Round 13 – Brisbane v St Kilda: It’s a LOT

  1. Fan Zone


I have been fan-ning a lot over the last 10 years, enough to write my own book Siren’s Call in 2015-6, help edit two, The Women’s Footy Almanacs (2016-17), and write consistently for the Footy Almanac since 2010.


My first piece was on September 16th, 2010, about my four-week trip to the USA and the 5 Saints games I viewed.  The article was in real time, as I was watching our close win against Richmond, before returning in time for the Grand Final, Grand Final re-play and another broken heart.


Footy, writing and life lift us up and dump us down. COVID-19 is having the same effect, with much more dumping down. It’s hard to keep the spirits up, and without grand kids to entertain me and friendships to sustain me, footy has at least been a glimmer of sunlight in my life, especially as my team have been doing better.


It was with all this in the background that I received an email from the St Kilda Football Club several weeks back to invite me to nominate to be in the Fan Zone for my beloved St Kilda.  Who could say no?  I missed out on selection for the next game but got the call up for the Brisbane v St Kilda round.


Now it was time to decorate and put my lazy creative soul to the test.  With Denise, my sister, watching on Skype, we draped and designed to give maximum affect to the red, white and black decorations: flags draped over bookcases and chairs, my sewn together scarves draped over the double doors behind, signage to my grand-children and to brother Andre, friend Glenn and mate Yoshi in the background, flogger next to the chair, and another Saints blanket covering the recliner, I was all set. Denise gave the thumbs up and all I had to do was to re-stick the big Saints flag behind me on the day.


Tick. Tick. Tick. All done.


Emails were sent.  Instructions given. Times to tune in and zoom in sent. Production instructions. Registering, logging in, pre-recording the cheer for the Saints entry onto the ground and getting to meet the other Saints supporters one by one as they clicked into Zoom.  A chat with this one and that. A few mates sharing a house. A father and son. A couple of couples. A lone one or two. And Nicky Winmar. Nicky is always happy to chat and join in with Saints fans. He says g’day to us all before leaving to eat his overcooked roast, while the rest of us had the pre-match break and got supplies all ready.


The first fan zone, eagerly awaited by my grandchildren, and those far and near, didn’t feature yours truly.  I got texts and calls, ‘we didn’t see you Nanny!’


Then we realised that although we could all chat to each other in the fan zone, and chat we did, none of us could hear the game itself on Zoom.  Being ever the organiser, I called the Producer (his name and mobile was one our sheet of instructions) and let him know that none of us could hear the game. (You can watch on your TV but the timing was out with the commentary and play, so it ended up being too confusing to listen to that sound). I also asked if I could be included in the next shot as the grandkids were asking! He said they rotate, and I’d definitely be in.


All through the game, there were two highlights.  Every Saints goal, Nicky got his digeridoo and puffed out a few notes in celebration.  We would cheer him on, and I would wave my banner. And we continued to chat throughout the game, some giving commentary, questioning umpiring decisions, and just generally creating the atmosphere you get when being at a game together.  The noise and conversation.  The chatter. On top of that, Nicky gave out his email to those interested in buying his art that we could see behind him.  He is in lockdown in Melbourne too, and is getting creative to pass his time.


Early on in the Zoom hook-up, Nicky had asked if we’d read the article about Robert Muir.  I said I had seen it but hadn’t read it yet. More on that to come.


The game was all over the shop.  Saints were lucky not to be totally creamed by an attacking but inaccurate Brisbane Lions outfit, who seemed to dominate most of the game. And the Lions were lucky that Saints inaccuracy stopped them stealing the game in the last. The game ended up being disappointing for the Fans in the Zone, but the experience was wonderful to share.



