ANYONE walking past McIvor Meats in the past week would have been left in no doubt as to who butcher Steve Shaddock was cheering for in Saturday’s AFL grand final.
Mr Shaddock’s shop was immersed in the yellow and black of Richmond as the team sought to end a 37-year premiership drought against the Adelaide Crows.
The Tigers won the match in emphatic fashion and the Heathcote butcher was just one of many long suffering fans breathing a big sigh of relief after the result.
Mr Shaddock put up the decorations in his shop on Monday afternoon of last week after Richmond had booked its spot in the grand final with a preliminary final victory over Greater Western Sydney.
With the premiership in the bag, Mr Shaddock was content to start taking down the decorations on the Monday of this week.
‘‘I don’t want to rub salt in the wound,’’ he said, although he could be forgiven for leaving the paraphanelia up a little bit longer considering how long it had been between Richmond flags.
At 56, Mr Shaddock can remember the Tigers last flag before Saturday in 1980 and even the successes of 1973 and 1974.
‘‘I can remember the old man coming home from the grand finals in 1967 and 1969 with the posters out of The Herald,’’ Mr Shaddock said.
The butcher even had an omen of things to come.
The Saturday morning after Richmond had defeated Geelong in the qualifying final, Mr Shaddock had opened up the door of his shop to let some fresh air through.
He was taken some rubbish outside and when he turned around he saw a crow sitting on the parcel shelf.
‘‘The crow flew off and straight into the window. He then picked himself up and walked out the door.’’
It was enough to convince Mr Shaddock the time was right for this crop of Richmond players to end the club’s drought.
‘‘It’s been a long time coming,’’ Mr Shaddock said.
‘‘I had belief in this group of players. I wasn’t sure if (coach Damien) Hardwick was the right man to lead them but it turned out he was.
‘‘The guys we picked up this year like Josh Caddy, Dion Presita and Toby Nankervis polished the group off nicely.
‘‘I thought Bachar Houli would win the Norm Smith Medal but he had a lot of possessions out in the open. Dusty Martin, he’s just a gun.’’
Mr Shaddock watched the grand final at a mate’s place.
‘‘There were 15 of us at Tooboorac.
‘‘I was confident going in. I thought they could actually do it. I thought at the end of the second quarter and into the third that ‘we’ve got this’.’’
When the Richmond had shot out to an unassailable lead in the final term, it was a huge sense of relief for Mr Shaddock.
‘‘The beers started going down a lot easier then,’’ he said.
He said celebrations went well into the next morning and Sunday afternoon at Pyalong Hotel where he watched the grand final replay.
‘‘I’m just starting to get clear eyes now,’’ he said on Monday.