Round 1 – Port Adelaide v St Kilda: And so it begins

AFL Round 1: Port Adelaide v St Kilda
Adelaide Oval
Sunday 27th March 2016 3.20pm
Yvette Wroby

After travelling to every game last year, I found myself in front of the TV, and nervous. This weekend, Melbourne had won, Doggies had won. Maybe, I dreamed, the Saints could pull of yet another minor miracle and cause an upset.


It was such a significant first game of the year for the Saints. Joey Montagna’s 250th game, Sean Dempster’s 150th, and the 200th with Nick Riewoldt as Captain of the Saints. It was a chance for St Kilda to begin the year with a bit of fight, to surprise the league with a less than expected result.


For three quarters it was a game where there was hope that these legends would be celebrated. In the sea of blue which was the Adelaide Oval fans and players, despite the great stadium sing-a-longs, the red, white and black Saints shone for three quarters.


There was everything in this game: great tackles, fast running, superb team work, goal upon goal. Fast breaks from the centre square, and floods of players backing each other up and running towards an open goal and actually goaling.


There were turnovers and stuff ups galore, but it looked so great and it happened pretty evenly between the teams, so who cared? Boak goaled. Lonie goaled. Grisham the Saints first gamer wonders into an empty goal square and slots his first AFL score. We are ahead and I find myself in tears. I won’t be telling this all to my Mum Elfie. She won’t be reading my first footy piece for the year.


Broadbent goals and Riewoldt follows, taking me away from my sad wonderings.


The broadcasters say St Kilda is “developing a mosquito squad”.


Shultz isn’t part of that squad and goals, White from Port hurts his shoulder and sits out the rest of the game. Westhoff goals too. Everyone is running one way and then another, especially when the ball is turned over by Port and Weller bumps one through for the Saints, putting the underdogs in the unlikely position of being in front.


There are lots of Ned Kelly type beards in Port. Is that their thing now? Dixon, their star recruit from Gold Coast, adds to the hairy look.


Saints are ahead by 3 at the end of the first quarter. This is in fact, a little bit of a surprise. I can say (as my sister Denise tells me the Doggies are now, with a big winning margin, the top of the ladder) that there’s great pleasures in surprises.


This buoyed state of mind, along with a large dose of anticipation and trepidation, continue as the game does. Weller and Steven goal, then Gray and Hartlett and Boak. Port now lead. This is more what was expected. Gray slots another one. Bruce and Gilbert and Lonie turn the tide and change the lead before Wingard pushes and builds to make the game 6 points difference. Saints are ahead at half time.


The balance of my universe has changed. Last year I would have rung Mum at half time. She’s have told me of how rough the game is, how she couldn’t watch, how she’d hope the Saints could keep it up. We would talk of her day, who may have rung or visited. She may have complimented me on the post about my cousin’s husband Alfred. It is nearly two months since she died. It feels like yesterday, and it feels like a year ago. The space in my heart occupied by my mother is still full. Sad and full.


The boys come out firing to again divert me from these thoughts. Newnes, then Dixon, Acres and Ebert. Us them, them us. The commentators tell me that it’s the highest ever Saints score at Adelaide Oval. As if to confirm and support this, there are three quick goals to St Kilda via Armitage, Lonie and Bruce. This lifts me and I think what the? It is quickly dissolved and resolved when Port get Ebert and Wines’s late goals to be just 6 points behind St Kilda. We have led in every break so far.


Texts are flying. I am in conversation with Yoshi in Japan, Rina in St Kilda and Denise in Parkville.


And that was the end of the happy times. Of the good, pretty even play. The last quarter showed where the teams were in reality. Even with one less player in rotation, the teal, black and white jumpers were everywhere. Ah Chee, Ebert, Westhoff, R Gray, Wingard, Dixon, Dixon from another free before Riewoldt broke the run (though not the results of the game) by getting his 650th career goal. And St Kilda reached a 100 points. It was a good full stop to the game.


The run of goals to Port distorted the outside view of what was otherwise a good arm wrestle throughout the afternoon. Both teams had something to be working on and to be pleased with. Saints surprised the commentators and their fans.


I messaged Elio, my Port supporting contact from the Italian Restaurant “Cecino” in North Adelaide (I met him last year on my travels), and he was a very worried Port supporter. His response, “You guys scared the s… out of me. Happy Easter.”


I guess that says it all.


Port Adelaide: 4.1 9.2 13.9 20.13 (133)
St Kilda: 4.4 9.8 14.9 15.10 (100)


Port: R Gray 4, Evert 3, Dixon 3, Wingard 3, Westhoff 2, Ah Che, Schultz, Broadbent, Wines, Boak.
St Kilda: Lonie 3, Bruce 2, Weller 2, Riewoldt 2, Acres, Armitage, Gresham, Newnes, Steven, Gilbert.

Port: I didn’t notice them til last quarter : There were a lot of Gray’s and many beards
St Kilda: Hickey best game ever, Steven, Gilbert and Armitage and our defence.

Injuries: Port: White (shoulder)

Deboy, Nicholls, Kamolins.


43,807 (sounded like 50 when Saints ahead, 100,000 when Port powered to the finish.)


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. Cathryn McDonald says

    Great report. You guys did give us a scare! It was a quality game and I reckon you guys could be one of the bolters this year. I liked how our boys toughed it out this week though, and that our fitness advantage might be back with the new interchange cap. Also it was great to see Dixon get over his stage fright and get into the game in the end.

    I’ll let that comment on the crowd slide. When it comes to the Portress you really have to be there… it was great to have our teal ring back with the whole of Level 1 packed and rocking, riding all the bumps. Umpire No. 15 hasn’t been forgotten over the off-season…

    And yes, beards are our new thing. I give you this summer masterpiece from’s Steph Say:

  2. Cat from the Country says

    Hi Yvette, I feel your pain on both fronts.To lose one’s Mum is very hard at any time. To lose your footy soulmate is even worse. After26 years I still talk to my mum, but not a out footy!

    Your Saints promised you so much and gave you a great game, 100 points, and much hope for the future.

  3. Paul Buxton says

    With you Yvette. Mine left 30 years ago and the pain never goes. But you have some good players there and that Hickey killed us all day and I reckon you have something to look forward to with your coach too.

  4. Hi Yvette.

    I listened to the live radio coverage until the Midway of the last quarter. So great team work done mainly by Montagna, Armitage, Steven, Newnes, Gilbert and Lonie. I was so excited to see our boys matching inn.

    Sadly after having had to disconnect with the radio, we went on the downhill. Thanks for your update by the way.

    It was sad to see we lost by 33 points at the end even we were in front by 21 points at the third quarter. However I agree with you that it was good to see we scored 100 points in Adelaide. We are improving.

    We hope we will fight well against Bulldogs on Saturday to honour Nick and his late sister, Maddie, even if it would be a tough game, don’t we?

    Go Saints and all the best.


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