NAB Pre-Season – St Kilda v Hawthorn: A Funny Thing Happened… Again.

NAB Preseason: St.Kilda vs Hawthorn

Thursday 19th March 2015

Ethiad Stadium 7.30pm


A funny thing happened….again


A Thursday night, Caulfield Station, a platform filled with hundreds of exiting Monash University students, and me choosing this place to put on my 2015 Saints scarf. I am immediately approached by the sweetest 80 year old (bar my Mum) who says,

“How do you think they’ll go tonight?”

I start laughing. Are the footy gods really sending me out to say:

“I think we’ll be pummelled but not tonight’s not about that really.”

And so it begun. Another moment with Madeline, a Washington DC born woman, married to an Australian citizen in the States, and bought back here in 1960, to be part of the Saints best era yet. She was all dressed up and doing something unusual for herself, going to a pre-wedding dinner of friends in the city, probably only staying an hour because of the cautious stance of not wanting to be out late on her own. (Yes, Australia, where young women attacked in parks by maniacs are warned to perhaps not go out alone. Sensible advice when such a one is still at large. But it doesn’t end with young women. Women of all ages have lived with this all their lives. Here’s a thought. How about men have curfews instead? Or men cannot be out after a certain time unless they have a female escort to keep them behaving? But I digress.)

Madeline and I were given train seats by two lovely young women. We talked all the way into Flinders Street about the Saints, family, snow in DC, and life. I told her this happens to me all the time. People come up to me and just start football conversations. She’s in the book I’m writing, I said. She has my card. Another soul walking around Melbourne lightens my life.

Madeline’s family lived all around Australia, her daughter and husband went troppo and stayed in Darwin after a wet season, a son who was a roadie and in Melbourne currently for a music festival, another family living up near the Dandenong’s. You can find out a lot about a person from Caulfield to Flinders. One of her sons played footy for a while too, and they used to attend games at Moorabbin regularly.

Madeline tells me a funny story as we talk about the USA’s last two freezing winters. She loves and misses the snow, and so two friends decide to take her to Mt. Bulla one year, but it rained the night before and there was nothing there when she arrived. It made me think of Crocodile Dundee’s line “That’s not a knife, this is a knife”.

We both remember the huge snow storms, the building of snowmen, and the magnificent look of life all white and pristine. Where snow is talked about in feet not in inches.

I was lucky to be able to stay on the train to Southern Cross, surprised at how excited I was to be headed to the footy again, though alone at present, I would be sitting with fellow Travelling Saints and the Moorabbin Wingers. Sitting in Aisle 35 instead of my usual 37. A different perspective.

I sat behind Shaebee and her mother Libby. I follow Shaebee on Twitter so I introduced myself once I saw her swash of beautiful bright red hair. A mother and daughter football team, having lost the rest of their mob over the years to ill health. Libby is an Angel of the Saints, one of the women who go and cook lunches for the boys at Seaford. She says they are a lovely bunch of blokes. Libby remembers going to the footy with her Mum at the age of 5 and standing on wooden crates so she could see. Or being sent in at Moorabbin and getting the seats first before the slower adults made their way up to the stands, in the years before the family had reserved seats. Shaebee works in distribution, and it’s OK she says. Her passion is the Saints and her tweeting, I feel. Michael E comes after he finishes work at Channel Nine studio’s just next door, and settles in to the night. These are solid Saints people, sitting near each other every footy season. We’re joined by others they know.

Behind us are Hawks supporters. All is friendly, and the game begins.   Not so friendly. The Saints entry is weird, no run around but all else is the same. I sing the song out loud, we rarely sing at the end anymore.

Hawks start with intent, quick goals to Breust, Rioli, Smith, Langford and Gunston, while the Saints best Stevens and Dunstan kick two behinds. Babies versus men. Utter perfection in skill and confidence versus errors galore. Nevertheless, the intention is there and the Saints are having a crack.

Hawthorn just play Premiership style football with the infant Saints after that, quick four goals by Lewis, Gunston (2), Breust before Weller, bless his soul, puts one in for the Saints 12 minutes in. The Saints crowd around me all get into it. We are all clapping and cheering and the wags come out to play:

“This is the year Saints!”

“Finals Football!”

“Lock it in!”

“Premiership Contenders!” meaning Saints not the Hawks.

We are laughing and that says something huge about the Saints supporters. We are there no matter what. The Hawk family behind ask about Nick Riewoldt, and I let them know the sad news about his sister Maddie and her passing. We know he’ll be there when he’s ready.

Come half time, Saints are 0.1.3. 9 and Hawks 0.11.7. 73. In the bathroom, Cheryl befriends me and we talk through the rest of half time. She’s here with her disabled son, an Essendon supporter. (That’s not his disability). Her husband and his family are all Don’s, while her parents and daughters are Sainters. Cheryl is so enthusiastic that she and her brother swore to get Saints tattoos in 2009, despite the loss. Her brother piked, but Cheryl proudly showed me her stickman ’66 on her ankle, proud of her only tattoo and the only premiership when she was five years old.

The lambs came back to the slaughter of third term. I admire them for even returning to the field, let alone battling it out with the Titans. The Hawks continue to show why they are Premiership material, with Mitchell, Lewis, Roughhead (how brilliant is he) all goaling before our number one draft pick Paddy McCartin gave the Saints something to cheer about with a beautiful goal. Not bad as he had the double tag all night usually reserved for Nick Riewoldt.

Roughhead and Sicily party on until Weller gives us a Super Goal. Hurtung and Lewis again before Hickey gets one back, and Lewis puts another sword through our hearts. Despite being so far ahead, behind us some Hawks get ugly with comments when a free doesn’t go their way, and I wonder at the footy angst. Just enjoy folks. Take a breath. Enjoy the show. You have nothing to complain about and life is pretty good with the cup still warm in your hands. It’s also ugly out there as the game continues, the scores are Adults: to Infants

Bruce gives us one goal in the final quarter, while Roughead has more sun, McEvoy joins in. Saints are to Hawks I was left pondering who would return to Round 1 with Montagna and Wright now joining our growing injury list.

It was great to be back, even if the trains took too long to come, I had company home and had enjoyed a night without my usual mob. Making new friends. And getting used to this parallel universe of losing. And meeting new Sainters.

This year, I will be attempting to go to every game in Australia and New Zealand. Hopefully meeting Saints from all over and any Almanackers I can along the way. This final Saints NAB game felt like the beginning of the journey, to be enjoyed whatever the end story might be.

Yvette Wroby



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. I don’t know how you do it with such graciousness Yvette. My mob are ready to lynch Bucks and the season hasn’t started.

    Best to you.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    I don’t know how you do it with such grace either Yvette.
    You must operate on a higher level of decency than the rest of us. Or you are just patient hoping for a beautiful upset like my Dogs beating the Pies on Saturday and the Saints beating Freo? last year.
    When Saint Nick is back and a few others they’ll give the Giants a run for their money in Round 1.

  3. Hi Yvette,

    I wish the exsiting Monash University students could have been to the Docklands with you to watch the game (indeed I wish they could have been to St Kilda supports – Saint angles or Kings).

    We are young, but it would be great to see how we are ‘grown up’, wouldn’t it? I hope we will be like Doggies who had a huge win over Collingwood last Saturday.

    I hope young Saints go marching in more and more soon :)

    Have a good week/


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