AFLM Round 17 – St Kilda v Essendon: When all is said and done



Friday July 14th 7.50pm

Etihad Stadium


Yvette Wroby


Abba said it best:




Almost a week after the disappointing loss to Essendon on Friday night, I finally have my title thanks to ABBA and my unconscious processes, which is the sign that I am ready to face the flogging. There were three options in my head as I went to the game – a close win, a close loss, a bigger win.  I did not factor in a massive loss. But this week was to have massive losses in many ways, and massive wins in others.


On Friday morning, I visited my Uncle Marcel in palliative care. He was asleep when I arrived and I waited, contemplating life as he rested.  When he awoke, for the first time he was talking to me about this being it, he can feel it, his body was giving out. At 91, I figured he knew what his body was saying. My advice was to embrace it, and let go. We talked of my mother understanding this point, of knowing when it was time to depart this earth. I kissed him goodbye as he went back to what was now his usual state, sleeping. He’d been at the hospital here for 6 weeks, I visited regularly as it was close by and he is the Uncle who passed on his funny collection of Saints stuff to me. The knitted penis warmer being my favourite (a gift from a Collingwood supporting customer at his milk bar in Williamstown from years ago).  The eldest of the five Rosenberg brothers (my dad being second in line), he is gentle and kind and loving, surrounded by girls and women and gentle-men. A loving family.


At Caulfield Station later that day, my eldest daughters Prep and Grade 1 teacher Morah Sandy recognised me.  She and her granddaughter 6 year-old Ava were heading to the game as well.  Who knew Sandy was a Saints supporter.  I remember helping in the math class and learning for the first time what the meaning of a square number was.  The use of blocks helped. Suddenly a theory taught to me rote so many years before made sense. I have been forever grateful to those lessons with Morah Sandy, and to know that she was a long time Saints supporter added to the good feeling going to the game.


I attend the football with the youngest of my paternal Uncles, Bob, his wife Betty and of course, Cousin Gary. Pregame I met up with the two souls in last week’s story, Tom and Dave, had hugs and found out that Tom sits three rows back and I pass him all the time. Another neighbour I have come to know. I am in my happy place, meeting people, re-meeting people.


As I sit with my family and Travis, extended family, I am handed a letter from Howard who sits a few rows back.  Last week when Mark C had moved to sit near me, he had chatted to Howard and got a terrific story.  Today, Howard handed me a letter with it written down:

Dear Yvette,

Here are the details of my St Kilda scarf.  Two years ago, in the Victory Room after a game, a woman asked me if she could look at my scarf.  She then asked where I got it from.  I told her that I won it in a raffle at the St Kilda Social Club one Thursday night in the early eighties. She looked at me and said, “My mother knitted it.” I was blown away by her statement, recognising it after more than thirty years.  I asked if her mother had donated any other scarfs.  She informed me it was the only one.  On that night, the family were going to the Club for tea.  Her mother who often knitted scarves for the family had a spare so she took it and gave it to Bob Marr [Social Club President] to raffle.  And I was the lucky winner. I put it round my neck and the lady who knitted it told me to look after it which I have.  Her daughter said her Mum was very happy with the winner, he was a nice young man. I, along with many others, love my St Kilda scarf.

Howard, 50-year St Kilda Social Club Member.


These were the best bits of the game, meeting people, getting stories, feeling connected.  We all then watched in shock as the Saints played opposite to how they played the week before. Essendon came out firing and didn’t stop. Young Joe Daniher was amazing. Essendon won it out of the middle and we couldn’t get it back. When we did, we missed the goals. The expectations built in the game against Richmond were shattered in this match.


We were held goal-less the first quarter and thankfully they only kicked two (Daniher and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti). The second quarter we thought we still had hope. Jack Lonie scored one before Daniher did it again, and Josh Bruce got our only other. Daniher, David Zacharakis and Josh Green had the Bombers leading by 4.4 at half time. We were as shocked this week as we were shocked in the positive last week.


Third term was more than brutal: Connor McKenna gets his first AFL goal, followed by Josh Green and Daniher, Zaharakis and finally our newbie Josh Battle. What a tough first game for this 18-year old. Essendon continue through Tom Bellchambers and Michael Hurley while Jack Sinclair pulls one back. We have missed 5 this term, most gettable and we cannot look when the Saints are preparing to score. Bellchambers finishes off what is a miserable quarter for the Saints and their supporters.


