re yet to win one since.

37 years on, the Tigers are better placed than ever before to break that drought and in a finals series bereft of Victorian representation, Richmond has become the sentimental favourite.

Geelong and Essendon will also figure in the finals, but it’s the Tigers who are attracting the bulk of the attention.

Mick Malthouse is very much on board the Richmond bandwagon.

He was a member of the Tiger team to demolish Collingwood at the MCG back in 1980 and would like nothing better than to pass the premiership baton on to the class of 2017.

“It’s great for the Tigers, great for their supporters, great or the football club, great for those who believed in the system that they had there and stuck with it” Malthouse said.

The Tigers will begin their finals campaign against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night in front of an expected crowd of more than 95,000.

It’ll be a blockbuster in every sense.

The Cats will go in as slight favourites… but history could be the biggest obstacle facing Richmond.

The simple fact is this: The Tigers haven’t won a final since defeating Carlton in the 2001 semi-final.

For coach Damien Hardwick, that means in three finals campaigns he’s yet to chalk up a win.

Malthouse admits it’s a record that could be playing on his mind.

“I think it will hang over Damien for a while because he’s had the side in the finals and they haven’t won a game… he won’t lose sleep over it, he won’t be thinking of it as they run down the race but I guess there’s a little nagging thing there at some stage you’d be thinking ‘it’d be handy to win one’” Malthouse said.

There’s no doubting Hardwick has the personnel to secure that elusive September win.

The newly re-signed Dustin Martin will be doing his utmost to warrant his multi million dollar deal.

Mind you, such is Martin’s natural talent, he could be playing for nothing and still dominate.

Defender Alex Rance is another of Richmond’s X- factors.

Named All-Australian captain last week, Rance is clearly up and about… but he was down on form back in round 21 when these sides met, soundly beaten by Harry Taylor.

The clubs will tell us they’re taking it “one week at a time”, but it’s hard not to consider that ‘what ifs”.

What if Richmond defeats Geelong and slips straight through to a preliminary final?

What if Richmond wins that and suddenly finds itself in the Grand Final?

What if Richmond then….?

No, that might be getting too far ahead of ourselves.

But few could deny Tiger fans the right to dream, the right to ponder another Premiership.

37 years is a long time.

A long time to be tormented.

Maybe Tiger fans can draw some inspiration from another event of 1980.

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