Finals Week 1 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Feeling the dogs breath and love at a distance.

St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs
4.40 PM Saturday 3 October
The Gabba



Colin turning away from a Western Bulldogs goal.


Alone but connected via messages. Knowing all the other Saints supporters in Victoria are feeling exactly the same. There.  Not there. Alone, or with household members. It’s the first final for the Saints I haven’t attended since 2000, and it felt strange settling in my kitchen with puppy Colin for company.


Even sister Denise was going for St Kilda.  Bulldogs had one, she said, in 2016. “It’s a weird year,” she said, “So weird, it’s only right that the Saints get the flag.”  She’s doing the getting ahead of ourselves for all the Saints who can’t bear to think past Saturday afternoon.


We can’t even get ahead of ourselves when we are four goals up in the fourth.  But that is getting ahead of myself.


In the kitchen, alone with the TV but surrounded by Saints just like me in their own bubbles, we watched a great game of footy.


Seeing both teams line up, arm in arm. Excitement and anticipation.


Whistle blowing and Josh Bruce gets the first goal in the wrong colours!  Thumping his chest with his jumper, and I worried momentarily that this would be the game he would kick accurately and put us away.


Captain Jarrod Geary had his best game that I have ever witnessed.  He started with great play and a pass to Tim Membrey, who answered with a great team goal.


Glenn from the USA, Denise, Rina, Yoshi in Japan, Kiyoshi the other side of Caulfield, Hayley at her parents, Yariv and his girls Sienna and Emilia, my grandkids, Zamir (my old partner) from his nursing home, Danielle and Luke (my first grandson) watching in Dingley, Trav from Royal Melbourne Hospital, Uncle Bob, Gary, Daniel and his housemates.  All watching with me, without me, together.


Western Bulldogs are defending well. There are shadows and sunlight speckling the Gabba. The fans of both teams are noisy and carrying their teams with them. The quarter is slow scoring.  Lots of blockages until Jason Johannisen gets a free and goals. Max King answers moments later, before Hayden Crozier snaps back, from another free.


There is desperate play as the Saints get it forward again, only for Jarryn Geary to miss a sitter.  Even after a moment’s deep breath and centering himself, his kick is off.


It’s quarter time and the Bulldogs are ahead by 5 points.


The sun is going down, Colin is asleep nearby and it is on again. Too much kicking backwards, again, and we turn over the ball.  I turn my back to the TV to grab Colin, I need my comfort dog, and Jack Lonie sneaks one through.  Mitch Wallis answers from yet another free. Membrey marks and sends it forward, and the beautiful tall forward King claims the ball and doesn’t miss. The lead keeps changing. Dan Hannebery is having a great afternoon, and Paddy Ryder is dominating ruck and marking around the ground, often following up his first efforts by groundwork down low.  He is sparkling.


Ryder is rewarded for excellent work with a goal and hugs all round, and big kisses sent from all over Australia and the world. Colin can’t take the pressure from his mum, me, and has escaped outside.


Saints lead by 7 points at half time.


The Saints are fighting hard and have repeat entries. Membrey marks from Ryder and sends it through for a goal. It’s taken up the other end too easily and Dunkley replies. Dogs and Saints miss the big sticks. Geary marks and goals.  Beautiful. Ryder gets another from a mark. We are 19 points ahead, before Dan Butler runs like the wind and kicks truly. Bulldogs miss a few, even with Ben Long giving away a free kick in their forward line. (He is later reported).


Saints ahead by 4 goals in the last quarter. What could go wrong?


Nick Coffield has three great intercepts in a row, which shows the Western Bulldogs were spending way to much time in their forward line.  Wallis gets a free, but Carlisle marks in defense.  The Dogs keep pounding it forward.  Coffield again, great defensive mark. Marcus Bontempelli misses a goal, Jack Macrae sprays one before Aaron Naughton starts the true onslaught.


Sixteen points the difference. Eight minutes to go.


There is a Saints response with careful, accurate passes which land in Captain Geary’s capable hands and he pulls back the margin. But the Dogs are on fire. Lachie Hunter fires one through for a goal. Saints get it back but Jack Billings only scores a behind.