Saints start the last quarter with some promise: Jake Carlisle is desperately thrown forward and it works. Jade Gresham gets the next and Nick Riewoldt gets his first. After that, they should have played the air-raid siren they use at Essendon home games: Cale Hooker, Travis Colyer, McDonald-Tipungwuti and David Myers finish us off, and we are flogged by over 50 points.


Many Saints supporters have already left. It turns out to have been a cold, miserable Friday night for Saints supporters and a warm, fuzzy brilliant one for the Bombers. The talk is all about the Bombers and their rise, and the disappointment about the Saints and our fall out of the top eight.


It takes a weekend of other things to lift the spirits. Sienna, my two-year old drafted grand-daughter is finally having her birthday party, and I am a hands-on Nanna with food and child entertainment and dishwashing. I watch the results on my phone as her team, the Hawks, narrowly lose their game against the Cats. Sienna comes to stay the night and my next day is taken up with this wonderful child. Ever a healing presence in my life, we visit my mums sister Aunty Serry and her children and play away the day.


Come Monday morning, I am contacted by Uncle Marcel’s daughter Deborah to find out that Marcel was as good as his words – he had faded away and was now in the end of life stage of his illness. I last saw him Monday afternoon, sat with the family and said my final farewell and he passed away Wednesday 11.30 am. The sadness was lifted when the family gather at Aunty Eves the same night and we have a little whisky and eat food and understand the loss of this loving man.


Once again, Sienna is my salve as come Thursday, I have a title and character of my piece, and another day of babysitting: music, visiting Aunty Serry and reading and playing at home. I smile because her father has dressed her in her Hawks t-shirt. He’s counterbalancing all the red white and black she faces when visiting Nanna Yvette.


While Sienna sleeps, John Harms drops in my supply of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017 and I have forgotten St Kilda’s rubbish game and all the angst and I spend the afternoon tweeting my little brain out in excitement. And tonight, I travel to Moorabbin for the Pride Round celebrations with fellow Sainters.


The game may have been forgettable but the people who colour my world are the best. And St Kilda and Sydney will play the Pride Match and we will celebrate whatever the score.


And The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017 is brilliant.


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. Nice piece Yvette, as always. My thoughts are with you your family.


  2. Yes, Yvette, I imagine, or hope, that we’ll all know when the body is giving out, and even though your uncle was a good age, it’s still sad when the time finally comes. Memories; family connections; times past; times present – everything is so fleeting!

    Don’t know about you (you’re younger then me), but thoughts of our own mortality – which were never there in the past – are far more at the forefront these days, and I must admit, don’t like the idea much!

    Meanwhile, let’s enjoy our footy passion, and everything else will take care of itself!

    Take care

  3. Hi Yvette,

    I am sorry to hear the loss of your uncle… Wish he could see our second flag with his eyes. My thoughts are towards your family.

    Our boys should have played much better for so many reasons. For your uncle, and because you met Sandy and got a lovely letter of the scarf.

    But we can’t get it back so I hope we play well against Sydney on Saturday even if SCG is not Sainter friendly. All we want is answer (win), don’t we?

    Take care


  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Very sorry to read about your uncle Yvette.

    Did not see that performance from the Saints coming, was expecting to sit down and watch a close game.
    Expect they’ll bounce back quickly.

    Love the scarf story!

    Well done to you and all involved with the Women’s Footy Almanac book. Have started to read it, looks fantastic!

  5. Peter Fuller says

    My sympathy for your week of losses. With Siren’s Call, you made your family members so real for we readers, that I feel I know your Uncle Marcel, as if I had met him. I agree with Jan that the longer people are with us, the more memories we have which is a comfort, but it also accentuates our loss. Of course it is qualitatively different to the sense of loss when someone important to us dies prematurely, such as your father, but I know your heart will be heavy with Marcel’s passing.
    As for the Saints’ match against Essendon – and now last night as well – least said soonest mended.
    I do admire your resilience, which is a model for us all when life throws us difficult challenges. You are quite right the joys of the life cycle as we engage with babies and children, offers healing.

  6. Matt Zurbo says

    Yvette, your passion and the way you wear it on your sleeve, is unbridled. It is such an inspiration to read your pieces. Love you you and yours.

  7. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Meeting and re-meeting people. I love that Yvette.
    I hope that you were indeed able to celebrate a little something on Saturday night despite the loss in Syders. Celebrate all that meeting and re-meeting, pride in the many connections you make. Sometimes I think life is a bit like knitting. Stitch by stitch, row by row, until it all accretes into something.
    That scarf story is simply superb. Makes me want to whip one up in red and white and find a place to donate!

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