Thousands of success-starved Richmond fans have packed out the club’s historic training ground on the eve of the club’s first AFL Grand Final in over three decades.
Security was forced to close the gates on Friday at Punt Road Oval adjacent to the MCG as a sea of yellow-and-black clad fans watched the Tigers’ last training session before the decider.
The Tigers started training at 9.45am and just 45 minutes later, the gates were already being locked at the club’s spiritual home.
From chest tattoos to painted faces and vintage scarfs, the loyal fans proudly showed their colours as the city enjoyed a public holiday to mark the occasion.
Fans have flocked to Richmond’s spiritual homeland on the eve of the club’s first AFL Grand Final in over three decades
Melbourne’s Punt Road Oval was a sea of yellow and black on Friday as thousands packed out the ground for the Tigers’ last training session before the decider
Thousands of Tigers fan line up during the training session at Punt Road Oval on Friday morning
Tigers fans show their tattoos of support for their beloved club, who face Adelaide in the Grand Final on Saturday
They cheered with a sort of glee that, for many in the crowd, had been a foreign feeling up until this grand-final week, belting out the club song with gusto.
The locked-out masses spilled into Yarra Park, sneaking a glimpse from behind the fence while peering over Portaloos.
Players signed autographs and posed for selfies after the session, while Jack Riewoldt and others practised their goal-kicking as teammates started leaving the track.
After training, the Tiger Army made the short stroll into the city for the official Grand Final Parade, which kicks off at midday.
The parade, which has been part of the game since 1977, ends at the AFL Grand Final Live Site on Spring Street where Adelaide and Richmond players will be presented onstage and the captains will raise the premiership cup.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has picked Richmond to win the flag by less than a kick on Saturday.
There were plenty of tattoos on display as the proud club looks to win its first premiership in 35 years
The Tiger Army will move to the city for the official Grand Final Parade, which kicks off at midday
The loyalist of fans proudly showed their colours as the city enjoyed a public holiday to mark the occasion
Richmond hero and new Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin takes a mark during the session
‘All of you here have forgotten more about AFL than I have ever learnt. I say this with modesty and humility, based on my advice… I would say Richmond by five,’ Mr Turnbull told the Nine Network.
Mr Turnbull also promised a strong security presence at both the AFL and NRL grand finals.
‘We always try to make the security as unobtrusive as possible but people will notice more security,’ he said.
Richmond’s last grand final appearance was back in 1982 and their last premiership was in 1980.
They will go in as underdogs when they face the Adelaide Crows at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Many fans were forced to watch from outside the fence during packed out training session
Richmond’s last grand final appearance was back in 1982 and their last premiership was in 1980
The tribe has spoken: Richmond Tigers’ fans proudly wave their colours ahead of the decider
The Tigers will go in as underdogs when they face the Adelaide Crows at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon