Round 2 – North Melbourne v St Kilda: Comedy on comedy or Post Traumatic St Kilda Disorder.

4.20 pm

Friday 30th March

Etihad Stadium

 

High up in the stands, comfortable and fed, ready to see my team compete, I’d forgotten that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival had begun.  This evening, I would be leaving the game one quarter early to get to see “Flying” with Lano and Woodley. I knew I was in for a good laugh that night.  I just didn’t expect to be laughing, and going fully beserk, at a footy game beforehand.

Five minutes into the game, the clowns, circus acts and comedians were all below us on the field.  I have written Almanac articles before on this theme: ‘Saints sucked but Blues suck way more’, ‘We won the toss’, ‘We got schmushed’, and a personal favourite ‘Kalyekeh versus Kalyekeh’ (Kalyekeh is a Jewish word meaning ‘anybody not good at their craft or sport ‘). There are way more stories I have written about bad St Kilda losses, but you get my drift.

It helped not that North Melbourne were equal culprits in the disaster that was before us on the field. It helped not that we’d won the week before (by luck it now seemed) against an improved Brisbane Lions. It helped not that this was our full, most experienced team.  No injuries (touch wood after this weekend horror show at Collingwood), just other players knocking on the door, playing well in the reserves.

We up on the 3rd tier watched our team ‘play’ footy, or rather, ‘butcher’ footy.  We watched the other team too. From directly in front of goal, North missed 6 before quarter time. We’d managed a goal from our back-man (and past forward) Jake Carlisle. We got two behinds as well. The second quarter was a wonder to behold.  North kicked 2.4, and Saints 1.8.  I stopped keeping score on my Footy Record after that. Both teams were on 2.10 at half time. Supporters of all colours were completely bewildered, and me thinks I heard booing come half time.  I am pretty sure I wasn’t one of the boo-ers, but who knows. I was already comedically traumatized.

Normally calm in the face of life as a St Kilda supporter, I resorted to Tweeting. ‘My 2.5 year-old grand-daughter can play better than this.  #alfnorthsaints. Where’s the memo?’ (For those living under a rock, after the first AFLW match where Carlton and Collingwood played in a low scoring game, AFLW teams copped a memo about keeping in zones etc to try and make the game more attractive to watch. Every single one of the AFLW matches were more attractive, competitive and skillful than this game before us, and there were no memos sent to North and Saints to my knowledge.)  My Tweet got a lot of attention and re-Tweets. That kept me a little more amused.

North did something right in their half time break and fired out 4 straight goals. Saints clawed back two before North and Saints added another, and I quickly escaped. I couldn’t get out of that ground quick enough. North ultimately won by over 50 points.

It isn’t just the losing on the day. It was the terrible lack of skill and mistakes. It was the handing the ball politely to the other team in their forward line.  It was seeing those players who usually mark beautifully, take the mark and then drop it.  Just like that.  Butter on your fingers. Chewy on your boots. For the faithful, it was shocking and shattering.

So shattering that the coach apologised post-game.  So shattering that the Saints scheduled break was postponed and players were called in by the captain and coaches the next morning to review the game and see what the ……. was going on.

And the shattering doesn’t stop there. Then there are the newspaper reports and TV reports and footy analyses on every possible medium.  One stupid game and the pundits (and my good self) feel like the season is over. Saints will end up on the bottom. Footy life this year is finished.

I already can’t wait for the VFLW and AFLW season to begin, where at least there is a sensible reason for skill errors.  These blokes a paid a bundle and do this gig full time.  And have been for years.

I wonder to myself if that is why I have taken this loss and this game to heart?  Being so involved in the women’s game, and the rampant criticism that spoiled this year’s enjoyment, to see a professional team, MY professional team, play like they have lost the will to live, defies my usual good humour. And my usual steadiness and positivity seemed to evaporate with my good humour. Have I become a Saints version of a Carlton and Collingwood supporter? Is footy life as I know it, over?

Lano and Woodley were a god-send.  They were chaotic, clever, funny, mad, insane and totally welcomed back.  After 12 years apart, their partnership didn’t skip a beat. It healed me somewhat, until Easter Sunday saw me watching the first half of the Geelong v Hawthorn match.

Then the Post Traumatic St Kilda Disorder really took hold. I went hunting Pokémon in the local park rather than watch this terrific game of footy. We were in that Premiership window in 2009 and 2010, and then went into rebuild. The promised land was finals by 2018 and Premiership by 2020.

Sigh.  If any Almanackers spot my positivity and hope and dreams, and particularly, my sense of humour, anywhere out there, can you please post it back to me.  I miss when I was in that particular bubble.

PS Apologies to anyone who suffers from the real PTSD. I use this term in vain and in humour (and just a little bit seriously). Go in good health all. (And my mental health ain’t due for a reprieve when we face Adelaide then Geelong, then Hawthorn the week after.) I might take up praying after all, but the St Kilda footy god may just be at the Comedy Festival too.

PPS And apologies to Good Friday Appeal (although you did reach $18 million) the children may have been affected by this game, so take extra care of them for us please.

