Jack Riewoldt and a beaming chief executive Brendan Gale enjoy the spoils of success. Picture: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
Jack Riewoldt and a beaming chief executive Brendan Gale enjoy the spoils of success. Picture: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

The Tackle: Inside Richmond’s black and yellow euphoria

Winning rooms are a big family gathering.

There's an order amid the madness, though.

First the song.

 

 

Skipper Trent Cotchin leads the players in hoisting up the cup with both arms, like a scene from The Lion King.

The murmur in the crowd elevates to a roar as first Cotchin appears then the rest of the team files in behind him.

Mums and dads sneak a quick hug, but the circle beckons.

Dion Prestia is the last player into the rooms. Way last.

Jack Riewoldt hoists the cup aloft on the Richmond rooms. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Jack Riewoldt hoists the cup aloft on the Richmond rooms. Picture: Alex Coppel.

"Where's Dion?'' Jack Riewoldt bellows from the circle.

Waiting …

Still waiting …

Then Prestia bounds through the door, through the crowd and joins the throng of players.

The MCG rooms are a cavernous concrete and brick space and the song bounces around the walls.

Hundreds of people join in singing the famous old song.

When yellow and black is delivered at the end, the walls are positively vibrating.

Then it's pandemonium.

Beers, girlfriends and families are sought out, not necessarily in that order.

Kathy, Dustin Martin's mum, and Lois, his grandmother, are in what could fairly be described as a football mosh pit.

Before the players had reached the rooms, Kath, Lois and Dusty's manager, Ralph Carr, enjoyed 10 minutes of ­quiet reflection.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin arrives to rapturous applause with the premiership trophy. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin arrives to rapturous applause with the premiership trophy. Picture: Alex Coppel.

"There's not a word in the dictionary that describes what I'm feeling right now,'' Kathy told the Herald Sun.

"My heart feels like it's … (she puts her hand to heart and expands them).''

Martin's now a two-time Norm Smith medallist.

"It's amazing, I'm just so proud,'' she said.

Lois said she was crook, but that was never going to stop her being there.

"I come to nearly all his games,'' she said.

She said he had been crying. And that Kathy had cried in the grandstand. So had Ralph.

The night before, Carr sat on the balcony of Martin's Port Melbourne pad.

"He was really calm,'' Carr said of Dusty.

Richmond players belted out their song with hundreds of family, friends and supporters. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Richmond players belted out their song with hundreds of family, friends and supporters. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

"He only talked about the team. He only ever talks about the team.''

Lois noted that as soon as Dusty won the Norm Smith Medal he tucked it under his jumper.

"It's never about him,'' she said.

The Martins gathered for a photo - Kathy, Lois, Dusty and brothers Bronson and Tyson.

"You should see them when he does something special,'' Kathy said.

"They're so passionate.''

She recalled how the boys used to kick the footy in the backyard as they grew up in Castlemaine.

Of course, Dusty's dad Shane wasn't there.

He's in New Zealand. He is not allowed in this country.

On the ground, Dusty had not forgotten him in an interview he gave Matthew Richardson.

"I want to say g'day to Dad in New Zealand, love you, mate,'' he said.

Love, meanwhile, enveloped the Richmond rooms.

Nathan Broad's mum Terry revealed she was worried after her son was concussed the week before in the preliminary final.

"I spoke to him last Saturday morning, he was still a bit vague, he couldn't remember much … scary times,'' she said.

Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin with his grandmother Lois Knight, mum Kathy and brothers Bronson and Tyson. Picture: Michael Klein.
Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin with his grandmother Lois Knight, mum Kathy and brothers Bronson and Tyson. Picture: Michael Klein.

Broad mainly played on Harry Himmelberg. He had 13 touches and Himmelberg had 12 and kicked a goal.

Two years ago when Richmond won its first flag since 1980, Broad made big headlines - two days after the game.

You might remember; there was a photo of a medal and a young woman that went viral.

There will be no repeat this time.

"We're going to take the phone off him and his medal, then we'll be safe … I think,'' Terry quipped.

Liam Baker is now the second-most famous footballer from the community of Lake Grace.

Nathan Fyfe won a second Brownlow Medal, but Baker has one up on him: a premiership medal.

He played a good game. He had 12 touches on an array of Giants, mainly Zac Williams who played more forward (55 per cent) than anticipated.

Baker's big moment came in the third quarter and tells you all you need to know about him as a player.

At 173cm and 69kg, he was poleaxed by Jeremy Cameron, who is 196cm and pushing 100 kegs.

It was an unfortunate hit not malicious. Baker got up.

"That stuff never really worries me,'' mum Karen said.

"He usually bounces up. He's pretty tough, that's how he got here.''

And his performance in game 22 for him?

Jack Riewoldt and a beaming chief executive Brendan Gale enjoy the spoils of success. Picture: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
Jack Riewoldt and a beaming chief executive Brendan Gale enjoy the spoils of success. Picture: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

"I think he was pretty solid," she said. "It was pretty pleasing to not see the ball in his end as much.''

Nancy Ellis, mother of Brandon, is near the entrance when the players dance into the rooms.

Brandon is so caught up in the moment and the noise he doesn't see her.

But that can't wipe the smile off Nancy's face.

It was revealed during the week that Ellis would be leaving the Tigers for the Gold Coast Suns on a ripping deal.

Nancy, though, is giving nothing away.

Was it his last game?

"I don't know,'' she says.

If it was, he went out with a pretty good performance …

"If it was his last game, then he did, yes.''

Do you like the Suns?

"I haven't really paid much attention to them, but I guess it's nice weather up there.''

And with that, she is gone to embrace her son amid the madness.