I am yelling a lot.  Colin is now trapped in my excited arms. The other Doggies are just not giving up. Dunkley marks but scores a behind. SHIT. Tom Liberatore, goal. Wallis misses another. NOOOOO, Caleb Daniels scores truly and there’s only 3 points in it.


OMG, OMG, OMG…we can’t lose from here, can we… Colin is being squished, Saints and Dog supporters from wherever are having conniptions and the ball is in the Saints hands and they are slowing everything down and the seconds tick, Colin is squeezed and the siren goes.  I am crying and cuddling my own Doggy and the Saints are through to the semi’s and the texts and calls start coming through.  Do the Saints HAVE to always give us heart attacks? Really? No easy cruise through to the final with a 4 goal lead???


I am shocked to earth when I see Paddy Ryders face.  It says it all.  He’s done for the season even before we get the proper news.  He knew.


I get a call from Denise, a call from Rina. Glenn in the USA shared through the whole game is wiped. ‘Woooooo’ he sends. Hayley, ‘I can hardly breathe, I am in tears.’ Luke my grandson, sends, ‘We Won!!!’. John Butler says ‘never in doubt’. Kate O’Halloran, a Doggies supporter, graciously texts ‘congrats lovely’.  Kasey Symons sent ‘Go Saints’. Friends Jenny and Kate who I haven’t seen for 2 years text, ‘exciting news for you’. Sara, my art friend and Hawks supporter sent ‘Hooray, I’m so happy for you.’ Saint Marianne from Tai Chi sent ‘Yay!!! I was hiding behind the fridge at the end!’. Cousin Sue, ‘Hi Yvette, go Saints’. Mate David, ‘Congrats Yvette do you have any fingernails left?’, and as a Richmond supporter he adds, ‘Don’t worry, I will be humble in victory next week’. Heather, a Pies supporter, ‘You must be very happy’. Zamir calls but I am on the phone to Uncle Bob.


I get a Facetime call from extra son Yariv and grandchildren Sienna and Emilia who congratulate me on the win.


I am surrounded by love.  As are the Saints as they sing their song. There is sadness too for Paddy Ryder, who was BOG. Footy is a tough mistress/master and can give you joy and break your heart in the one afternoon. Seeing the Doggies players after the game left me sad, but not sad enough.


Elimination Final. Tick. Survived. Now onto next week. Love at a distance. It will have to do.


ST KILDA                          2.2     5.4     9.6     10.7     (67)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     3.1     4.3     5.6     9.10     (64)


St Kilda:
King 2, Ryder 2, Membrey 2, Geary 2, Lonie, Butler
Western Bulldogs: Daniel, Hunter, Liberatore, Crozier, Johannisen, Dunkley, Wallis, Bruce, Naughton


St Kilda:
Geary, Hannebery, Ryder, Clark, Howard, Membrey, Carlisle
Western Bulldogs: Smith, Bontempelli, Williams, Crozier, Daniel 


St Kilda:
Ryder (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Cordy (ankle)


To return to the  home page click HERE


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.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


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. Congrats, Yvette.
    A real finals-type win.

    Yes, desperately sad for Paddy Ryder.

  2. John Butler says

    Classic Saints effort – never make it too easy.

    But it must be said, they would have been robbed to lose it.

    It sounds like poor old Colin earned his kibbles. :)

    Ryder was magnificent. Football can be cruel.

    Strap in for Friday night.

  3. Hi Yvette,

    It’s great you talk about love. Our passions and love must have brought us a win. We avoided to get a heart attack that I was worried when Libba kicked a goal.

    Love is important in such a tough and strange time, isn’t it? Footy connects people and creates love. Sainters love the Saints with passions.

    Jake Carlisle having left the hub is a reflection of love – family matters. What Paddy Ryder says for us shows his love to the club and towards us supporters. And his teammates and fans love him. I miss both Paddy and Jake but wish them all the best.

    Let’s cheer our boys up loud with love and passions on Friday. It’s time to smash Richmond.

    Go the mighty Saints!


  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Hi Yvette. Colin might need to be elsewhere this week for his own safety! Great pic and a lovely contribution. Having read a lot of your work I have a bit of an idea on what it must have been like for you and others.
    I was out and about but did manage to be home just after the start of the last quarter. I’m neutral but I thought “Oh No” a few times during that stint.
    I just can’t see it happening this week but I hope I’m wrong.
    Best wishes

Leave a Comment