 

 

 

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. Verity Sanders says:

    Thanks YW – lovely stuff. I lived in the rough but warm heart of St Kilda for 18 months in the 80s – when Trevor Barker was god – and was struck by the incredible contrasts on every corner. I could get the best Jewish hospitality (and heartwarming stories) on Acland St on a Sunday morning before a head-clearing walk along the beautiful esplanade, but then stumble across the saddest human wreckage in the lanes behind Fitzroy St on a Saturday night. As you know far better than me, its a special place and community, with all its frustrations – I know you’ll hang in there ( … and the St Kilda AFLW team isn’t far away – that’ll cheer the place up. Peta Searle for inaugural coach ? )

  2. Carole Fabian says:

    Dear Yvette, I feel your pain, and wish you a smidgeon of joy in the long winter ahead. Or at least a little less misery. Just remember, as bleak and lonely as footy life looks right now, there is always someone suffering alongside you. And that’s us. Cheers, Carole, Western Bulldogs tragic. (Wipes away tears.)

  3. Yvette Wroby says:

    Thanks Verity. PETA Seattle will be coach of VFLW this year and I would assume in 2 years she’s my AFLW coach. Will go and see the Southern Saints play and develop this year. That thought cheers me up.

    Carole… you were just up at the peak of the mountain so I reckon that should keep you warm for at least a decade. Tho your last game was pretty horrific too!

  4. John Butler says:

    Bloody footy, eh, Yvette!

    I watched the second term of this one, and was also thinking about memos. And I noted the distinct absence of so many of those keyboard heroes who have graced us with their views over the last couple of months.

    But one game is just one game.

    Have some chicken soup and cheer up. :)

  5. Stainless says:

    Hang tough Yvette. Usually those “rock bottom” games spark a positive reaction. Four points against the Crouchless Crows and all will be right in the St Kilda world!

  6. Hi Yvette,

    As a fellow Sainter, it was so so painful. I can’t believe how bad we played. It was so sloppy…

    Even my friend who is also a Sainter suggests me that I could have gotten ready to play for the mighty Saints as I had been practising footy for five days in a row with mainly kicking in a local park.

    I want our boys to know how I am passionate to support them and play footy for the Osaka Dingoes (having a fractured finger never stops me training footy).

    Saints need to answer on Saturday at the game against Crows.

    Go the mighty Saints!

    Yoshi

  7. Jennifer Muirden says:

    Oh Yvette, I very much share your sentiments and your pain. I also applaud your ability to be so whimsical about that baffling and blundering effort on ‘Bad Friday’. This game certainly delivered a fair dose of farcical slapstick moments. Cue the Benny Hill music! Disgraceful display by the fumbleton Saints who ended up kicking more in the first half than the second half. Fancy North Melbourne, who most had tipped as this year’s wooden spooners, destroying us like that? At this stage we definitely look to end up in the bottom four. Like you, I fear it’s going to be a very long season after that shellacking. Frankly we were lucky to get over the line the week prior against Brisbane ….and already there were worrying signs.

    I was most concerned upon hearing Alan Richardson’s claim that the Saints took a “naïve and immature mindset” into the Good Friday clash against the Roos North Melbourne. This attitude seemed evident in the way our boys simply dropped their heads during this showcase match. But the blame shouldn’t rest solely on the players. Richo seemed to have no game plan for Jarrad Waite, had the wrong matchup on Benny Brown and didn’t anticipate the match up on ever brilliant Jack Steven. We clearly need a different approach. Rearrange the deck of cards. My hope is our coach brings back Dunstan and Weller, tries out Rowan Marshall in the ruck and considers the inclusion of Hugh Goddard and Josh Battle.

    I try to convince myself that it’s best for the Saints to get the collywobbles out of their system at this early stage in the season. Perhaps it’ll shock them out of their complacency. We have a tough few months ahead – Crows, Cats, Giants, Hawks, Demons and Dockers. Unless StK FC shifts gears quick smart it looks like it’ll be Saints and Pies playing off for the wooden spoon. It’s quite hard to believe these sides played off in the 2010 Grand Final twice within one week.

    C’mon Saints the time is now…actions not words!

  8. Lovely report, Yvette. Well done!
    I was at the game, and not really expecting too much from North. But I was very pleased with their endeavour. Their tackling and pressure was far superior to that of St Kilda.
    I was actually stunned by how poor the Saints were in the second half, and how it was as if they gave up in the final term. Interesting times for the Saints at present.

  9. Matt Watson says:

    Yvette,
    Occasionally teams will throw up a game like this that has little bearing on the rest of the season.
    Hopefully the Saints can turn it around.
    It would be good to see them in the finals again.
    Of course, I am thrilled that North won a game everyone (including me) expected us to lose…
    Cheers

  10. Patrick O'Brien says:

    Yvette
    Console yourself. Us Sainters always like sticking it to the man, refusing to bow to the seemingly inevitable destruction of all we hold pure by capitalism and its ugly insistence on putting a monetary value on everything, even that which can not be bought. I once saw a Sainters guernsey with B Hicks on the back and it made perfect sense.
    The point being that one of the more rancid aspects of the modern game is the way in which it stops after each goal until television has grabbed its pound of flesh, telling us the best way we can bet on fried chicken. Personally, I’m proud of my Saints for refusing, on principle, to kick any goals at all for a whole season, thus denying television its 30 pieces of silver and protecting the purity of our game.
    Yes, we shall die poor, without the usual trinkets with which modern life measures its grotesque idea of success. Yet future generations will worship our sacrifice and sing our names on high. And that, my good friend, is priceless.
    Walk tall, Yvette, walk tall.

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