AFLW Round 1 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: It’s all about the base, Moorabbin and the Saints women

 

Sunday 9th February 2020 3.10pm

RSEA Park Moorabbin

 

The setting:

It’s a magical story. Being back at Moorabbin. Lining up early at the AFLW Saints members entrance with others who got there way earlier than our 1.30pm. The diehards who will travel to every game around Australia with our Saints girls.

 

Moorabbin itself was a star. Enclosed with wire fences for the AFLW season, the building shone in the afternoon while people flocked to our home ground as they did in men’s seasons of the past. It’s all new and shiny.  The buildings. The team. The memberships. It was new and shiny yet felt old and familiar.  The surrounding streets. The park and the walk. The streaming of families and friends in their footy gear. I was back to being 12 to 17.  Five years of my earlier incarnation of a footy tragic.

 

Kiyoshi and I lined up exactly where I used to line up back then to get a fence view on the wing. Carrying my brand-new sturdy stools which makes waiting in queues and sitting along the fence possible for my older arse, we got through security and through to our place to the left of the Saints bench. I have to say at this point that the St Kilda Football Club gave me the best membership present ever – padded, portable cushions.  They GET how hard the surfaces are to sit on at the women’s game all year round.

 

Once set we looked around as the stadium filled up to capacity of 8000.  If it were up to me, I would have squished in another 2000, but there are probably by-laws saying 8000 is it, and so there was a lock out.  Go Saints supporters and the Doggies who did the trek.  We really nailed attendance. (And I found out later that Saints are planning to have 10,000 at the Marsh Series event, so more could have been let in.)

 

St Kilda Football Club is now a Club for all.  The AFLW team cements this place as being there for everyone’s dreams.

 

There was a nice touch of some of the Saints AFLM walking around the ground collecting money for the bushfire relief. We stood and watched the wind play havoc with hats and hair.

 

And it stopped the banner being raised before the game.  Which was a shame as Kiyoshi and I were part of the numbers to take on this task in our first ever game for women at Moorabbin. Instead we joined the junior members waving little flags while us seniors, further into the centre of the ground, had big grown up flags usually seen at the Cheer Squad end of Saints games.  The Cheer Squad handed these out, and here we were, waving our first ever women’s team onto the oval and into history.

 

Red hatted, red shoed, Yvette Wroby welcomes the Saints back to Moorabbin.

 

The game:

And then there was the game. Saints lost this in the first quarter. Four goals to one.  Though that one was celebrated with some passion. Molly McDonald was our first AFLW goalkicker, and I think I heard on the radio that a McDonald was the first ever goal kicker for the men’s St Kilda team at the beginning of footy time.  Otherwise, it was all Western Bulldogs and Saints never recovered from those early goals.  (Watching the replay, I could see that they tried their darndest and there were many of good passages of play for the Saints.) But the Bulldogs were stronger. It was hard to watch.  We’d have great effort, followed by an intercept mark and goal by the Dogs.  It felt very at home to be watching players in red, white and black kicking backwards and losing possession.  Or kicking to the wrong player.  On the other hand, Western Bulldogs showed they were a team with three years of playing together experience, and even though they have lost many players, those who stayed knew where the other was, knew how to run through packs and find the ball and find their team mate.  Knew how to evade the tackles and get those goals. It was a high-pressure game which created mistakes.  Western Bulldogs showed great class.  St Kilda will improve.

 

The effort was there for the Saints, and when the Dog’s slowed down in the second half, we picked up some of our natural game. Nevertheless, their coach, St Kilda’s own Nathan Burke, took everything he learned with the Southern Saints and ran us over.

 

I have learned from this game that my ego and wish to win gets in the way of my enjoyment of footy. Footy doesn’t grant wishes or fulfill his fans desires.  It’s footy.  It can only give you what it can. A place. A time. A team.

 

Our young gun first round draft pick Georgie Patrikios was our very own highlight reel and came away with 17 disposals and the first Rising Star nomination. Nadia Von Bertouch unfortunately, got herself an ACL injury and is out for the season.

 

The aftermath:

While waiting to be interviewed for the RRR Show, Kate O’Halloran’s Kick Like a Girl, for Kirby Fenwick’s segment, Voices from the Stand, I contemplated the day. There was a lock out at Moorabbin. Go mighty Saints in getting behind our team. The ground was a winner. The Club was a winner. Being there with my footy family Uncle Bob and Gary was a winner. Kiyoshi enjoyed his experience and bought me the best sausage roll I have ever tasted and that was a winner. My $20 seats and my present for Saints AFLW membership meant comfortable viewing and that was a winner. The RSEA vests on the hill were a winner, you couldn’t miss the bright yellow.  The other sponsor Deliveroo, had greenish beanbags and a layback area across the outer.  Footy was back at Moorabbin and the joy that bought was a winner for all.

