Round 10 – Richmond v St Kilda Marvel: Land of superheroes and super villains.

Saturday May 26th, 1.45 pm

MCG

Part 1

Docklands will soon have yet another corporate name, but at least this time, it’s a little more fun to play with.  How boring is Etihad, Telstra and so forth compared to Marvel Oval? Give me the goodies and baddies any day. In the contest of footy, heroes and villains are everywhere. Maybe the players get to dress up in superhero gear instead of footy jumpers. Maybe instead of missing shots straight out from goals, they can use their spider powers and spring the ball through on a thread. Or have an Iron Man suit to stop Paddy McCartin from getting any more head knocks. Or bulk up all our new boys to fast track them into the Hulk – sans anything illegal of course.

All this was floating around my mind this weekend as I took in three games of footy. The first, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, was at the elite stadium of the MCG. Great battles and power struggles have happened in this stand. Sorrow and happiness.  Wins and losses.

Outside the stadium there seemed to be masses, yet not so much once we finally found some seats up on 4th level. It was hard to see the numbers on the back of the jumpers and it is a good thing I know the shapes of my players (and the shapes of the unmistakable talented Dustin Martin – a superhero in any colours.)

With the lovely company of mate Phil, my cousin Gary and Uncle Bob, we sat up in the tower and watched quite a good game unfold in front of us. Unfortunately, Jake Carlisle managed to hit Jack Riewoldt in the head post mark sending Riewoldt off for the rest of the game. And on top of that, their other stars shone even brighter. (Carlisle out for 2 weeks and hopefully Jack returns to his best on recovery.)

At half time, there was a 13-point deficit to the Saints and we were left with a feeling that we were both in this game.  We just had to contain Dusty and Nick Vlastuin, Dan Butler and especially gun forward Josh Caddy who got 6 on the night. We had our own Captain (not America) in Jarrod Geary who had a stunning game, and Paddy McCartin showed a lot up the ground and helping the smaller players get to the ball. He wore a helmet for the first time, but no cape. Tim Membrey actually slotted two goals straight, and Jade Gresham upped last years top score against Richmond of 5 and got 6. With four goals in a row in the third, Saints fans were up and about and Richmond woke up.  They whacked us in the last, by being more accurate and continuing to benefit off Saints errors.

All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon in the sunshine and warmth, with an improving young team, with good company and a dash of hope and magic. I even got to catch up with fellow Almanac writer and St Kilda tragic Braham Dabscheck post-game.  We sat in the cooling afternoon on the outskirts of the G and talked about life and our Saints.

Staying later meant I missed the crush at Richmond Station and met Saints supporters Gloria and Gerard and together we dreamed of an improved Saints side in the future.

Part 2

All good superhero events from Marvel have sequels. Some of the sequels were better than the first offerings. The Southern Saints played Essendon and dominated the whole game. Think Black Widow, Spider Woman, Electra, Jessica Jones and Raven. Big strong women. Women who know how to fight for a win and a cause. What was great about the game, other than winning, was that it was played at the Trevor Barker Oval, home of the Sandringham Zebras, St Kilda’s affiliated team. It is close to home, a beautiful oval, and I stood right beside the bench and again watched Peta Searles magnificent coaching. The whole team shone today, and I noticed that Peta didn’t have to instruct as much as the first game of the season, it’s like the team knew what she wanted, and executed perfectly. I got to chat and mix with so many Saints staff and supporters throughout the day, listened to Peta’s instructions at quarter time, and watch the Southern Saints star.

Even though Essendon goaled first through Alexandra Quigley and it was the only major score the first quarter, the Saints answered in the second with Gabriella De Angelis, Kayla Ripari (Essendon goaled through Beth Kearney) and Alison Drennan and Courtney Munn. The Saints were on fire even with Quigley goaling again just before half time.

I was close enough to ask players who were on my side of the fence about the rules keeping players in zones.  I asked them what they thought, and they agreed it helped with the congestion.  To me, I felt I was back into the early days of my footy watching with players in recognisable positions.  They had to go back to their positions (or near their original positions) every time the ball was bounced anytime during the game.  I have to say, I thought it helped around the ball.

