AFLM Round 9 – St Kilda v Sydney: The Siren’s Call couldn’t come early enough

 

 

Etihad Stadium

Saturday May 20th 1.45pm

Yvette Wroby

 

Siren’s Call now available at www.cartoonswork.com.au/sirenscall.html

 

Saturday afternoon footy. Tick. Being with Uncle Bob and Gary, Marianne and Travis.  Tick. Tick. Being at the St Kilda Social Club to sell my book Siren’s Call pre-game and post-game. Tick. Tick. Tick.

 

Bumping into Joanne Whiffin pregame and accosting and chatting to retired Saints Sean Dempster, finding out he is still sorting himself out and loving time with his 8-month-old baby. He looked great. Big Tick.

 

I am amazed at the amount of work the volunteers at the St Kilda Social Club put into every game day.  The Victory Room becomes our home away from home, with huge posters of players lining the walls, there are tables set up for raffles and auctions, and a stage for interviewing players post-game. These gracious people set me up both last week and this week to sell my memoir Siren’s Call. This day I had a table and help from Bridget White, one of the regular Social Club volunteers.  She helped me with credit card payments and recording sales, while I pre-signed books and set them out nicely on the table. I am called up to the stage to talk about my book and take the microphone and tell them it’s about fans. About my family of fans and many others I met travelling around Australia and New Zealand.

 

I also got to meet Harold Frazer, an ex-Saints reserves player. His niece (not grand-daughter as I wrote), Gayle Fraser told me in Queensland that he was the reason her family followed the Saints. It’s in the book. During the week, an artist friend Sue C called me to say that she’d been reading ‘Siren’s Call’ and Harold Frazer is a long-time friend of her and her late husband Raoul.  And that when her Saints crazy son came back from an overseas trip, she would have us all over for afternoon tea.  Sue lives a few streets away, so that is even better news.  When I was in the Victory Room, Gayle let me know where Harold was sitting.  He lives in an apartment next door and comes to all the matches of the Saints. I got to say hello and we looked forward to a quieter chat at Sues in a few weeks. He’s a happy chatty man, and he introduced me to his son as well. More happy Saints people.

 

Bridget’s Saints story evolved from a mixed marriage (between Saints and Cats) and as the second born she had to follow the Saints, her Dad’s side. The third born, Bridget tells me, got to choose. He chose St Kilda.  Bridget “loves her family’s full on approach to football”. We had a few sales before we both went out to our seats for the game itself.

 

Waiting for me were this week’s guests who had just arrived. I’d travelled in with Uncle Bob and Gary. We were ready. I was hungry but I was ready. But not for such a terrible Saints game.  Sydney walloped us. They just came in and fought all the way. They made us look easy-beats.

 

The Swans showed intent with quick goals to Harry Cunningham, Will Hayward before Saints took a breath and goaled through Dylan Roberton. Ok, we thought, let’s keep this going. Dan Hanneberry kept Sydney sparking before Jade Gresham and Nick Riewoldt fired back. Ok, we’re in this, we thought, delusional as always. Hanneberry goals to put Sydney up by 6 at the end of first quarter. I eat some cheese and biscuits to keep me going until half-time. Jack Newnes is concussed in his 100th game and off for the match. Some celebration he’s had.

 

The arm wrestle to their advantage kept happening.Gresham gets a second, Josh Kennedy and Cunningham follow.  We are sloppy and outplayed. Sam Reid for them, Tim Membrey for us. We must stop handing it over. WE MUST STOP HESITATING and GOING BACKWARDS out of defence. It’s killing the supporters. And almost every time, we turn it over and the opposition scores. Fans around us are roaring to go forward. We are 11 points down at half time.

 

I eat a mixture of chicken soup and veggie soup and at least feel fed. This game and the kicking backwards is frustrating us. We just want to see it always going forward, accurately. I sell another book. My back-seat neighbours are fun, and are enjoying the read from the sale last week.

 

Come third quarter, we still had expectations of being in it. These fantasies were quickly dismissed. Dean Towers, Lance Franklin and then our Blake Acres all goal. Their lead is creeping out. Then we are smacked. They have so many goalkickers. Gary Rohan. Tim Membrey again. Kurt Tippet and Nic Newman. Come final quarter, they are 5 goals ahead. We know we won’t come back.  It isn’t in us yet.

 

Paddy McCartin has been quiet and missed two. The Swans are all over us. George Hewett, Lance Franklin, and then Nick Riewoldt pulls one back. Tim Papley, Franklin again before Paddy gets one through. Franklin and Papley finish us off before Riewoldt slots the last after the siren, and we have lost by over 10 goals.  It’s a miserable feeling to be beaten so thoroughly and gives all Saints fans and the footy world a reality check as to ‘where we are at’. Everyone goes home, and I head back to the Social Club.

 

Here, I enjoy the company of the few who come back. Losses don’t bring the crowds to post game events. Only the truly faithful came in and some bought ‘Siren’s Call’ and that at least, cheered me up. One chap was buying it for his daughter, and when I asked her name, I asked if he was Lauren’s dad, and that they were all in the book. Later that night, Lauren posted on Facebook that she’d received her present from her father and gone straight to the section about herself.

 

Signing books and talking to fans is great. I get more stories, make more contacts. Steve and Ben from the Moorabbin Wing pop in and Steve gets his book. Steve has put his story he gave me for Siren’s Call up on the Moorabbin Wing Facebook page. He calls out for others to do the same, and they do.  We are collecting a social history of fans.

 

The players Joe Montagna and Jack Billings come in and are interviewed by Bruce Eva.  He’s in the book too. He plugs it onstage before getting to the players. They are disappointed with their effort and the result. They say what they usually say, and they are appreciated for coming in and at least diverting us for a while.

 

Once the players are gone, the crowd disperses and we head to our trains. I feel energised by being with the ‘doers’ of the Club. People who work for the red, white and black every week regardless of results. I am in the extended Saints family and it heals me too. As does the much lighter rolling suitcase on the way home.

 

At least that was a win.

 

Sydney:               4.2         7.3         12.8       18.10               (118)

St Kilda                3.2         5.4           7.5       10.8                 (68)

 

Goals: Sydney: Franklin 4, Hannebery 2, Papley 2, Cunningham 2, Towers, Reid, Kennedy, Tippett, Hayward, Newman, Hewett, Rogan.

St Kilda: Riewoldt 3, Gresham 2, Membrey 2, Acres, McCartin, Roberton

Best: Sydney: Kennedy, Hannebery, Lloyd, Newman, Mills, Parker, Papley

St Kilda Steven, Ross, Billings, Acres, Roberton, Brown.

 

Umpires Stevic, Mollison, Mitchell

Crowd: 29, 778

Malarkey Points: Kennedy (3), Hannebery (2), Lloyd (1)

 

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.

Comments

  1. Peter Fuller says:

    Yvette,
    The organic character of your contacts who then contact others and so on ad infinitum suggest that you will not merely have a sequel to Siren’s Call but a multi-volume omnibus.

  2. Well done Yvette, I admire your dedication and ever accumulating collection of supporter stories.

  3. John Butler says:

    Sounds like you’re in your element Yvette, despite the loss.

    Big one this week v the Dogs. Both teams need a win.

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