Robert Bath, Ballarat Community Radio and The Women’s Footy Almanac. Listen out tomorrow on 99.9 Voice FM.

A photo Margaret took of a young girl at the game after swapping places, so the girl could see her heroes.


As I prepare for a radio chat with Robert Bath from 99.9 Voice FM – Ballarat Community Radio on Wednesday 4th at 11.30am, we have exchanged many text messages.  Robert interviewed me when Siren’s Call came out in May. A Saints man and part of the Ballarat Saints supporter group, he could relate to my book and my Saintliness. And the connections that footy makes between people.


Robert told his sister Margaret that we would be speaking, and she sent the following message. This story is why I love footy and the Footy Almanac as a place to share tales. This here is gold.


“[Re the last game at Casey Fields between Melbourne and Fremantle] It was a most memorable occasion.  It was my first day out after my lung operations. We had planned it and I had looked forward to it.  I had bought Gus, my walker [frame] and I knew I could handle the distance with him by my side.  When my husband Ian and I pulled up, there were cars everywhere and we were going to have to park way down the back paddock.


Ian poked his head out the window and said we had a disabled person on board, that our sticker hadn’t arrived yet and we were waiting for it in the mail. The assistant said, “No worries mate, tell them I sent you”, and we drove down near the entrance and got a park near the main gate.


We watched all the little girls skipping along, jumping and twirling as only little kids do. With the help of my walker, we make our way to the boundary. We were directed to the other side of the stand, out of the sun, past the disabled area (without the sticker we couldn’t stay here) and near the wet area. Here we found ourselves on the other side of the race, a temporary fence and we thought this was a good place and it allowed me to lean on the fence when I stood.


From this position, five rows back from the boundary, we could see the girl run on and off the field. We had a bird’s eye view of the coaches, camera crew and the ground.  We watched as the place filled up with young families with youngsters in footy colours: the pink tutus and boots with footy jumpers. (Later, when I heard the Grand Final would be moved, I remembered this scene of all the families walking to the game and was sad that so many families would miss out on this type of experience.)


Rob, it was like remembering where you were when Elvis died. You knew where you were.  Well, I remember where I was when women’s football not only came of age, but gave a voice to those who will never know that the opportunity wasn’t theirs before. Our role now is to encourage, like we do with all, encourage all players to be their best. So it was quite special to me Rob and that’s why I now like to see the Bath (family) girls and their sports.”


The image of tutus and footy jumpers and boots are now forever in my mind.


It also turns out that in the second half of the footy, my group was standing behind Margaret and Ian, with the Montrose Footy team of girls between. Robert has sent Margaret my piece from The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017.


Robert messaged me again to let me know his co-host will be Veronica Punshon, “mother of a heap of girls and now a stack of grandchildren”. Veronica is a Clunes girl (Bob Davis’s home town) and played in women’s footy games as a curtain raiser to the main game back in the day. Veronica also helped call the Girls Pink Footy games live on air between Clarendon and Loreto College, and has done interviews with girl footballers between 2007-10.


For more stories, listen out for the interview. They don’t have a podcast so real time will have to do.

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.

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