Round 12 – St Kilda v Sydney: ‘I am really depressed,’ he says.

Saturday June 9th, 7.25pm

Etihad/Marvel Stadium

 

For once I listened to the inner voice (my sensible one or my mother’s voice in my head) and decided NOT to go out on Saturday night to a home game and to recover from months of colds/viruses. Be smart, I told myself. You are just recovering, just finishing another bout of antibiotics. Stay home. Be warm. Recover. It’s a cold, cold night.

 

I did.  I think my boys and every other Saints fan wish they had too. In what was a wonderful game for Sydney Swans (or terrific first quarter) that ended the game then and there, Saints dissolved. Luke Parker, Callum Sinclair, Tom McCartin (Paddy McCartin’s younger brother), Sinclair again, Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney, Tom Papley, Franklin, Zak Jones and finally, finally, Josh Battle goaled for the Saints.

 

I had texted Uncle Bob before the game to cheer for me.  His response? ‘So far, not much to cheer about.’ I felt so sorry for Uncle Bob and cousin Gary and the 27,569 who braved the weather and the footy.

 

With the game pretty much over, and the Swans 8 goals ahead at quarter time, it was a matter of bearing up the best we could.

 

It was the Saints v Swans Pride Game.  There were celebrations and inclusions, special broadcasting by JOY FM and rainbow flags and fireworks. It was a night to celebrate openness and welcoming to all at the footy.

 

And it was a thumping.

 

We scored a few in the second (Jack Sinclair and Paddy) and missed 6, while Sydney’s Josh Kennedy, Franklin, Willy Hayward (2 in a row) and Callum Sinclair left us cold and bitter in the Saturday night freezing conditions.

 

Third quarter action had Gary Rohan, Papley, Mav Weller and Rohan again. At least we tightened up in defence.

 

In the last, Franklin, Tim Membrey, Jade Gresham, Parker and Josh Battle goaled. There were 25 behinds spread evenly between teams and Swans won by 71 at full-time.

 

For the first time in forever, I was so glad I wasn’t there. I continue to wear my colours with pride and hang back from radio and newspapers again. The coach is being questioned. The team is being questioned. The proclamations of our President, Peter Summers and the Board, that we’d be in the finals by 2018 and a Premiership by 2020, are being laughed at.

 

On Sunday, I got a text from Almanacker and Saints supporter Jenn. ‘Hey Yvette, how are you feeling after last night’s abysmal game? For me it doesn’t feel any less painful the day after.’

 

I informed her I was in recovery (from the lurgy, not from being a Saints supporter.)

 

‘…You spared yourself much anguish. Seriously, if we can’t beat the Suns next week we’re in dire straits. I reckon Richo very possibly won’t last the season. John Battle was our only real shining light last night. Sigh.’

 

I responded, and it’s now my thing to say, ‘If they get rid of the coach, we should get Peta Searle as coach.  Five-time premiership player, 5-time premiership coach. Good people person and knows how to win. First time I thought the coach needs to go.’

 

My Saints supporting (or suffering) handyman’s first words to me when I came to the door on Monday were, ‘I feel really depressed’. He went on to be despairing as to why we are going so far backwards when our expectations were onward and upwards.

 

Strangers on the street are sympathetic. Two older ladies walking by along North Road beach in Brighton commend my bravery for wearing my scarf. It becomes almost a mark of shame.

 

At the gym, a guy working out with my trainer Ross, Adrian, sees me wrapped up with my scarf, all covered from coming in from the cold. He says, ‘I asked by dad when I was 5 years old who he barracked for, and he said St Kilda, so that’s who I barracked for.’ Adrian must have at least been in his fifties. He is telling us this because he is wondering, as he said, why his father had stuck fat.  It was probably the same reason he has stuck fat all the years since then.  When he finished his workout, he stopped to chat during mine.

 

‘We’re the only team who celebrate not getting a goal. In the 1966 Premiership, Barry Breen missed. But we all think that his point is the best thing ever.’

 

I asked him if he went to games.

 

‘I don’t.  I can’t even watch it anymore.  My wife turns it off because it’s no good for my heart.’

 

Adrian left the gym.  I continued my workout.

 

When Ross had seen me, before Adrian told his story, he said, ‘I feel bad for you.’ And he’s an Essendon supporter. He knows this feeling well.

 

The physio at the gym, my physio Nathan, is a Saints man too.  He came across to chat and, like a lot of supporters, is bewildered as to what is happening. How can we be in this position? What is happening. He is not sure it’s the coaching, maybe it’s the recruitment. Or the fact that not many of our top picks are playing like top picks. He said he and a friend were at the game, and someone had texted, ‘How’s the game going?’. Nathan said they sent a picture back of the two of them with heads bowed, hands covering their face.  I would love to have included THAT photo in this post.

