Yoshi in Melbourne – Visiting St Kilda’s training grounds at Seaford and Moorabbin

On my last day in Melbourne (Tuesday, 31 October), our good friend and great Almanacker Yvette Wroby took me to Seaford and Moorabbin so that I could be closer to the St Kilda Footy Club.

 

Being picked up at Caulfield Station, we went on a 50-minute drive to Seaford. We talked and saw nice views of the bayside in Melbourne. The day started as a beautiful sunny one but the cloud started covering the sky close to the Frankston Region and rain had started falling just before we got to the club headquarters.

 

Yvette signed the visitor registration at the reception and we saw the display in the corridor, which presented the 1966 premiership cup, legends’ statues and photo frames.

 


Yoshi finally meeting our premiership cup, awarded 51 years ago

 

Then the club staff member Nicole greeted us and started showing us the training facilities in Seaford.

 

The multi-purpose gymnasium was my first touch down to the club. Basketball, netball, hockey and other sports are played as they’re training. Crane cameras are installed so that coaches can see and analyse the players’ performances.

 

At the time, I was impressed with technology and how players train, but didn’t know these technologies had not been used in the late 1990s. Reading Paul Roos’ “Here It Is” now, such equipment was installed for training in US sport. I guess Roos implemented such training strategies in Australia and influenced the AFL.

 

Going through the staff meeting room, we were taken to the gym used for physical training, such as heavy lifting and cycling. At far end, we saw Jake Carlisle training. Only young players (up to 4th year boys) had been supposed to come back to the club, so Carlisle showed extra effort and hard work. We waved hands and he did the same to us. It was a good moment as it was the first time I could communicate with my boy directly, even non-verbally.

 

Meanwhile, club staff members said hi to us when we saw them in the corridor and I found them friendly. We were even greeted by the outgoing Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Ameet Bains and shook hands with him. I felt myself belonging more and more to this wonderful club.

 

Chilly and rainy weather didn’t stop us walking outside the footy field. The MCG-sized ground is so big and reminded me of the great atmosphere of the ‘G (My good mate Rob took me to the MCG tour on Friday before our dinner at North Fitzroy Arms. I will leave more stories of the MCG tour in another piece).

 

Nicole showed the cheer squad pom poms put in a box. The big one is heavy so she let me to hold a small one that the kids hold on game days.

 


Yoshi holding St Kilda cheer squad pom poms

 

Going through back to the meeting room, Nicole offered a free bottle of Dare Iced Coffee. I had wanted one as they are one of our sponsors, so I took it with an appreciation.

 

Then we were guided to the administration and football departments. They worked hard for the club and us supporters. I was so happy to see the desk where newsies  covered and delivered on the club website, app and on social media.

 

Surprisingly, a gentleman started practicing Japanese towards me. His mum is a Japanese teacher, but he has never had any opportunity to visit my country yet. Yvette was surprised we communicated in Japanese at St Kilda Football Club headquarters.

 

At the end of the Seaford tour, Nicole showed us the press room that was used for Nick Riewoldt’s retirement announcement. It’s a small room, but I was happy to be in the room where my legend made an announcement even if it’s sad to see him go.

 

We all said thank you and good bye. Then I happened to see Carlisle in the corridor and we had a small talk of ‘Hi, how are you?’. It was one of memorable moments during my stay in Melbourne.

 

After we had a lovely lunch at a cafe in the town centre of Seaford, we headed to Morrabbin.

 

Arriving at the former and the future main training ground, we both saw the old building and the new one under the redevelopment.

 

Having reported to the reception on our visit, we were greeted by Georgie Day, a club staff member who was a heritage museum coordinator when the museum was running. We got cups of tea and biscuits and were seated on the table in the social club while Georgie had to tidy up her office.

 

Taken to the old function room on the North side of the building, we saw the new training gymnasium (the multiple sports court) and Georgie told us that cameras would be installed like in Seaford in order to analyse trainings. Also coaches can either be close to players or sit in a football department office desk where they would communicate with players by headsets.

