By Luke Voogt
Samantha Chivers received an ultimatum from partner and Demons fanatic Justin Pitcher at a Melbourne-Richmond game in 2015, a few months after they started dating.
She had just begun singing the Richmond theme as the Tigers took the field, she remembered.
“I got told if I continued to sing the Richmond song, I’d be walking home from the MCG alone,” she laughed.
“So I quickly Googled the Melbourne theme song to learn that.
“The deal was, ‘if you want to go out with me, you’ve got to support the Demons’.
“I didn’t really follow footy – I didn’t grow up with AFL and my dad played rugby – and red and blue looks good, so no worries.”
The Demons won the Anzac eve clash by 32 points, and The Grand Old Flag is now a favourite for their three-year-old daughter Phoebe, who has belted out the tune quite often this year.
“She’ll just burst out into the Demons song where ever,” Samantha said.
“We’re definitely Demons-orientated in this household.”
Justin confirmed Samantha’s allegiance was “not up for negotiation”.
“Hell no,” he laughed.
He knows all too well the suffering of being a Demons supporter, after barracking for the club since 1990.
Melbourne last won the premiership in 1964, the longest current drought in the VFL/AFL.
“It’s been very painful, copping thrashings along the way,” the Lovely Banks local said.
“Every time we scored was an achievement at one stage.”
At age eight Justin played Auskick, ironically, at the Corio Devils where the kids were split up into four AFL sides.
He just happened to be on the ‘Melbourne Demons’ team, which led to him embracing the red and the blue.
His twin daughters Maya and Ella and stepson Locky are all passionate Demons supporters.
“They didn’t really have a choice,” he said.
Justin reckons he has been to “90 per cent” of their games, including plenty interstate, over the past two decades.
“Until COVID hit,” he said.
With the AFL moving the grand final to Perth and interstate travel off limits due to Victoria’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, the family will watch excitedly from their living room instead.
“It should be a good game,” Justin said.