They coalesced at Stewart Street as the euphoric legions sang their “yellow and black” marching song up and down the queues. Good luck to the few bewildered travellers trying to move against the tide.
Footballs flung in and out of the mass and groups of drunken revellers howled from apartment balconies.
A passing Metro Train honked a surprising likeness to the opening beats of the Tiger Land lyrics.
It wasn’t long before a man made his way onto an awning, leading the whooping crowd in yet another rendition of song.
Another man climbed up, holding a burning poster of Greater Western Sydney player Toby Greene aloft, before climbing down to be met by police.
Officers grabbed another man who set off flares on the crowd-filled road, near the corner of Lennox Street.
This army was thirsty, and lines for the bars on Swan Street stretched around corners.
At BWS and Liquorland, it was more a waiting mass than a waiting line.
A sign greeting those at Swan Street warned this was an “alcohol free zone”, an attempt by police to make sure there was no repeat of the drunken and out-of-control street party of 2017.
Two years before, when the Richmond heartland erupted in celebration at the Tigers’ first premiership win in 37 years, the police were caught unawares by the size and fervour of the crowd.
This time they came prepared and in greater numbers, but were still relatively lenient towards the largely good-natured revellers around them.
Charlie, who asked his last name not be used, had stashed a secret slab of VB down a side street and was drinking untroubled with his mates.
“You can’t even describe it,” he said of the Swan Street atmosphere. “It’s exuberant. It’s probably not as big as 2017 but this is great.”
Zach is a reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at email@example.com