Yvette top left, Nicky Winmar bottom left


  1. Robert Muir

Game night, I read the full article on my ABC app by Russell Jackson titled ‘The persecution of Robert Muir is a story football doesn’t want to hear’ and felt deep and abiding sadness and shame. The full story of the racism Robert Muir faced, the name giving, the assaults by fans throwing and spitting, the treatment by umpires conspiring against him, the rampant abuse thrown at him by opposition players and fans was terrible enough. The part of his story that tore shreds through my heart was his experience of his own team-mates.


As Jackson writes:


‘In a humiliating incident that still rankles, a nervy and shy Muir walked into the showers after his first training session and was urinated on by one of the club’s star players. Looking to teammates for support, Muir was crestfallen when they responded with peals of laughter.’


Jackson continues:


‘Plenty of St Kilda people swear Muir was both respected for his prodigious ability and well-liked by teammates in those years’.

Muir himself says he still ‘bleeds’ for the club, and reveres Neil Roberts for his many acts of friendship. Muir can think of no more poignant display of his love for St Kilda than the request that his ashes be spread on the Moorabbin wing, in front of the infamous ‘Animal Enclosure’.


But he finds it hard to forget the lonely moments, the lack of empathy and support.


“What could I do?” he asks.


“No back-up. Nobody standing up for me. People got sick of hearing the excuse that I’d been abused.”


“They told me I had to accept it. There was nothing they could do in those days. Maybe they could have, but they didn’t.”


Urinated on by a St Kilda star player? No back up. Nobody standing up for him. Other than Neil Roberts, no acts of friendship? Of course, he couldn’t accept it.  It was unacceptable.


I couldn’t help being thankful that when Nicky Winmar went through the abuse, he at least had his teammate and friend, Gilbert McAdam, and perhaps better team mates generally. Together they made a stand in the game. Winmar’s symbol of defiance was understood and admired.  Robert Muir’s stand, taking his jumper off, was not recognised all those years before.


This article stands out as a witness statement. Supporters set up a GO FUND ME page and the money was raised for his shoulder operations and a bit more.  It gives me a little hope.  St Kilda FC Matt Finnis apologies on behalf of a Club, a Club since his stewardship has done so much better than his predecessors. The AFL has apologised, as has Collingwood FC. The Footy Show and its inhabitants and supporters never apologise for anything.  Shame on them yet again.


Robert Muir has stepped back to process what has happened since Jacksons’ article.


Yet abuse and racism persists.  It’s time to root it out.


  1. ChicksTalkingFooty JoyFM


One of the terrific developments in the footy media landscape has been the upsurge in women’s voices in Podcasts and radio, and I have been a keen listener to both the Chicks and The Outer Sanctum for years.  Almanac writer Kate O’Halloran’s Kick Like a Girl plays during the AFLW season too. I was contacted this week when the Chicks were doing a Fan Edition and had a chat about footy, St Kilda, Robert Muir, St Kilda’s AFLW and VFLW teams, The Almanac, Moorabbin as the Saints spiritual home and my Fan Zone experience.


To listen to the show this week, follow this link:


As the COVID crisis hits local VFL Clubs, lend a thought to all the women’s AFLW teams who just got going, and as Richmond FC don’t field a VFLW team this year, I can hear the stalwarts of women’s footy and my mate Dips saying, be careful what you wish for.  Now the women’s VFLW games has been taken over by AFL Vic, (after charging exorbitant fees for local Clubs to continue), only Darebin remains a stand alone Club.  I hope they get all the support that they need to be able to continue, and I hope that once again, women’s footy isn’t put on the back burner because there’s no money…last one in and first one out and all that.


  1. St Kilda AFLW Best and Fairest


Up and down.  Good news and bad. A shortened AFLW season with no finals as COVID-19 hit. And no VFLW to watch the Southern Saints during the year. As preparations are made for AFLW season 2021, team lists are being updated.  We are saying goodbye to a number of players and hello to a few more before the draft. I hope the AFL go to as much trouble getting the AFLW season running in Queensland as they have done for the fellas. Not a word has come from the CEO of AFLW Nicole Livingstone.  Perhaps there’s not much to say. Or too much to say.


