The AFL are poised to next week consider the prospect of making Richmond wear a clash jumper in the grand final if they qualify to face Adelaide.
The Tigers and the Crows have qualified for home preliminary finals and are in the box seat to play off for the premiership.
It would force the AFL to make a decision about whether to continue a recent trend of making one team wear an alternative guernsey when the two clubs meet. Convention would suggest that Adelaide – as the higher-placed team – would be given priority for wearing their home jumper.
Both this year and in 2015, Richmond wore their predominantly yellow clash jumper featuring a black sash – the inverse of their famous home jumper – in away games against the Crows, whose home jumper contains navy, red and yellow horizontal stripes. In 2016, Adelaide wore their mainly white clash jumper in a match against the Tigers at Etihad Stadium. Not since 2014 have the clubs played a game in which both sides have worn their first-choice jumpers.
Neither the Crows nor Tigers wanted to comment about the possible clash, although AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said the issue would likely be looked at ahead of next weekend’s preliminary finalists.
“I think that’s something for us to get to a bit closer to the game,” Keane said.
“We have some other finals to play first and I imagine we would start thinking those possibilities of match-ups once we know all four preliminary finalists after this weekend.”
Richmond were in 2014 embroiled in a jumper controversy involving Port Adelaide when the Power ended up wearing their “prison bars” Port Adelaide Magpies jumper top avoid a clash in a home elimination final at Adelaide Oval.
The Tigers subsequently unveiled their mainly yellow clash jumper ahead of the 2015 season, and were praised by the Power for doing so.
St Kilda (2010) and Fremantle (2013) both wore predominantly white second-choice jumpers as the lower-ranked side in grand finals against Collingwood and Hawthorn respectively.
Richmond have been reluctant to tempt fate by publicly contemplating a grand final berth in the context of this issue, although club great Kevin Bartlett insisted on his SEN radio program on Wednesday that the Tigers must wear their traditional jumper if they make it to their first decider in 35 years.
“When a side gets to a grand final they should be, and always should wear their traditional jumper, always wear their traditional jumper,” Bartlett said.
“Hopefully the Tigers won’t fall for anything from the AFL. If the AFL says you’ve got to wear the canary jumper – you tell them to get stuffed.
“That is ridiculous, that will not happen. Richmond cannot play in a grand final looking like budgerigars, or canaries.
“If they want to charge us $50,000 who gives a stuff?”
In order for the possible clash to materialise, the Tigers must beat the winner of the Greater Western Sydney-West Coast semi final in an MCG preliminary final on Saturday week, while the Crows will need to overcome whoever progresses from this week’s Geelong-Sydney semi final in an Adelaide Oval preliminary next Friday night.