 

Dazed Saints supporters and fans continue their week, looking towards the Gold Coast Suns game. Like Jenn, do we all see this next game as a litmus test? Is it do or die for both teams on Saturday afternoon? There are two people on my mind as I finish up my report.

 

My dear Uncle Bob, and my positive Saints mate Mark.

 

Mark lives on as a legend of supporters for me as the most positive Saints man I know.  His motto, ‘We did it once, one day we will do it again,’ still sustains me, and he is steady in his belief. He asked a mathematician-mate this week whether is was still statistically possible to make the eight. It’s not but I love that he asked.

 

I called Uncle Bob, and finally had a post mortem discussion about this game. We talked all manner of review. And he made me laugh when he said, ‘It’s not the worst I’ve ever seen (in his 67 years as a supporter).  There were years if we won a few games the players would be carried off in celebration.’

 

And he told me that he and Betty were trying to get money out of a newish type ATM post Saturdays game when a lovely woman helped them.  ‘Talk about you being over the top (meaning me and my St Kilda everyday wear). You should have seen her with her red, white and black hand knitted jumper,’ he said. ‘After she helped us, she was telling us she was in the St Kilda Cheer Squad and we told her we were Saints supporters, she said, I need a hug. Both Betty and I gave her a hug.’

 

Almanackers, if you see a St Kilda supporter this week, just give us a hug.  And wish us well against the Suns up in sunny Queensland this weekend.

 

 

 

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. Yvette,
    I really sympathise with you and feel your pain.
    No-one could possibly have imagined that the Saints’ season would turn out like this.
    This week is a huge game for many reasons.

  2. Virtual Hugs to you Yvette.

    If I was to put a metaphorical picture to your piece I would have you wrapped head to toe in red and black and white, trudging through rain, sleet, wind and mud….it would be a monochrome picture with a trail of red and black dye bleeding from your hand knitted jumper soaking into the ground behind you.
    But, to cheer you up I think I should add a tiny patch of blue and the suggestion of light in the top right hand corner.

    It will happen.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    I too feel for you Yvette. Loyalty can be brutal. That first quarter was brutal. I just lay in front of the heater with the cat after that and watched through the motions of the remaining 3. I guess it wasn’t quite so cosy for you Saints folk.

    I think you should commission Kate for that image.

    Hugs.

  4. At least Uncle Bob got you to laugh! What he said was so true: if your team won even one or two games a year, it was treated like a premiership win! I know. I was there in the bad, bad South years – even worse that the Saints way back then.

    Surely your turn will come!!

    Take care
    Jan

  5. John Butler says:

    Yvette, should be quite the blockbuster when the Blues meet the Saints in Rd 17.

    Hunker down. Take your enjoyment where you can.

    And don’t forget to laugh. At some level, all of this is a bit ridiculous. :)

    Cheers

  6. Thanks for sharing this Yvette and for detailing the range of conversations and interactions related to showing your support for your team. It is stories such as these that show how so many of us footy fans do not simply consume footy as some kind of entertainment product, but that it is a part of our lived, everyday reality. We share the good times and the bad and the boring with our club and fellow fans. Websites such as the Almanac provide a wonderful forum for establishing cross-team alliances :)
    I hope the Saints turn their season around and reward their supporters’ dedication.

  7. Yvette Wroby says:

    Thanks you all for your comments. I love the Almanac, it is my happy place and my therapy all rolled up in one. Smokie, every footy fan feels this pain. And yes, we did not see this coming.

    Kate, your image is too close to home, but I find I don’t allow myself to get all droopy and depressed. There’s just so many other interesting, exciting things happening around me. I have been wrapped from head to toe and not metaphorically. I had the St Kilda scarf draped over my face to stop breathing in cold air while out and about. So I do look bazaar at the best of times…if that’s the correct spelling.

    Mathilde, I was playing games on my phone during some of the rest of the game. The first quarter had me mesmerized though, and I have to say, your boys are slick.

    Jan, the laugh from Uncle Bob was unexpected. This year has really worn him down. Re our turn, ‘from your lips to god’s ear’ is the saying!

    John Butler, come and watch the game with me and my mob when the Blues take on the Saints. Just be aware you are in the members section. And lo and behold. The first exit has happened at the Saints with the list manager gone from that position. Interesting that Simon Lethlean is reviewing the whole footy department. Am waiting with interest. Blood will flow if this keeps up, me thinks.

    Andy, this is why I wear my scarf. The conversations I have are both funny and insightful and give me something to write about when I can’t write about our performance. The Almanac community is a gift, as I keep saying. And I have made so many friends both from St Kilda but from all other teams via the site. I feel blessed.

    I think the people we share the journey of life with are what makes the world interesting. And often now my writing is more interesting when we lose. I’ll have to make sure any winning reports remain as creative as my losing ones!

    Thanks all, and happy footballing. Go Saints

  8. E.regnans says:

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