Sport AFL The price of being rusted-on

The price of being rusted-on

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My name is Cheryl and I’m a footy addict.

As I sit in the bright Adelaide Oval sunshine, watching Richmond get flogged in a rare finals appearance after driving nine hours with two teenage girls, I ask myself: is it all worth it?

Cheryl Critchley
The author in good spirits (before the game had started). Photo: Cheryl Critchley

Was it worth $290 for two nights’ in a hotel, $220 in petrol, $94 for tickets, $200 in food and $10 for an AFL Record only to see Port Adelaide win the game in the first quarter with eight goals to one?

And that’s just the tip of the 2014 iceberg. As a Tiger tragic, I’ve parted with thousands to get my family of five to the footy this year.

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Five 11-game memberships with reserved seats and four $125 grand final guarantees (yes, I am mad) cost about $1200. Cheer squad memberships were another $85.

We usually take our own food due to outrageous stadium prices, but you can’t deny 11-, 13- and 15-year-old kids all season so at times paid up to $15 for two buckets of chips, $7-8 for a hot dog and $8.50 for a soggy chicken sandwich.

If we drive, parking is $10 at the MCG and $30 at Etihad. Train tickets are generally $6 each. The AFL Record, an occasional treat, is $5. All up, an average game sets us back $140.

When my husband gives up and stays home (which happens a lot when you follow Richmond) we often need Foxtel, which costs about $1400 a year.

Then there’s the interstate trips. As well as driving to the Adelaide elimination final, I flew to Sydney for the GWS game and then the Round 23 do-or-die Swans clash at ANZ stadium.

Booking ahead can save big bucks and I paid just $58 return for both trips. But the GWS trip cost $174 as my two daughters came. Public transport, food and entry added another $200+.

Being flogged in hostile enemy territory with a nine-hour drive home is a fate worse than death.

Like many budget-conscious fans, we stayed with Sydney relatives so only had one night’s hotel bill ($95) between both trips, but spent $280 on a hire car and $75 each trip on airport parking.

Oh, and there’s also $215 for the Richmond best and fairest night, which I’m attending with friends.

Cheryl Critchley
At least the view was nice at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, although the scoreboard was an eyesore for Tigers’ fans. Photo: Cheryl Critchley

As a family we probably parted with more than $4000 to follow our team this year. And that’s minus merchandise, as we didn’t need new jumpers at $100+ a pop.

Was it worth it?

If you asked me during the Port belting, just as a feral Power fan ran down to taunt the Richmond cheer squad, I’d have to say no. Being flogged in hostile enemy territory with a nine-hour drive home is a fate worse than death.

But if you’d asked me a week earlier, when my cousin Kate and I embraced after our team hung on to beat Sydney by three points and scrape into the finals, the answer would be a resounding “hell yeah!”

Thousands of Richmond fans made that trip and most paid about $230 return to fly at short notice to see if we could beat the Swans and play consecutive finals series for the first time since 1975.

No matter how far you’ve come or how many losses have come before, when your team has a win like that, it’s worth every cent.

Go Tigers!

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