 

Recording my happiness about the women playing at Moorabbin was a winner and watching the Western Bulldogs (my team for the first two years of the competition) win was at least happiness to many that I know.

 

At the end of the day, I searched out the ladders, the hated Conference A and Conference B, and to me, that was the second biggest loser of this whole weekend.  With all the results in by Sunday night, Conference B was stacked with almost all the top 6 teams by percentage. This means that once again one conference may end up with huge percentages and many teams fighting for those two top spots to play in finals, while only two teams in conference one had a win. The percentage of the top three teams in Conference B look like mighty mountains to climb, and Collingwood, Carlton, Western Bulldogs, Fremantle and Melbourne are almost all higher than the top two in Conference A.

 

It just doesn’t seem right. Having lost just one game, it already looks like it may be impossible for a team like St Kilda to get to the top. With such a small season, it feels overwhelming to think that after only one loss.

 

The winner was the numbers who came out to watch.  Without ticketing, many people don’t come to games for fear of being locked out, (first biggest loser is the AFLW administration yet again creating the illusion of a lock out to have people then stay away for fear of missing out), yet even so, 42,988 people came to all the games across the country.  In heat, in rain, and in ridiculous winds like at Casey Fields and Moorabbin. People pay for memberships and sponsorships and make the effort to support this league.  The games were all over SEN and ABC and in newspapers and on Twitter.  We were all talking about AFLW and OUR teams. We enjoyed our old home grounds or local stadiums and were out and about, proving yet again, we are all nuts for our game of Aussie Rules. All out there for a game of footy. And to be with the people we love.

 

Can’t wait for next week to see what happens next.

 

 

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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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. John Butler says

    Summed it up, Yvette. Saints got jumped and couldn’t recover.

    The wind looked a real factor, even on TV. Once again, the women copped the full gamut of conditions over the weekend – heavy dew on Friday night, torrential rain on Saturday in Sydney, blustery winds on Sunday.

    Re the conferences, I reckon they might even up more than they did last season. It would surprise if North and Adelaide didn’t improve in Conference A, which makes that group look better. In Conference B, this week’s clashes Car v Coll and WB v Mel will tell a tale.

    Bring on next weekend.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic to see footy back at Moorabbin and other suburban venues. Very happy for you Yvette that you’ve now got a Saints AFLW team to follow, as always another great read!

  3. Great write up Yvette.

    Agree it did seem another 1000 or so could have gotten in. But I did like the space lee had lying up on the terraces.. and yes I had a vest on.. $500 lucky winner sat next to us:(.

    Love the ground!

  4. Good on you, Yvette.
    It must be thrilling for you to have your Saints competing on the AFLW.
    I know that it was tough for me supporting other teams prior to the Kangaroos entering the fray last season.
    Also great to see footy at Moorabbin once again.
    I thought the crowd numbers were excellent

  5. roger lowrey says

    Good yarn Yvette.

    I didn’t see the game but was reliably informed that Hannah Priest – daughter of an old teaching colleague of mine in Mildura – wore her dad’s old Werrimull FC number 14 with distinction. Sadly, Werrimull wear the Collingwood jumper.

    And it doesn’t end there. After a quick search of the AFLW Saints website, I see from her photo she is a dead spit of her former netball star mum. Apple not falling far from tree etc.

    Thought you needed to know.

  6. Yvette Wroby says

    Thanks John, we will see how the Conferences go this week. Luke Kate and Smokey, the atmosphere was terrific and now I have booked tickets to the Marsh Series at Moorabbin this week. There will be the 10,000 capacity there against Hawthorn men’s. The atmosphere at Moorabbin was noisy and joyous. I wonder what difference will be felt on Thursday night and the following night with the women. Two games in two nights at the mighty Moorabbin oval. Pumped. And now Roger, I will keep a special eye out for Hannah and her number 14. My sponsored player Darcy Guttridge (No 5) will be playing this weekend in Adelaide. I will be glued to the TV for that one, resting up for Thursday and Friday at RSEA Park…nah…just kidding, Moorabbin!

  7. Hi Yvette,

    It’s a good read and you describe well on how good footy has come back at Morrabbin with positive future of the St Kilda women’s side.

    As a crazy St Kilda supporter, I wish I could be at the game. I guess the venue is different to the time when we visited in October 2017.

    I can’t wait the next game against Adelaide on Sunday.

    Go Saints girls!

    Yoshi

  8. Gus - Singapore says

    Thanks for summation Yvette – really good to see the numbers and exuberance at Moorabbin.

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