AFLM: Round 13 – North Melbourne v St Kilda: Their team didn’t do very well Friday night

Friday 16th June

7.50 pm Etihad Stadium

 

Yvette Wroby

 

 

The Williamstown Literary Festival dominated my weekend. Due to speak 10.30 on Saturday morning, with a Friday night game, I decided to be a tourist in my own city and stay for an extended weekend. This meant finding my closest station in quaint, groovy and trendy Williamstown, (Williamstown Beach) and training in from the western suburbs of Melbourne to the game. In a suburb dominated with Doggies supporters and windows still having the jumper and premiership poster on show, I have been an oddity walking everywhere in my Saints gear.

 

Once settled in my hotel room in the afternoon, I was off for the game, meeting cousin Gary after passing through suburbs of Newport, Spotswood, Yarraville and Seddon. Then I came upon suburbs I passed when going to Whitten Oval to watch the AFLW games with sister Denise.

 

 

Having found each other, and having found dinner, we headed up to the Moorabbin Wing, this week situated upon Level 3, Aisle 11. Familiar faces abound. As did stories. I met Lori who is an Angel. She told me again how nice it was cooking for the boys in what has become a too small kitchen at Seaford. Lori heard me on her car radio talking with Adam Cooney and Francis Leach this very afternoon SEN about supplying my beloved Saints with chicken soup to power them onwards and upwards (and plugging Siren’s Call), and I pondered if I could take a huge container down to the club.

 

This undersized kitchen feeds not just players but staff can buy their food there as well. What pricked up my ears and started me recording Lori was her descriptions of the dilapidated kitchenette they had used at Moorabbin, a small dank space underneath the bowels of the Huggins Stand. The then dietician Lisa said the boys needed healthy food (what they eat at home was up to them) so it started that three days a week the Angels would help making food. They’d get some bowls of salad ready and some chicken and the players would come and make it up themselves. On some days, especially in winter, the Angels would make soup to warm them up. Very simple. Just for players. This was extended at Seafood, and it grew as the staff and the coaches needed feeding as well. Now Lori and the Angels feed 90 people, and shifts are from 9.30 to 3pm. There will be two kitchens back in Moorabbin.  “The players really appreciate it,” Lori said, “They are so lovely. Love them all. Nathan Freeman said to me, ‘You do it for love, don’t you?’ and he was right.”

 

Her husband Eddie is such a mad Sainter that he cannot come to games or watch anymore, Lori must give him the thumbs up to a winning game and he can then watch the replay. Lori’s own family are from the bayside area, natural Saints supporters.

 

What a journey the Saints have had, and those who tag along for the ride.  From outsiders at Junction Oval, to a fresh start at Moorabbin, to have that place age and fall apart and plans for renovations be rejected at Council, to going onwards to Seaford.  It was great for the City of Frankston and for the small suburb of Seaford, and any Saints who lived in that direction and the amenities and training facilities were finally professional, but our heartland and hearts were aching watching Moorabbin fall to bits. And the Saints staff, and players, have outgrown Seaford.  It’s just not big enough for everything that is being done.

 

Thankfully, the old parts of Moorabbin are now dust and building has begun, with plans for the Saints, both men and women footballers and staff, to be HOME mid-2018. And Moorabbin is home to our Premiership, our souls and it feels right to be at that hallowed earth soon. On top of that, a bit of my dad is scattered out on the ground.  Long pressed down into the elements, he and probably others are part of the earth under the feet of any who still trod the ground.

 

Talking to Lori up there on Level 3, listening to another long-time Saints supporter reminisce, felt a great way to start a game I was not confident about. North Melbourne usually beat us, in the last few years they have known how to shut us down.  And they started 2017 with some good wins.

 

 

But we were close to the footy gods this night and they were listening to our yearnings. But not with the first goal. Jarrad Waite started the scoring moments after the Saints stuffed up a forward thrust. But then it became the Josh (Bruce) and Jack (Billings) show. Our young men had the spirit of Moorabbin (wins) with the – Josh, Jack, Dylan Roberton and Blake Acres made the Moorabbin Winger Steve Cress get up out of his seat and lead us in cheering. Billings got another before Ryan Clarke scored Norths second. They’d missed 5 shots, and lucky for us, we missed only 3.

 

Even better for shocked Saints fans (and I’m sure Norths even more so), North only got one behind in the second quarter. Our defence was working so well, and if not for our own inaccuracy, we would have been so much further ahead. As it was, Billings had a goal turned to a point, before Tim Membrey had some luck and Jack Steven kick a happy two. At half time, Saints were 6 goals ahead. The Moorabbin Wing, a place that tries to recreate the intense fan noise and gathering of the old Moorabbin wing back in the days before Waverly, were rocking and rolling.

 

My guest this week were Travis and Kim and Kim’s Mum Marie. Uncle Bob and Betty are in sunny Queensland for a break and so together today’s grouping celebrated as only Saints fans can. We watched with bemusement as North Melbourne stepped up their defence. And we let them. Ryan Clark and Todd Goldstein goaled and missed three, Jack Sinclair answered back while we missed 7 opportunities to close this game out. Seven misses, and it had the fans worrying again.

 

We let North improve the score-line in the last. Membrey got his second before Jack Ziebell goaled. We hit back through Josh Bruce, but we let Aaron Mullet and Nathan Hrovat goal. Jade Gresham steals a game but we let three late goals by Mason Wood, Ben Brown and Kayne Turner flatter the Roos bottom line, and eat into our percentage.

 

Goal kicking has become an issue all around the league: Jade Gresham 3, Nick Riewoldt 4, Tim Membrey 2 and Mav Weller seems a shell of his former self with 2.

 

Nevertheless, Travis, Kim, Marie, Gary and I could sing the song, clap our boys off the field, and enjoy that post game moment when our anthem rings out.

 

On top of that, the next morning’s Williamstown Literary Festival ‘Living Footy’ with John Harms and Kerrie Soraghan was well attended with footy scarves had a Bulldogs flavour.  For the rest of the weekend, I got to talk footy with anyone who pulled me up.

 

One a sunny afternoon, I also gave directions to a traveller, and now have another friend across the seas. A quick coffee and chat and Facebook connects us. Life is good.  Unexpectedly so at times.

 

I enjoyed Almanackers Vin Maskall and Darren ‘Smokie’ Dawson at Stereo Stories Live and to top it off, was joined by John and Marion Butler. Unexpected company, great music, and stories told of a moment in time and the music that accompanied it.

 

After two sessions Sunday morning, another long walk and a quick squiz at the Williamstown Seagulls home game (and win), and at half time there was a team of girls playing themselves and getting on with their lives of future footballers.

 

A footy win, a holiday weekend, writers and music and plenty of walking and for once, the other team didn’t do very well. Go Saints.

About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it’s about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. That’s a pretty accurate take on the game, Yvette. I really wish your Saints didn’t let my Kangas come back in the last quarter. The scoreline really gave a false sense of the game. I hope your Saints can find the consistency needed to reach the finals.

    I am also very glad to hear the Willy Lit Fest session went well.

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