AFL Round 23 – Adelaide v St Kilda: The Fat Lady and the Crows are the only ones left singing

In the first 15 minutes of the Adelaide vs St.Kilda game, the second last game of AFL 2014 regular season football, the gods allowed two goals to the Saints and a glimmer from the heavens that we might give Lenny Hayes the kind of farewell game he deserves. Eight Crow goals later, and with the claws clearly clenched around the Saints neck, Jones at least showed we were still on the ground.  Saints followed with a four goal third quarter come-back but Adelaide still kicked more, and ran away goaling as they went, to a 12 goal win.  And then it was done.  Celebrations for Rutten and Hayes, walking together down a valley of men, their friends, team-mates and opposition.  Lenny was then chaired off on the shoulders of Nick Riewoldt and Jimmy Gwilt.  I sat crying as I said another goodbye.

Rina, with her mother, texted me her tears.  Glen was watching live from Kentucky.  David Downer, from Adelaide Oval.  Mum had given up and gone home, too distressed by the roughness of the modern game to watch more than the first quarter with me.  Uncle Bob is in Germany with my aunt and is away from it all.  Cousin Gary at home, watching it after being ice-bucketed for charity.  Saints in homes, pubs, in Adelaide, around Australia, bid a fond farewell to one of our greats.  Even Lenny and Nick shed tears leaving the ground.

Lenny laid 13 tackles today.  He passed Jude Bolton’s record and now is the leading tackler of the AFL, 1496 to be exact.  Another record.  Another reason to love him and his work and life ethic, his effort, his love of the game and his love of St.Kilda.  He loves the Club, his team mates and the fans.  And we love him back.

When Lenny started at the Club, St.Kilda were wooden spooners, he has risen with the Club and fallen with the Club.  The Club sent out a video, usually from Alan Richardson after the game, but this time is was Lenny in the rooms post game.  Our President thanked Lenny, and Lenny spoke, thanking all again, before handing his Number 7 Guernsey to Luke Dunstan.  Dunstan had his arm in a sling.  Another Saints casualty this year.  He has a lot to live up to as we all look to 2015.  At the Club Season Launch this year, they talked of a Premiership within 6 years, by 2020.  Bring it on boys, bring it on.

Meanwhile, we can all be a little bit Lenny.  Approach our lives and loves with the kind of passion and quiet devotion that we have been shown. Tackle life with gusto.  Give it our all, right to the last siren.

I will be attending the St.Kilda Football Club’s Best and Fairest with Rina on Friday, and I know it will be yet another chance to say goodbye, to Lenny, to retiring players, to the football year, and I wish Lenny and all the boys who have tried their hardest over this inglorious year, a wonderful break and recovery, and a good future of health and happiness. And eventual success.

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. Go Sainters

  2. Neil Anderson says

    For us supporters whose teams are not even close to playing finals the last home and away match is always important. Not only to look for glimmers of hope for next season but to give the fifteen-year of service plus champs a farewell.
    I opted to watch Footscray win their final at Footscray against Williamstown in the VFL rather than see the Bulldogs play GWS at Etihad. So I was devastated to listen to the Bulldogs lose by a goal in Gia’s last match as I drove home to the country.
    So, very gloomy this morning until I read about your devotion to the Saints with such a positive outlook.
    The thing we have in common with our Clubs is the quality people that have played for the Clubs over a long period of time and that’s what sustains us most of all as supporters.

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Go Saints indeed. And Neil, we have quality people, quality supporters and players that give us sustenance. Gia was a mighty player for the Dogs and it was sad to see him say goodbye too. Now I found out Gwilt and Jones won’t be there and I wait for more sad farewells, but I guess each one will be met by a hello to someone from another club or a new guy and our hearts will belong to them for as long as they wear our colours. Brendon Goddard, Ben McEvoy and Nick Del Santo are all still on the tracks for finals, so I wish them luck because they will always be Saints to me!


  4. Ben Footner says

    Was at the game yesterday Yvette and don’t worry, Adelaide fans gave him the send off he deserved. Was quite moving actually with both him and Rutten retiring and walking through the honour guard of both teams, very special.

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