AFL Round 13 – Geelong v St Kilda: On Being a Cellar Dweller – for this moment in time


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We were Premiership contenders in 2009.  Again in 2010.  Both Geelong and Collingwood won and they are still in the eight continuing to produce top grade football.  Geelong again in 2011, Sydney 2012, Hawthorn 2013 after getting one in 2008.  Four and five years ago, we had been at the top for a few years.  The decline, drastic, unexpected, brutal and final, has led to the Saints being now on the bottom of the ladder 13 games into Season 2014, with a win/loss of 3/10. And our worse percentage in years.

We are on our third coach since 2010, Alan Richardson, a man with reputably a great development philosophy and history.  Added to the team, Peta Searle, also known for her great development of young players.  Bless them both.  They are truly needed at Seaford. In them we place the positives.  Here are teachers, and hopefully the students will learn and learn well.

(For anyone witnessing the Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs game after the Saints game, you can see what Brendon McCartney was aiming for, and the Doggies are about 18 months ahead of the Saints in development and rebuilding.)

We can only go up from here. Lenny Hayes was interviewed during the week and was remembering the drubbings the club suffered from in 2000-2002.  They were the years of our fabulous draft picks, many of whom are now gone.  Goddard, Kosi, Dal Santo, Montagna, Riewoldt and Ball.

Our miserly five goals at the Cattery at least showed our future – Weller, Armitage, Billings, Shenton, and poor Riewoldt who barely touched the ball at least, got one too. It gave us hope, post-Riewoldt, in our small men. The game, wonderful if you are a Cats supporter, was a failure for any random viewer or any poor Saints supporter.  It is hard to scrap together positives, the moments get fewer and they crushing overwhelm the moments of joy.

Weller goaled 16 seconds into the first.  For one brief fraction of a moment, the universe looked like it was going to tilt into a parallel set of circumstances, but reality kicked in as the six straight Geelong goals was living proof, if any was needed this afternoon, of the separate paths both these Grand Final contenders in 2009 have faced.

The psyche of winners, the sense of purpose, the development of the young, is completely different from the development of teams who are losers in the long run.  You need so much self-belief to take and learn from the utter defeats that the Saints boys have suffered the last few weeks, and will probably continue to suffer for the next few weeks.  Like Saints supporters, these players have to learn and take something positive from the flattenings, take something that is hard and unbearable and bottle it, change it internally to make it fuel for future learning, effort and training.

Armitage was the last out of the rooms at half time, and he looked like a future captain, revving up the boys and trying to give them confidence.  We have missed his solidity over the weeks of his injuries, and it was good seeing him out there today.  Delaney was solid in defence, effort from the defence team of Murdoch, Dempster, Shenton, Bruce and Dunstan, helped by Hayes, Jones, Montagna, Ray, Ross, Newnes, Saunders, Simpkins, Webster and even Riewoldt, showed that in the future, when this team has solidified and gained experience, it won’t leak like a sieve.  Like it did today.

Geelong were strong and confident, skilled and downright awesome today.  Even their new boys did well, and it could have been so much worse for the Saints. Lee was subbed off before half time, looking distressed and disappointed. The time in our forward line was so limited, but the forwards didn’t make the most of the moments of chance, and I hope Lee uses that in the future as well.

The coach looked calm in the storm, but we know that is what was on the outside.

The moments the Saints ran with the ball were the best of the afternoon, and sometimes they actually succeeded, and they will use that to remember too, that with some confidence and experience, the moments can turn and become minutes and then quarters and then games.  It is there in the future.  It’s just hard to see from down in the basement.  Let’s hope that the lift comes soon.

Postscript:  The Bulldogs have played four quarters of hard, smart football and came away with an unexpected victory against the Pies that will perhaps turn their year around.  On a day where Jon’s ashes were scattered at the Whitten Oval, the Dogs again defied expectation and gave the family some wonderful news on this near anniversary of their Lost Dog.


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.


  1. Peter Fuller says

    It’s tough keeping the faith through the rough times. I admire your unfailing spirit, and your determination to find heart in the potential you observe in the next generation of on-field leaders.
    I was at a junior match this afternoon (no involvement with either side) where a dominant exceptionally well-coached team won by more than twenty goals. However, I was impressed by a handful of players in the losing side who demonstrated that they have the right stuff, didn’t stop committing to the next contest, and tried to have a constructive impact at every contest, even as the margin inexorably blew out.
    Like you, I was thrilled to see the Bulldogs’ refusal to concede to Collingwood, on the several occasions when they were challenged. Your reminder of your friend’s anniversary (which you memorably recorded on the Almanac last year) makes this grand win especially poignant.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    To acknowledge the Bulldog’s great win while your own team was struggling is really appreciated.
    While we haven’t got the premierships to gloat about, just occasionally we have a win like this which lifts our spirits. The other famous victory against all odds and against Collingwood was in 1990 where it was won on the last kick of the day at the ‘G’.
    To give further hope for the Bulldog’s future I watched our Footscray VFL reserves side have a really good win over Port Melbourne on Saturday. There were a number of good players in that team including Lachie Hunter and Mitch Honeychurch who is ready for an AFL debut .
    Like you reminded me last week, things will turn around for the better and we should stay positive…even if it’s not on the same scale as your positivity.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done Yvette glad the bulldogs victory helped the day and happy that ex Redleg
    Cam Rowdy Shenton is progressing

  4. Yvette – I wonder what would have happened to Geelong if they had lost the 2009 Grand Final? Would their trajectory be different today?

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