Distant memories

After a morning chocolate binge, my sister and I stroll down to Southern Cross at dusk. I do not feel confident. Who would after a loss to Port? And it could be argued that last year, Gold Coast were a better side than the Power. I had regretfully witnessed the ’09 Grand Final in the morning; I rued our second-quarter missed chances and, knowing the fate of my hapless saints, angrily switched the TV off at halftime. Why do I let myself go through such torture?

My memories of the 2009 Grand Final are of me in a bar in Paris and a bunch of people wrapped in either Cat or Saint scarves, holding tightly their beer glass. Most talked English with an Australian accent, some talked French, and others were so nervous about the game they couldn’t start conversation; they just kept their eyes fixated on the projector screen. My family and I were on a European trip and we knew of only one place showing the game in Paris: Café Oz. I do not remember much of the game, except for a lot of yelling. With tears running down my ten-year-old cheeks, we left the bar and walked back through the streets of Paris. As my family and I walked past Notre Dame and many other great monuments, tourists and locals alike looked dumbfounded at how a whole family could be looking so glum, so early in the morning (it was but 5.30am when we had to leave on our way to the bar). Though grim memories like that should be dispensed of as quickly as they can be, I have such fond memories of the heartbreak.

Back to 2012 and this Easter Sunday clash. We take our seats with a good view on the third level. Just like the ’09 Grand Final, Gary Jnr. lines up on Clinton Jones (or, just possibly, it was Clinton lining up on Gary), albeit for a new expansion club that has only been playing in the AFL for one season.

After just 20 seconds second gamer Terry Milera slots it; two minutes later Gilbert snaps from close range and I feel good. Stanley marks and splits the middle. I see potential in him. Geary gets thumped and Goddard’s shirt is ripped off; I can tell my sister feels satisfied about the latter. Rooey gets back-to-back majors and we are on fire while the Suns are ice cold, although a spark is provided by Ablett, who takes a towering mark. 5 goals to nil in the opening term and the uncertainty has been extinguished.

Kosi marks in the goalsquare early in the second stanza and we continue in our blaze of goals. After 2 video referrals, both looking like goals but deemed points; and 2 Milne misses, frustration brews in me, and many Saints supporters around me. Gold Coast get their first through Russell and the blaze dies. They even produce a flame of their own when Bennell handpasses over the top to Hickey, who gets it from a meagre yard out and, after Milera’s second goal, Geary gets one from the same distance. I rue the missed opportunities, though at the half, it’s the Saints by seven goals.

Milney and Matera snap early third quarter goals. Armitage marks and converts and Ablett bombs it through from 55 out, providing a highlight. He must have been inspired after his dad had a word to him at half-time. But the saints aren’t fazed as Milne handpasses to Riewoldt, who converts off one step. The tiprat provides his second goal by bouncing it through, before being subbed off with no apparent injuries. He was on fire. Why, oh why, oh why did they sub him off?
Cripps gets a nice goal from a set shot. Campbell Brown answers by getting two back for the Suns, but Goddard replies with his first and Jack Steven curls it through to put us ten goals up just seconds before the siren blares.

Going into the last quarter and with 7 goals needed for the Saints to snatch a 100-point win, it is fair to say the chances are bleak. But there is hope. Armitage converts easily for his second. Despite a grubber kick by Fisher, Stanley still manages to regain composure and snap a quick goal before Rooey gets his fourth.  Clinton bounces it through in heavy congestion and after McEvoy’s first major, Kosi boots a set shot through to put us just 2 points away from what I want: a good 1-hundred point flogging. With 5 minutes left in the match, it seems very possible. But it just wasn’t meant to be as Ablett goaled to make the final margin 92 points. A Saints supporter is always in a good frame of mind when their team has just scored 21 goals.

My sister and I leave satisfied after the painful 6-month drought of live footy, and what a match to attend to end that drought. The Port Adelaide match, as well as the ’09 Grannie, are distant memories, and they shall hopefully remain so.

My votes would go to Ablett, who booted two goals, took a great specky reminiscent of his dad’s enchanting hangers, and got 40 touches. Not saying that Clinton, his solitary tagger, played badly, Gary was just too good; no-one could have stopped him. Just two years ago Gary was a cog in a team that could still win a premiership without him; this year Gary is the one player without whom Gold Coast couldn’t function.

When watching the game’s highlights reel after the match, I found out that Gold Coast had not won one match at Etihad Stadium. I guess the sun just can’t shine through when there’s a roof blocking you.

Comments

  1. Hi again Joseph, good story, especially about the misery in 2009 and being in Paris. How can you concentrate on French culture and history when you were in shock and grieving. Hopefully, you will be well and truly around for the next St.Kilda cup!

    Yvette

  2. Lord Bogan says:

    Terrific story Joseph. The Saints are on the right track and playing some exciting footy. I think they will get a win against Sydney this week. Great work.

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