But a bright spot is the Saints will be holding a Zoom Best and Fairest, so I get to participate online to join in the celebrations, and invite a few mates. Once again, enjoying something in these weird and difficult times.


Best and Fairest’s are great for remembering.  Replaying of highlights of the season. Watching the performances before they were cut short.  Re-watching some of Caitlin Greiser massive goals, seeing Olivia Vesely spin and weave, admiring Georgia Patrikios and her sleek skills in her first year, watching Rosie Dillon contested possessions and clean disposals, top marking Molly McDonald, seeing Rhiannon Watt and her great contested marks and hitouts, our fierce tackler Nat Exon or ex-Shark Tilly Lucas-Rodd with all her intercept marks and great disposals. And there’s more to look forward to; Tarni White the great rebounder, Clara Fitzpatrick with her intercept possessions, Hanna Priest for her marks and our great tackler Nicola Xenos.  Any of these players could take the inaugural Best and Fairest, with us all watching via our computers and cheering in our own homes.


St Kilda boys play Melbourne Saturday night, and I hope they win.  For me, the weekend will be nicely rounded out by the Best and Fairest of the AFLW Saints girls on Sunday night.


  1. A final thought


This has been a rambling piece, a bit here and a bit there.  Today as I put the green rubbish out, the stuff that the council recycles instead of having my own compost or worm farm, I notice the back of the newspaper has an article on St Kilda.  So I save it from the bin, and remember that on Thursday January 16, 2020, the Saints blokes have taken their training indoors (as did so many other teams) because of the smoke haze from the bush fires that choked Melbourne at that time.


I say to any who will listen, mainly my dog Colin, that we have been through 2 traumas this year, the bushfires we barely recovered from and then COVID-19. Our lives may never be the same.  The world may never be the same.


Lock Down Blues number two is taking its toll.  I hope we are prepared and able to survive another hot summer and more bushfires before AFLW 21 and AFLM 21 come back to help us all again. Nothing will be the same.


Stay safe friends.  Go Saints, all of you. And thank you to the Footy Almanac for helping us bear witness to the everyday.


BRISBANE     2.5       3.6       6.13     6.14 (50)
ST KILDA       1.0       3.2       6.3       7.6 (48)


Berry 2, Bailey, Cameron, Fullarton, McCarthy
St Kilda: Butler 2, Billings, Kent, Marshall, Membrey, Steele


Andrews, Berry, Lester, Bailey, Zorko, McCluggage
St Kilda: Steele, Jones, Marshall, Ross, Hill, Membrey 


St Kilda: Nil



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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. Hi Yvette,

    Footy means a lot, eh?

    It seems great that you had opportunities to chat with Nicky Winmar. How lucky you were!

    As for Robert Muir, I feel his pain and it’s very shamed what others hurt him was interpreted as tolerated. It’s unacceptable indeed. And your point of view on the Footy Show is that I just can’t agree with you more. Have you watched Front Bar who broadcasted Muir’s highlights? Front Bar is far better than Footy Show!

    And your interview on the podcast was great too. Appearing on podcast/radio/TV is such a honour. I was so happy to be on AFL Asia #howsgoodfootyinasia Podcast a few months ago.

    I hope we can attend footy at our favourite Marvel Stadium again in the near future. Hopefully I can do again in 2022.

    Take care


  2. Enjoyed your “rambling” piece, Yvette. And as for Robert Muir and racism, nothing surprises me – especially from that period in time, when indigenous people were afraid to speak out. In fact they still are, such is the ingrained racism in our community. All over the world! Disgusting and totally outrageous. Brings tears to my eye.

    Take care

  3. Phillip Hill says

    The footy certainly has been a beacon of hope this year and the re-emergence of the Saints has given us a under dog/ minnow to follow in the finals.

    Thanks for you piece. I enjoyed it

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