Boxing gym venue for Tigers board spill

Because it was Richmond – surely still the most tribal club among any of the football codes in the nation – the venue somehow made perfect sense.

A group led by cardiologist and lifelong Tigers fan Martin Hiscock chose the iconic Leo Berry’s Boxing Gym to launch Monday’s proposed spill of the board at an AFL outfit he described as being “35 years into a five-year rebuild”.

This is a club which thrived on an Eat `Em Alive culture through the glory days from 1967-80 which included five premierships.

It then became infamous for sacking coaches almost on a whim as things went south in the 1980s and 1990s.

That bloodthirsty reputation exists to this day, even though recent coaches Danny Frawley and Terry Wallace had five years or more in the top job and current mentor Damien Hardwick has been at the helm since 2010.

The main beef of the Focus on Footy group demanding a spill is that the board have dropped the ball on football matters.

“We all believe the Richmond gameplan has to change,” said Hiscock, seated at a table in front of the ring at the Richmond Boxing Club, with heavy bags hanging from the roof and faded pugilistic pictures adorning the walls.

“In 2013 we had great run and carry, we tackled well, we had numbers at the ball, we had confidence, we were daring – all that has gone.

“The board is responsible for the football department – everything stops at the board level.

“The buck stops at the top.”

Among the members of Hiscock’s ticket are Bruce Monteath and Bryan Wood, who both played in the club’s most recent flag-winning team in 1980.

They recalled training in years gone by at Leo Berry’s gym in the club’s working-class heartland.

The gym sits wedged between the Richmond town hall – where premiership pennants used to flutter proudly from the roof, back when the Tigers won premierships – and Citizens’ Park, still home of the Richmond junior football club.

Not much further away down Church Street sits St Ignatius’ Church, which can count the Tigers’ greatest-ever player Jack Dyer among its former altar boys.

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine the would-be powerbrokers of any other Australian professional sporting club choosing such a setting to launch their bid for power.

But it was very Richmond.

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