AFLM Round 22 – St Kilda v North Melbourne: It’s all about thanking Rooey

Etihad Stadium

Sunday 20th August, 3.20pm


Last home game. Last home game with Nick Riewoldt as our champion. Last time Uncle Bob, Aunty Betty, Gary and guest Melinda will be together at the footy at Etihad this year.  Last chance to possibly win a game impressively.


Pre-game Melinda and her son Luke helped me try and sell books at the Social Club.  Had lots of great conversations and sold The Doggies Almanac 2016 as well as two of ‘Siren’s Call’ for the day, while the Legends of St Kilda scored aplenty out on the field. As I watched on the big screen in the Victory Room, the goals kept coming.  I hoped for the same straight kicking when the Saints came out against the Kangas.


Once seated, it was Rooey on the screens around the ground, short films about everyone thanking Rooey, and a Footy Record cover “Thanks Rooey”.  It was hard not to be emotional. The crowd chanted his name each time he was anywhere near the ball.


It was a funny old start to the game. A lot of pressure, many mistakes from both sides, plenty of free kicks to go around. The teams took it in turns to goal. Jy Simpson from a free, Jade Gresham from a sneaky handpass from Jack Steven, Shaun Higgins makes a lovely pass to Nathan Hrovat.  Rooey has a few touches and makes a few errors. But he is back in the attack with a good forward mark but misses from 50. Then the fans are up and about when we see the future St Kilda, as several Saints pass and Jack Billings kicks one on the run and we are up and about. Unfortunately, their good forward, Ben Brown (what a terrific North player he is) takes a strong grab and kicks truly. They are ahead again until Gresham steals the footy and cleanly gets it to Blake Acres (beautiful kick on tight angle). Ben Cunningham snaps around the body to pull back the lead again. Ping pong footy at the Dome. Billy Longer and Ben Brown both scores minors before another forward thrust sees Josh Bruce lead and mark and totally spray the ball.  The game is stopped as Daniel Nielson gets knocked out in friendly fire. Bruce makes up for the last missed one and kicks truly before Sam Gibson gets them ahead again. North led by 5 at the first break.  There was lots for each team to celebrate then worry about. Equal opportunity barracking. A chance for both teams and their supporters to hope and dream. There were only 5 points kicked in total.  Can we hope for accuracy at last?


Not to be, as second quarter saw 11 behinds to the Saints (only 1 to North). Saints were in the attack and kept the ball away from North, in a version of keepings off. Josh Bruce was having a better day, a scrapper going through, but Jack Ziebell answered quickly. There was effort even though it didn’t always pay the 6 points. Even though Saints were missing, they kept on coming. Jake Carlisle, who had hurt his back pre-game, defended twice by taking two good marks.  Maverick Weller scored from a handy pass from Luke Dunstan and we went on a roll. Every time Nick Riewoldt went near the ball, the crowd cheered, and we went nuts when the old champ goaled from a push and free kick. It was almost half time and the first time in the game there were two consecutive goals. Again the Saints were forward and Jack Steven and the other midfielders were having a field day. North could not get it out of the Saints forward line, and the ball continually pinged Saints points from pressure. Shane Savage got a beauty and suddenly, we’d scored three straight goals and it was half time.


Over 20 points ahead and it was more fun taking a break at half time. Stretching and chatting to neighbours we wouldn’t see until next year. All sharing the future loss of Rooey and enjoying at least a good Saints game to send him off.  Winning this game would be a good way to thank Rooey!


St Kilda come out firing in the third, some great passing, and forward pressure sees Tim Membrey sneak one through. Todd Goldstein stops our run of four, from a few moments of good North play.


We have more forward pressure and a few North misses, leading to Jack Steele goal and a roar from the Saints. The Kangaroos respond quickly through Taylor Garner but our champion Nick starts another run of four with a beautiful mark and perfect kick. Chants are going all around the ground. He is loved and cherished.  We are his people. We are cheering for all his years as our magnificent player. Saints dominate play. Jack Sinclair starts a passage of play in defence and here is, finishing the job. Saints are running hard, and we think that Sam Gilbert gets a goal that’s disallowed from an illegal pass. Jade Gresham kicks one off the ground that is reviewed (which takes ages) but they go with the umpires’ original call and we cheer, very loud and long. It’s party time for the Saints. Gilbert is off hurt. Dunstan misses from a free in front and Jack Newnes misses too. Josh Bruce receives a lovely kick from Jack Billings and the quarter ends on a high for the Saints.


The last quarter we are almost 50 points ahead. The game lifts in intensity as Ben Cunnington and Ben Brown goal first.  Is it a comeback? No say Shane Savage, and Tim Membrey (with 2). Taylor Garnor kicks Norths last but the Saints roar as Jade Gresham finishes off the afternoon and a fine home game to farewell our legend Saint Nick.


Gary, Luke and Melinda go onto the ground for a kick to kick. Uncle Bob and Auntie Betty head home, and I go to the Victory Room and wait for Gary to join me, and for four Saints players to have a chat. There is a real buzz in the room, the happy full place. I don’t sell more books but I enjoy seeing happy Saints people and happy Saints players. Probably the onlyl complain is the trains and how complex it is to get back to Glenhuntly Station. There is a happy buzz as Gary and I enjoy each other’s company and a good pizza before getting home. There’s nothing like the feeling of a good win, even if it’s one game closer to saying goodbye to Nick Riewoldt.







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.

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