Anyway the decision for me was a relatively straightforward one having studied the 17 teams, of which 12 are based in Melbourne. There is a team of perennial underachievers who finished bottom but one in the league last year, play in black and gold, are nicknamed the Tigers and have a badge very similar to that of the proper tigers (Hull City). Job done - Richmond it is.
The season starts at the end of March and as luck would have it the opening game of the entire season was RIchmond against Carlton at the MCG on a Thursday night. What to say about the night - there were just over 60,000 fans there; you can buy beer and take it to your seat; the game lasts about 2 and a half hours from first bounce to final hooter; if the ball hits the floor it becomes something of a pile-on (which as a general rule I have no problem with); the pitch is absolutely huge; and I am yet to be convinced of the split between genuine skill and the bounce of an oval ball in determining the outcome of the game.
The outcome of this one - Richmond were battered in the first quarter but fought back bravely to have a 15 point lead going into the final quarter. In true Tigers style they managed to score no points at all in the final quarter to lose by 20.
I think it is going to be a long season.
Minda has decided to support Collingwood who won the title last year. I am led to believe this is like arriving in the UK and declaring yourself a die-hard Man Utd fan but she insists she has followed my logic in selecting the Magpies with its black and white strip as her team (glory-hunter!).
Practice on Friday afternoon I could hear from the office, practice on qualifying on Saturday I could hear from the apartment and from the pub by the river and when actually at the race itself, had it not been for a natty pair of earplugs (see photo) I think I could easily have done some permanent damage to my ears.
Given that it was our first year we decided to buy just general admission ground passes for race day and given that we are not great racing fans we didn't turn up ridiculously early arriving at about 2.30 for a 5pm race. A couple of colleagues who are racing fans had staked their claim to a spot at 11am.
Our arrival time limited the available viewing points but we were able to secure a spot about 5 people back from the from just after turn 2 of the circuit and only a short walk from the beer tent. It is amazing the sound of a car can have on race goers. Everyone is happily sitting around reading papers, drinking beer and chatting until the vaguest hint of an engine at which point the entire crowd rises as one and waits for the car.
Not that you get to see a great deal to be fair, particularly if you are on a bit of a straight as we were. As you might expect, the cars move pretty quickly!. Interesting though about half way through the race people started to disperse or look for other viewing areas and the crowds thinned out. This meant that you could wander down to the barrier and watch the cars flying past no more that 10 yards in front of you.
Anyway it was not the most exciting of races and Vettel lead from start to finish. At the end of the race we performed the obligatory track invasion and wandered down the main straight to the start/finish line. We then managed to get a bit lost walking through the site and inadvertently arrived at the entrance to a VIP party where we saw - and I'll leave it to you to decide which is more exciting - Ron Dennis and Leo Sayer.
All in all though it was certainly worth experiencing the noise and seeing how fast the cars actually do travel. The speed does make it quite tricky to get a good photo with anything approaching a normal camera so the below Force India shot was about the best I managed to get.
So defeat for the Tigers was followed by victory by a (Red) Bull.