Round 15 – Melbourne v St Kilda: The Wow Factor

 

Sunday 1st June, 1,10 pm

MCG

 

A win before a bye for the Saints against Gold Coast. A chance to take a breath, and enjoy that win for two whole weeks before facing a top eight side in Melbourne. The Dees had 9 wins, and 5 losses for the season.  They’d beaten St Kilda in Round 7 by 39 points. Saints had 2 wins and 1 draw. And we weren’t expecting a Saints win.

 

This game, at the MCG, was on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon. There was, unusually, a mob of us meeting at the footy. Uncle Bob and Aunty Betty (Gary was working a school holiday program), mate Phil, cousin Alfred (a Dees supporter quietly confident) and Saints friends Travis and Kim.

 

Up we went, to the fourth level, in rather good seats overlooking the G. Mild winter sunshine warmed our bodies, and as the footy started in front of us, all the way down there, Melbourne seemed to come to do what was expected. Bayley Fritch started the day, with Angus Brayshaw getting the next two. Three goals in the first 10 minutes with a few behinds, and we wondered if this was to be on the menu of the day. Cooked Saints. Cooked and stewed when Josh Battle, Jack Sinclair and Josh again, all missed for behinds.

 

But we were being tight in defence, with newbie Darragh Joyce, Jake Carlisle, Shane Savage, Seb Ross, Nathan Brown and Jack Newnes shutting down Melbourne. What was even better, when we got the ball and headed forwards, there were speedy handballs and accurate kicking.

 

My man Paddy McCartin got the Saints first goal. We felt it was a comeback when Tim Membrey got the next. Then Paddy gets a free for being taken high plus a 50-metre penalty for arguing and from the goal square he put the Saints ahead.

 

Wow. We are in this, I thought.

 

This afternoon was going to be rather interesting. Billings was pushed over after missing and getting a point, the point was withdrawn as he got a free from being flattened after he kicked it, and in the confusion, with Jade Gresham holding the ball until the play on was called, Gresham turned around and snapped another. Four in a row.

 

We were pumped.

 

Melbourne pushed forward again, captain Jarryn Geary crashed through a marking contest to try and stop the ball, momentarily leaving his man Jake Melksham, who misses. But Demons had lifted, and Alex Neal-Bullen goaled. Saints were 1 point ahead at first quarter and considering I expected a belting, happiness was happening.

 

Wow. We have a game on our hands. Melbourne supporter Alfred was no longer confident. ‘They are playing rubbish footy’ he states.

 

Melbourne jump out of the blocks when Bayley Fritsch get his second for the Dees. The Saints continue to play good footy. Jack Billings is running forward and passes to Savage who kicks it from outside 50. Paddy has already had a nose bleed, and misses two shots at goals. He is in there trying his guts out. Carlisle sends a perfect pass to Membrey who scores truly. From a Daniel McKenzie free in the backline (holding), he kicks to David Armitage to Luke Dunstan to Jack Steele with a perfect pass to Jade Gresham and Saints fans are cheering.

 

It is a game of claw backs. Melbourne fight on through Tom McDonald (Paddy is playing in the ruck), Christian Petracca and James Harmes. The Dees are now ahead by 4 points. But the quarter ain’t over.  Hunter Clarke, after much pressure and forward movement, goals. Jack Steele gets a 50 metre when a Melbourne player runs too close, and his set shot becomes super easy to get.

 

Our passing has improved. The Saints go flying up the middle of the ground when they gain possession, passing and moving the ball and finding accuracy all over the ground.  Where has this been all year, we wonder?

 

There is more attempted scoring, but Paddy is too close to the man on the mark and he gets another behind. Moments later, the Saints manage to keep the ball in their forward and Jack Newnes joins the party as a goal kicker. Don Tyson pulls one back, from Melbourne pressure and a loose Saints ball movement. Bang. Armitage gets another 50 from a free when Jack Sinclair is dumped to the ground. He just squeezes the goal in and at half time Saints are 15 points ahead.

 

Wow wow wow.

 

I needed sustenance. I’d been waiting for friends who were running late and only got to sit down moments before the game started. Now, it was time to eat, to ponder, to wonder. Saints fans were a happy lot, not expecting to be in this position.

 

Even though the game was even, the very fact that the Saints and Demons were both still in the game made for an interesting afternoon. Nervous, but interesting.

 

Melbourne came out fighting. James Harmes goals before there are several misses to Saints and Demons. Gresham goals from a free – push in the back. Moments later, he shows how brilliant he is when he turns his opponent around and takes a one-handed mark. He turns around and kicks truly before Melbourne have time to set up. Hogan is held, gets a free and goals. Nathan Brown is off the ground with an injured quad. Tim Membrey gets his third. Max Gawn has been best on ground, amazing for his team. The rest of the Demons seem to lose steam over this quarter. Hands on hips. Stuffed. There are two Demons behind and Saints are 22 points ahead at the last break. Can we keep it up?

 

We watch the Saints play well. There is a great forward thrust, Battle protects the ball, gets it across to Billings who goals. Harmes gets a free, goals. Newbie Darragh Joyce gets a behind, his first score for the Saints. Melksham goals. Membrey answers after another great run and pass job. It’s ten minutes to go and Melbourne have stepped up. Fritsch, then Hogan. It’s a goal fest. I can’t remember a Saints game where there has been so much attacking from both teams.

 

Saints push forward for a Battle goal. Jack Stevens gets another. Is that the one that seals the game? No, said Fritsch. No said Hogan. Carlisle makes a mistake and kicks it straight to Jordan Lewis, who goals.  Saints are only 2 points ahead. At centre bounce, in the last moments, Jack Stevens and Jade Gresham push the ball forward towards the boundary. They throw their bodies with all their remaining strength and there is a throw in with 7 seconds to go, in the Saints forward. Saints have held on for a gutsy win.

 

We stand and cheer and clap. Alfred, who slunk lower and lower in his seat as the game went on, is resigned. St Kilda did it. We toughed it out and won 4 quarters of footy. We got to sing the song three times, up near the gods. We felt the sun and light and happiness spread all out.

 

There was a spring in our step the whole way home. The trains, post footy, were as chaotic as usual. Again, I am jealous of the NRL who have trains arrive every few minutes to disperse crowds post game. Richmond Station was packed, and the trains were on normal Sunday time-table. Ridiculous for big games. We made our way home, tired but satisfied, all going to different stations to return home.

 

The next night, buddy Rina came to eat dinner and watch the replay. It was that kind of game. The nerves and the excitement were still there. St Kilda won again. People smile at me walking around this week. I receive the congratulations and celebrations with great pleasure. Floating, St Kilda fans had something to warm their hearts in an otherwise freezing week. Saints fans have experienced the wow factor.

 

My Port Adelaide mate, Elio, thinks they are gonna get us next week. What I love about footy is that nothing is a certainty.

 

 

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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.

Comments

  1. Hi Yvette,

    Great win and your writing is wonderful too. Then your point of view both team having demonstrated attacking footy is what I admire and was unaware.

    It’s my turn offering accurate kicks on field. We have only two days to the big tournament. Our games and Saints footy will be played at the same time.

    Go the mighty Saints and Dingoes!

    Yoshi

  2. Gillian Coote says:

    You nailed the game exactly !! Was great to see our boys play the way they did and all I can add is GO SAINTS!! Also really enjoyed your book Yvette.

  3. Guru Gus says:

    Brilliant win by the boys! More of it please!!

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