 


Moorabbin Oval through the window at the old function room

 

Going back to downstairs, club legends’ frames, including Nick Riewoldt’s boots, and posters are on the wall in Georgie’s office, as well as frames and other items which are stored in another room.

 

Georgie collects newspaper articles related to our games and players and creates files of all former players. We saw those for Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne and other legends. Also she writes newsletters for social members. Georgie is doing terrific works for our club, players and members.

 


Nick Riewoldt’s footy boots

 

At the end of our visit, she gave me a St Kilda Boston bag that made me really happy. I felt being more welcomed by the club and my pride at being a Sainter got bigger.

 

Our visit to both grounds brought me closer to St Kilda Footy Club and made me want to go back to Melbourne for footy next year. At the Seaford cafe, we discussed the best match to watch in 2018 with the conclusion that July would be the best – Round 17 against Carlton on Friday 13th and Round 18 against Richmond on Friday 20th (both home games at Etihad Stadium).

 

I can’t wait to be watching more St Kilda match(es). Go the mighty Saints! And thanks Yvette for taking me to wonderful training venues!!

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Being a passionate Japanese St Kilda supporter currently based in Kyoto, I love writing articles in English and am glad to be a part of the Almanac family. Having the AFL Global Pass, I follow all St Kilda games mostly live. Otherwise I watch replay. Thanks the modern technology! But watching footy at the stadium is what I want. I’m sad not being able to watch an Anzac Day match in my favourite Wellington, but would love to do in Melbourne. Attending a St Kilda game in 2017 is sort of officially promised. My life needs to improve like did our boys in 2016. I wish I could contribute writing in English more to work even if I am less likely a professional writer.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Muirden says:

    Wow, Yoshi you got an even better look inside the inner sanctum than the lifelong Sainter fans born and bred in Melbourne!

    Bravo Yvette for facilitating such an innovative and inspiring itinerary for the Yoshimeister. You made Yoshi’s brief sojourn in footy mad Melbourne town extremely memorable that’s for sure!

    Go Saints!!!

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Great stuff Yoshi and Yvette. Lifelong Sainter memories for you to take away Yoshi. Did you go into the infamous ‘Animal Enclosure’ ?

  3. Georgia Day says:

    The animal enclosure is not there any more but the old dug out at the end of what was the players race is still there with lots of graffiti so hopefully it will be spruced up and kept as part of our Moorabbin history!

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Such huge smiles Yoshi.

  5. Hi guys,

    As always I appreciate you for your nice comments.

    I’m really happy we went inside the training grounds Jen. Yvette has organised well to make my first visit to Melbourne very special and Sainty that is terrific.

    The visits were so memorable and actually it was the first time to visit inside the sport team’s facility anywhere, Phil. I was about to research and answer about animal enclosure, but Georgie answered.

    Thanks Georgie for answering Phil’s question. Oh I missed seeing the dug out…

    Meeting the only one premiership cup and being like a cheer squad were so special and made me smile so much, Swish.

    Thanks

    Yoshi

  6. Jennifer Muirden says:

    In all honestly Yoshi, you probably saved yourself a whole lot of dry cleaning and hearing aid devices from never getting to watch the Saints play at Moorabbin in the Animal Enclosure. That place, like Bay 13 at the G back in the day, was full of unbridled feraldom with too many steel reinforced Melbourne or Victoria Bitter cans being tossed around – not to mention some of the colourful expletives being emitted!!! As an 8 year old this was a real eye opener and I recall my mother also being very unimpressed with all the laundry she had to deal with given my beer soaked clothes after returning home on the train from Linton Street, Moorabbin. But still, terrific memories all the same!

  7. Thanks Jen for more information about the animal enclosure. I would be said ‘wtf?’ at my friends’ place if I went there… Or I had to put dirty clothes in the St Kilda Boston bag Georgie gave me bringing back to Japan. Then do players drink more outside ground these days by the way?

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