Round 12 – St Kilda v Carlton: And the sun shone on us

Etihad Stadium, Sunday 12th June, 1.10pm

 

I love chatting to people on the train into a game. And I didn’t even start the latest conversation. I took out my footy book “From the Outer” when I couldn’t see any footy people in my vicinity. I needn’t have bothered. Neil and his wife, Elaine, started a conversation that ranged from footy to Springboks to African politics and rugby. They have lived in Australia for 15 years and never been to a match. Neil said that they loved just going into town, there was always something happening, and they were meeting friends. I have their details now if I have spare tickets to a game. After all, 15 years is a long time without a taste of this local madness.

 

Today had other special meanings as well. Gary, Marianne and I were being joined by my 24-year-old Blues-supporting son, Daniel. His train in was replaced by a bus to Richmond, his trip taking him an unusual way. His presence once at the ground was a rarity and a special treat for both of us. One of us would end up happy with the results, and we got a great selfie with his long arms helping the shot enormously.

 

All this excitement, and the game hadn’t even begun. Would the Blues continue their winning ways? Would the Saints bounce back without Nick Riewoldt, Paddy McCartin, Sean Dempster, poor Hugh Goddard and Sam Fisher? Would Lewis Pierce be any good?

 

Gee, there seemed to be a lot of people coming in. I couldn’t remember seeing such a huge crowd at a St Kilda game since 2009. Little did those inside (I’d gotten here at 12) know of the chaos and queues that were to frustrate so many other fans.

 

The roof was open, the sun was shining down in the centre of the ground and it felt very strange indeed to be sitting in our regular seats in a completely different atmosphere. Lots of people, Carlton people having bought spare tickets, sitting amongst us. My son next to me.

 

It was a good day already. The first 20 minutes proved a yawn where both teams muddled about and showed terrible skills, a snore fest, a game of who could stuff it up more accurately, but that was about the change. In 10 minutes, we had goals from Walker, a magnificent snap from Gresham (a small-forward feast of a goal), and goals from Simpson, Casboult, Acres, Membrey and Membrey again. Bam bam bam. Saints led that quarter, and we were up and about. Daniel would stand up and cheer on his team when they goaled. We clapped and cheered when the Saints goaled.

 

This might prove an interesting game after all. Especially when Casboult goaled quickly in the second, and it looked like an arm wrestle would be had. Except something weird happened. The Saints got four great goals through Membrey who was having a ripping day, Montagna from a sneaky tap out near goal, Hickey from a free, and Pierce. Pierce got his first goal in the AFL from his first kick, and it was a pass from Hickey that helped the young future ruckman smack it through and show his great excitement.

 

Lamb pulled one back, allowing some joy to the noisy Carlton people who’d filled the stadium. Saints went to half time 19 points ahead, and Dan went to see his friend a few rows forward, a Saints mate with his family and friends that I see all the time.

 

Being ahead at any time is never secure. Who knew what the coaches would be saying or the players would be feeling. It is impossible to be relaxed until the last moments of a victory or in the certainty of defeat. Perhaps that’s what makes football so exhilarating, the not knowing, the “anything can happen” feeling that EVERY team, even the best, experience. Well, perhaps not Essendon Friday night, or St Kilda last week in Adelaide. We knew the outcome very quickly, and it wasn’t pretty.

 

Daniel, and all other Carlton supporters, had had a quieter second quarter. The Sainters on the other hand had raised the noise level quite significantly.

 

It became pretty clear, pretty quickly, who would have the happy afternoon after the long break. Bam again. Steven, our captain for the day, started the party. Dunstan kicked a minor, then goals from Newnes and Membrey and then another miss, and Lee had injured his knee. Poor bloke has been on our list for years and just can’t seem to get a break and some decent run at footy.

 

Carlton fought back, with Wright pulling one back only to have Ross nullify it with another to the Saints. Gibbs pushed the Blues again, ably assisted by Daisy, but their next was a point, as was our next attempt. After several stuff-ups, Wright goaled before Membrey and Weller piled on the Blues suffering. Steven was everywhere.

 

The last quarter was more of the same. The Saints were hungry to erase the memory of their suffering at the hands of Adelaide last week and put said type of suffering on the Blues. Hickey was now winning all of the centre bounces and Steven was making the most of it, goaling again. Everitt clawed one back and made up for a bad miss earlier. Carlton seemed to have picked up but their turnovers and our pressure was killing them. Steven got another from a set shot, Walker his second from a great grab in his goal square. Our newer defensive structure and personnel were working together well: Delaney, Roberton, Webster, Montagna, with help of Membrey and Bruce taking up Nick Riewoldt’s run up and down the ground.

 

Today we were seeing what our future might look like, and it looks pretty good.

 

Gresham smacked another one through and the Saints supporters were singing. Daniel decided to leave early to meet up with his friend and missed Casboult and Walker reducing the margin.

 

And then the Blues were put out of their suffering and the siren rang out. What a day, footy with my son; the sun shone brilliantly for us throughout the afternoon; it didn’t rain; the Saints made money from the biggest attendance at our home game for ages and Marianne got to see another victory (and then have dinner with her son). There are texts of love and support from Denise at home, Glenn in the USA, Yoshi in Japan, Rina in St Kilda and from my new contacts on the train, Neil and Elaine. The trip home with Gary was solid. We got seats and we smiled all the way home in the less- packed train.

 

The bye beckons and we all get to recover from the roller-coaster ride that is being a Saints supporter.

 

Come Wednesday, the new AFL Women’s team clubs were announced and it is a historic day for women’s footy (though a disappointment that the Saints missed out on the opportunity to be part of the first wave of history). I will just have to keep supporting the Western Bulldogs women’s team with my sister until the Saints get a team of their own, but I will barrack for all the women who get to make history. A sunny week indeed.

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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. Hi Yvette,

    The first 20 minutes were so slow and unlike how we have been playing this year. But we played well after it, didn’t we?

    I’m glad that you enjoy the game with Gary, Marianne and Daniel in the lovely sunny weather.

    I hope the bye week rests players well and boys play well in the rest of the season. It would be great if we finish 8th or above this year.

    Go Saints!

    Yoshi

  2. John Butler says:

    Yvette, you don’t just chat on trains. Let’s be honest, you chat. Full stop. Period.

    And more power to you for it.

    I commend Daniel on his fortitude in keeping the faith whilst surrounded by pagans. Having grown up in Moorabbin, I have some idea what has confronted him.

    Yoshi, the Blues were mainly to blame for that first 20 minutes. And yes, you did play well after that.

    Cheers

  3. Well done to the Saints, Yvette. An especially encouraging win.

    Are you a “roof open” person ??

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