Tipping with the head, not the heart

This year I’m in a tipping competition at my mother’s retirement home.  The week-day manager is a bright and energetic woman, a footy nut and has 20 or so people, staff, family and residents, involved, including my mum, sister and I.  Mum just tips who she likes, Denise and I take it a little more seriously, we’re more competitive.  This week I tipped against my beloved Saints for the first time.  I figured I would be happy if the Saints won, and I’d get the consolation prize of getting better tipping results if we lost.  This game was going to be a come-back game for the Hawks, who had lost their last two and were under the pump.  It was at the “G”, our house of eternal misery, and the Saints can’t beat top sides.

Then later in the week, we hear the news, Ben McEvoy is out for 4-6 weeks after injuring himself at training.  Really?  Do we need to train the boys so realistically that training becomes a further source of team depletion?  We find out that Cripps and Wilkes are out, after showing some good form lately.  Kosi was originally not going to play this game after being out suspended.  Were they worried about his fitness?  Why wasn’t he going to play?  I need a hotline to the coach.  So for the ruck work, we have to depend on Blake (who is 31), Stanley (22) and Kosi (29).  Hmmm.  Siposs was in, after a start in last year’s end of season matches.  He was good, then was injured.  Milne and Riewoldt tend to have “bad” big matches. Dal Santo brilliant one moment, held the next.  Same with Goddard.

So all in all, I thought a win highly unlikely.  What did we have left at St.Kilda for this big match?  We had the 2009 boys (Milne, Montagna, Riewoldt, Goddard, Hayes, Del Santo, Fisher, Blake, Gilbert and Gram and perhaps Dempster as the youngster of the mob).  This group couldn’t go that extra mile back then and they are three years older now.  The young ‘uns, Siposs, Stanley, Steven, Simpkin, Saad (all S’s) and Milera are all brave but young.  We seem to have nothing in between.  No middle.

The Hawks seem to have everything, experience, 3-4 year players and newbies.  And they are hungry for success.

Wrapping Up:

It’s been a wet and windy seven days.  Saturday night was the first dry one in a week.  After sheltering from the rain last game, I was prepared for this one – thermal long pants under my waterproof snow pants, thermal long sleeve top under a warm long jumper that covers the butt, my long snow coat, two scarves, my French beret, my St.Kilda blanket, one plastic rain cover under us for the wet seats and one ready if the rain came.  Thermos of hot water.  Apple and chocolate.  I was ready.

It didn’t rain, but it was cold.

Back to Hoping:

We had our “100 Year” celebratory Footy Record, and tonight was the traditional Blue Ribbon Cup match between the Saints and the Hawks.  As if those milestones were not enough, Kosi kicked a goal within seconds of the opening of the game ( Rioli not long after and then Buddy took a turn).  That was to be the flavour of the night.  These three men shone above the rest.  St.Kilda just needed one more to stand up and get a bag too.  Didn’t happen.  But loving this new look, confident and in form Kosi.

Rioli gets the next.  Both teams made mistakes.  Steven takes an advantage and misses and suddenly Hawthorn made us pay with the Buddy goaling.  There was some comic handballing, to us, to them, back to us.  Both making errors.  Milera goals.  It’s a much more open game than we usually get with Saints and Hawks.  Lots of running.  Desperate footy.  Slipping and sliding.  Riewoldt goes for so many marks but he is spoiled well.  His effort is unbelievable.  Saints bumps into each other marking, but remarkably, not Riewoldt and Kosi.  This is different.  The ball slips through hands.  Our boys jump too early.  So many kicks out of bounds from both teams.

Geary is a big improver.  There’s kicking into bodies.  We have it, they have it, they lose it, we lose it.

We give frees away to Buddy, but thank goodness he is inaccurate, but we match it with inaccuracies of our own.  It seems forever when Jones gives away a free and a 50 and Rioli kicks perfectly.  Suddenly, Hawks are 9 ahead.

Too many handballs but good pressure gets Riewoldt his first and St.Kilda go to the quarter break goal for goal.  This is a better quarter than any of us Saints expected.  Rioli misses to keep their inaccuracy higher than ours.

Saints: 3.2.20  Hawks 3.6.24

Kosi slots the first goal of the quarter again, Whitecross quickly replies.  A wrong call of the umpire see Stanleys mark and forward movement being interpreted as play on and instead of goaling, its back to Hawthorn.  Milne gets pantsed and back it goes to Hawks.  Hawks man to man is better.  Roughead marks and goals.

I have to say, I love the effort, the Saints are strong but the Hawks have stepped it up, though scoring points.  Franklin gets a beautiful mark and another one for the Hawks.  You can feel the air go out of the Saints balloon a little.  That little squeaky noise.  We’re beginning to lose in the ruck, we spoil a get and turn it over.  Then steal it back.  Riewoldt marks after good quick movement forward.  Gets his second.  Ten points the difference.  Shield kicks poorly or we’d be behind by 17.

Del Santo has been quiet.  Stevens good in passing to Geary who drops it and loses the ball.  Siposs and Steven show huge hearts and bravery.  The ball is kept in St.Kilda forward, Fisher marks  and goals brilliantly.

Hodge has hurt his back and goes for 10 minutes but bravely returns.  Fisher defends well, but so do Hawks.  They play keepings off in our forward line, then it’s back in theirs.  Then back in ours.  Our necks get sore, this is worse than tennis. Hawks have it and suddenly Rioli has it, does a quick left, right, left and he has his third.

