In a city with no team, there are bands of football supporters coming together to cheer their sides to victory in the nation’s capital.
The Capital Tigers and Swans ACT supporter groups are among a growing number of Aussie Rules crowds in Canberra.
Darren Crick is a vital cog in the Capital Tigers machine, with his work establishing a launching pad for Richmond fans in the area to gather.
“We started to form at the end of 2012. I approached the Richmond Football Club about starting a group. All the groups that Richmond have are all official groups, and they get some support from the club.
We had a club representative come here in early 2013 when we had the meeting, and we raised the group there.”
An avid Tigers fan, Crick grew up watching his dad play on Saturday afternoons for the Gormandale Tigers in the North Gippsland Football League.
He says the group is striving to recruit more members, because the figures show they are out there.
“At the moment, you’re looking at about 159 [Capital Tigers members]. There’s actually 700 financial Richmond supporters within an hour of the ACT.
We definitely need to drag in more of those financial members of the club. It would be nice to see a few more.”
As for the Richmond game day experience, they don’t come much better than with the Capital Tigers.
“We regularly get together at the Hellenic Club in the City. We’ll do that for games that are during the day on the weekend.
We also usually jump on the bus and go to Sydney games as well. We hire a bus and a group of us go up to Sydney. Last year we started going down to watch games at the MCG.”
The last time the Capital Tigers crew ventured to Sydney, a chance meeting with the Swans ACT Supporter Group took place, with Darren Crick running in to Pat Mclindin – the Swans ACT coordinator.
“The two busses were actually parked side by side after the game. That was just luck. So we actually managed to meet there. They’re just as dedicated as we are.”
The dedication is evident when you see that the Swans ACT group actually sponsor the lockers of two senior players in Jarrad McVeigh and Buddy Franklin.
“We are very proud to be involved with the club in this way,” said Mclindin.
Operating since 2006, the Swans ACT supporter group have had varying numbers, but the amount of support is unwavering.
“Our first couple of years we had about 160, but it dropped to 140 for a few years. This year we’re lower again, but it usually picks up by the end of the season. We’ve got about 115 at the moment.”
“I think we’ve got seven bus trips to Sydney this year. The last one we can’t say when that is because that’s in Round 23.
“We have functions to watch the games together. We’ve got five of those this year. We go to the Southern Cross Club. We watch it on the big screen, we have raffles, lucky door prizes and competitions like ‘the first goal kicked’ and ‘pick the margin’.”
“There is a lot of support in Canberra. We get heaps of people here at the games. Everybody is very dedicated.
“We’ve got lots of old South Melbourne people here as well – people who were born in South Melbourne.”
The Swans ACT group also host Canberra Cats members on their bus trips to Sydney when Geelong come to town, with Mclindin labelling it a great relationship.
“I think we all should be in it together to support AFL in Canberra.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of a supporter group in Canberra, see the websites below for more information:
Capital Tigers (Richmond Tigers)
Swans ACT (Sydney Swans)
Canberra Cats (Geelong Cats)
Canberra Hawks (Hawthorn Hawks)
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR AFL CANBERRA