I chatted to the best mate of one of the players as we stood next to the fence. When her friend lacked confidence about footy and life, her friend was there to reassure.  And come to every game to support her friend.

It was a red, white and black goal fest: Courtney Munn (remember number 13 – she will be drafted in AFLW19) kicked the only 3rd quarter goal and Eleanor Brown, Tara Bohanna, Samantha Johnson and Alison Brown (formally of St Kilda Sharks and AFLW) rounded off a great game. Southern Saints 9.6.90 to Essendon 3.6.24.

 

Part 3

The third sequel turned out to be great too.  Great for meeting extended networks of footy people and organisers. Passionately involved in their local club as well as their senior one. It’s a very relaxed afternoon of a still warm day. Marvel Stadium was a long way from this beach suburb.

Post VFLW match, I went up to the stand and found that Peter Holden had called the game for Women’s Australian Rules Football Radio.  After his broadcast, we chatted.  Peter is recording the Women’s Footy Almanac Pie Night panel for next Wednesdays show. I haven’t seen him since ‘Siren’s Call’ writing in 2015 and publicity in 2017. It was lovely to catch up. Peter was waiting post game for an interview with Peta Searle.

I watched as the women waited for the Sandringham Zebra’s to get out of the changing room and onto the field.  Upgrades are needed at this ground, as in with most others. I left my bags in the stand and again found myself amongst the Southern Saints and entourage.  Talking with faces and people who are becoming familiar. Catching up with Southern Saints runner Francis Leach.  Congratulating Peta Searle. And saying g’day to forwards coach Dale who had introduced herself to me when I went to the Thursday night practice at the beginning of their season.

Back in my seat for the first quarter of the Zebra’s v Werribee, the elderly gentleman behind struck up a conversation with me.  Bill was quite chatty and asked about my St Kilda history.  Then he said, “Do you recognise the fellow next to me”. It was his brother, Ian Cooper (ex St Kilda champion and Premiership player) and his wife, enjoying the only footy they come and watch these days.  I could tell by their commentary they were not happy with the modern game.  But when they wondered if I knew who kicked several goals, I used my footy record and then the latest VFL/VFLW app to tell us all that we couldn’t see.  We joked about the numbers being way to small up the other end of the ground.  It was an afternoon of supercharged chatting and catching up. Not a villain in sight.

And on top of this fun, the Zebra’s were creaming the opposition.  These are the players knocking on the door for a recall or an elevation into the senior side.  And it was weird seeing old hand David Armitage running around in the different colours but getting 39 disposals. St Kilda listed players Josh Battle kicked 3, rookie Ray Connellan 3, Rowan Marshal, 1.1, Billy Longer 1, Darren Minchington 1, and Nick Coughlan 1. The rest of the Zebra’s kicked the remainder of the 21 goals. It was a massive goal fest, and I hope it rubs off on the senior side when we play top of the ladder West Coast Eagles over at their superhero stadium.

The final conquest in this super day was the superb hot dog I just had to have.  I cannot walk past one of these stands, with the smell of sausages on the BBQ and the smell of fried onion.  I received the only ready sausage and walked back to the car and regular life fully satisfied with the MARVELous weekend of footy.

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.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Muirden says:

    MARVELously comprehensive article, Yvette!

    Saturday I also soaked up the sensational sunshine at the Tiges v Saints game. Sat with Jack Higgins mother and her extensive family at ground level in the Ponsford stand. We were a very vocal Turbo Cheer Squad. Never more so than witnessing first-hand the third quarter goal kicked by Higgins which was overturned by the farcical Score Review System! Anyway, I walked away from the game a proud and happy Sainter. It wasn’t a blow-out and there were some promising signs for our young team’s future.

    On Sunday I, too, was at Trevor Barker Oval. Didn’t get to watch the AFLW game since it coincided with a Saints Player Sponsor function I attended at the ground. Once that wrapped up, however I did get out to watch the Sandringham Zebras v Werribee match. Good old fashioned suburban ground atmosphere. Always love watching games there. Surprised we didn’t bump into one another! Given all the familiar faces you caught up with, did you happen to spy Shane Warne sitting in the coach’s box with Aaron Hamill?

    Looking forward to seeing you et al tonight at the Women’s Footy Almanac Pie Night, Yvette.

Leave a Comment

*