Then magic up Saints end, Goddard to Riewoldt who does his side steps and kicks a goal. A video review is called?  Still a goal.  Six points the difference.  We are still in this.

A few good kicks, Fisher has limped off, Hawks have chipped it accurately to Breust who goals.  Hawks get the psychological edge.

Saints 7.3.45 Hawks 8.9.57

Being Ground Down:

Fisher is subbed off.  Injured lower back, upper hamstring.  Saad comes in.  Blakes mistake costs us possession, and Rioli, Roughead, Franklin and then goal.  From our mistake and turn-over.  A little more squeaking from the balloon is heard.

Rioli again and another goal.  We know it’s starting to look and feel bad.  They are lifting.  Rioli is playing an unbelievable game.

Then we apply some forward pressure, Kosi marks in the square with one hand, and straight through the biggies.

Riewoldt almost marks after another forward push but doesn’t hold.  Lenny still in the centre of the tackles, as is Steven.  So brave.  Roughead steals a marked ball from Simpkin and gets away with it, to Mitchell, Bruce and we get it back, they get it back, we get it back.  It’s now in the Saints forward.  Steven misses a goal.  Stanley to Milne and Saad and the first gamer goals.  We all celebrate.

Polo argues against a free to Rioli because he ducked his head, but Rioli gets a 50 and his 5th for the night.  That was a gift.

Bodies crunching, crashing, Rioli again and blasts another, his 6th.  The balloon is almost empty.  Goddard stops him getting another mark moments later.  We rush it forward and Stanley goals.  Goes to forward again but Milne has to deal with two and then it’s back up to Roughead who goals.  Hawks are now 23 points ahead.  Goddard goes back into defence.  Saints desperately try and close the margin.

Kosi marks yet again.  How good is he tonight?  Bloody good.  Fourth for the night. And he wasn’t even meant to play. What a difference he is making. He and Riewoldt have found good karma, they don’t go for the same marks and crash, though Kosi did pluck one because he was in a better position.  Another goal to Kosi when Montagna’s shot is too short and Kosi yet again marks.  We are still in it.  Only 11 points the difference.

Riewoldt marks directly in front moments later and shanks it, and you wander, what if…The balloon deflates a little more and the energy seems to shift back to Hawks again.  Some good play and Franklin has it again just out from goal.  We’re praying.  He matches Riewoldt.  Back up Saints end and Milera good play to Milne who has a go but misses.  Ten points.

Saints 12.7.79 Hawks 13.11.89

The cupboard is empty:

You’d have thought the last quarter wouldn’t have been the nightmare it was but there was nothing left in the Saints tank and plenty left in the Hawks.  Our effort was there but when Armitage misses a mark, Savage is ready to goal.  Misses.  We breathe.  Hodge gets a free after a knee in the back. Buddy gets a free and there is no air left in the balloon, or the “G” for the Saints.  Buddy gives it to Lewis but he misses.

Lenny is brave again but we go back to Goddard to Jones who kicks his second of the evening straight to the Hawks.  We’re losing accuracy.  They aren’t.  Free kick and a pass to Buddy again.  It’s disputed in front of Hawthorn goals. Keeps coming back in.  Shields ready to gaol,.  Buddy pushes Dempster away, no 3rd man up, and Franklin marks and gets his 4th.  We look done.  Too many mistakes.  Kosi gives away 50, we are shot, losing all the pressure and skill that we’ve had for ¾ of the game.  Milne to Montagna but Mitchell defends.  Back to Buddy who grabs Dempsters jumper, gets it and goals.  We slide lower in the seats.

Suddenly its 20 points out for the Hawks.  This is where I want to go home.  We can’t get it out of their forward.  Puopolo goals.  We’re dead in the water.  Gurgling down the drain.  Sinking with the ship.  Slipping on the banana.  Dying on our feet.  Eight minutes to go, 32 points ahead.

Finally, Milne kicks another for the Saints but we are under water, behind the lines ,out of whack.  Being whacked.  Kosi fed that one to Milne.

Hale grabs a good mark in front of Hawks goal.  The flood gates are open.  The bulldozers are running over us.  Hawks celebrate another.  Back to 32.  All hope is gone.

Simpkin is brave for game 7 of his career.  Goddard gifts it to Hawthorn and Smith gets another.

Forward movement, Riewoldt misses.  It’s over.  Finito.  Brave but too many mistakes and no Fisher in the second half.  Not enough in defence.  Missed Goddards midfield pressure when he helped in defence.

I am impressed with most of the effort of the night.  Both teams fought to the end.  There is no shame here this evening.  A rare feeling of it having worked better than we could have dreamed.

Siren sounds after a point by Siposs.

Kosi and Rioli deservedly each get the Silk/Miller medal.  The Blue Ribbon Cup is handed to Luke Hodge.

Saints 13.10.88 Hawks 18.15.123

 

 

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. Rick Kane says:

    Thanks Yvette, for a good well balanced account. I missed the game (family commitment) but from your review and other pieces I have read I have a good grasp of proceedings. I did watch Cyril’s highlights online and thoroughly enjoyed them.

    Two small, picky points: The Hawks might seem to have everything but we are still lacking a Ruck and a big strong defender’s defender (Gilham should be back on the park in the next week or two). Also, it’s Shiels not Shields.

    Cheers

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