Round 1 – St Kilda v Melbourne: Big Birthday Match

Saturday, 25 March 2017
4:35 pm (5:35 am York, UK and 2:35 pm Kyoto)
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne


Recent years’ discussions about season openers played between Carlton and Richmond have been heating up. Many fans (other than Bluebaggers or those from the Tigerland) are unhappy with the fixture.


On Friday, our great contributor Malcolm Ashwood, aka Rulebook, starts discussing the issues on his Facebook page and many friends have made comments that are interesting. Even blockbusters are hot topics to discuss and equality of holding big games is suggested by some of his Facebook friends. I think all clubs should be eligible to hold blockbusters.


St Kilda have Maddie’s Match (v Richmond, Round 16) to honour Maddie Riewoldt (Saint Nick’s sister and Tiger Jack’s cousin) and Pride Game (v Sydney, Round 9) to respect LGBTIQ community. I admire my club to hold such great blockbusters for good causes.


Expressing my opinions for equalisation in AFL, my St Kilda match reports in 2017 will be entitled with honours and/or respects.


Big Birthday Match is named to celebrate my girlfriend Katie’s auntie Lucia’s birthday. It’s exactly on the day when St Kilda plays our first match in the 2017 season against Demons.


Tuning in the ABC Grandstand through AFL App, I hear female voices first. It is Brianna Davey, the vice captain of the Carlton AFLW team. It’s good to have a female commentator. My preference of sports radio station is SEN, but they disappoint me a lot in recent months and coverage of another game. I’m lucky to listen to ABC Grandstand. But her comment suggesting tall Melbourne defenders harden our forward line to attack. What she has to say makes me sad, but I don’t care as I believe St Kilda can win.


The ball is bounced and Demons push hard towards their goal square. But only it is a behind that relieves me. Then Armitage tackles O. McDonald bravery and is awarded a free kick. He kicks straight to Billings who turns over and kicks the first goal for the game.


After a good goal, the game is played slowly and Dees try to take opportunities at their goal square. Gawn kicks first goal for Demons and they lead by three points. Come on boys!


Melbourne’s another goal worries me, but our champion who has captained for 11 seasons in total plays his classic footy. Riewoldt takes a mark directly in front. He ends his Nick show kicking a straight goal.
Armitage follows and then Gresham covers Memery who tries to score a goal. The young former Swan kicks towards the posts, but Demon defender tries to cut off. Then Gresham picks a ball in front of the post and turns back to score a goal.


Davey commenting St Kilda’s pressures on Demons are great soothes me and the siren sounds. St Kilda lead by 23 points at the first break. It’s a good game and my excitements are high.


At the second quarter, Dees start kicking a goal. But our great Nick carries a big fire scoring his second goal. Nick gives a big birthday present to Lucia. Thanks Nick!


Then suddenly our engine stops. Hungry Demons get bigger tanks in their engines. Biggest margin of 24 points we debit narrows 13.

Our young half forward Weller gets an opportunity to kick a goal directly in front. But he misses! I can’t believe it. At the time I strongly believe we are bouncing back again, but our roads are only going downhill.


Then I remember how we played against “Evils” in the last few matches. Margins always narrowed and then we just won by narrow points. Leigh Montagna’s last seconds goal at Round 11 in 2015 is a good example. It’s so hard to keep writing a note as I feel too sudden pains. Then Demons take a lead and the siren sounds.


At the main break, I remind myself as always that I should be in York as the nature of the love. I should be together with Katie. I really wish I could be in the best mental conditions to cheer our boys up today as well as my talents, skills and positive attitudes blossom fully. I can’t wait going back to York in August.


I have a hope we are bouncing back at the last half quarters, but Melbourne just fire up and St Kilda have no fire extinguisher. Burns are on my skin and they are so painful. And giving out highlights in the third and last quarters is too painful for me.


However St Kilda App changes my mind a bit. I admire young Gresham. After long kicks around the wing done by Dunstan and Weller, Bruce is contested and misses taking a mark. Then our new number four collects the ball closed to the goal posts under congestion and just kicks towards the posts. He is a talented small forward.


Whilst hearing negative outcome on the radio, my wonders come up:
“Did David Schwarz’s moaning on the game commented on his then breakfast show have more power than our boys’ hardworking for more than a decade?
“Have we won enough games in a row against Dees?
“Does our new captain Jarryn Geary have to face tough roads rather than their new coach Simon Goodwin?
“Are Demons’ struggles at Docklands too much and painful?
“Did breaking droughts happened last year not only Western Bulldogs but also Irish Rugby (towards All Blacks) and other sports affect the match?
“Should I have just enjoyed listening to the game rather than taking notes to write this article?
“Are we also defeated by footy experts’ negative comments on us?


But these wonders are the same as the Ox’s worries of the match. I just need to work hard so that I will live in York for a long term for good.


And then our champion Riewoldt lies down on the ground holding his knee. He jumps attempting to catch a ball, but lands awkwardly and slips down. He is off the ground with a stretchers with warm wishes from supporters. Luckily he doesn’t tear off his ACL; that is confirmed in the following day.


Final siren sounds and I switch off the radio straight before having to hear Demons song.


It’s okay to feel sad and devastated with the loss for a while, but we all need to keep positive. Our boys need to play very hard and Richo needs to set strategies such as making spaces towards goal pockets and gaining fast speeds before they attack at the next match against Eagles in Perth. Western Bulldogs lost to Fremantle shockingly at their last home and away match last season at Subiaco, but won against West Coast in the first final footy a fortnight later in the same venue. So St Kilda can win next week. For me as already mentioned, I act well towards the next move to York.


St Kilda have our supports. Katie is caring and looking after me and I do the same to her. We all have supports, so need to keep positive and stay strong. We all aim to achieve our goals.


It’s Mother’s Day in the UK on Sunday. Katie enjoys having a meal with her family for Lucia’s birthday and Mother’s Day. I’m sad for not being able to deliver good footy news for them, but their enjoyment will bring all of us positives in the brand new fresh week. We all are striving to our goals.


ST KILDA 6.2 7.8 9.9 13.12 (90)

MELBOURNE 2.3 9.4 15.7 18.12 (120)


St Kilda: Riewoldt, Gresham, Billings, Steven, Steele
Melbourne: Oliver, Lewis, Gawn, N Jones, Vince, Hogan, Jetta, Garlett

Our Votes
Lewis (MEL 3), Riewoldt (STK 2), Jetta (MEL 1)

Umpires: Chamberlain, Fleer, Ryan

Crowd: 36,249

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.

Leave a Comment