Round 16 – Essendon v St Kilda: Never Assume

Round 16: Essendon v St Kilda

Etihad Stadium

Sunday July 10th July 2016 4.40pm

Never Assume


Sunday footy, at the worst allocated time of the week, sees another change to my footy family makeup.  Uncle Bob is back from his travels and Aunty Betty is with us this week as Gary is at work. At Caulfield Station early, I see what I assume is a Saints couple walking towards me and onto the platform.  We nod.  Saints people.  My extended family.


Once Bob and Betty arrive, we are off too. It is bitterly cold, and we are happy to be at the Dome, up on third level and out of the breeze.  We are thinking of sitting on the wing on Level 3, only to be told that for Essendon games, we are only allowed to use our away tickets behind the goals.  The stadium is mostly empty (24,204 by the end of the game) and we are stunned that Essendon gets away with reserving everything for their people.  Their colours. We could pay an extra $28 each for a reserve seat, but we just want to do what others can do at our home games.  Sit up where we can find the best seat.


We rant to each other about the ‘unsociability’ of Essendon.  The cheek.  The authority of a bigger club to be able to negotiate something in their best interest that Clubs like Western Bulldogs, North or St Kilda could only dream of. We thank the sweet official, who does say that we can come back at half time and sit anywhere, as he will do with his parents, all being Saints supporters.


We trundle around to behind the goals, and are now amongst our people and this is where we stay all game. The couple I saw at Caulfield Station are sitting on my right.  Small world.  Julie and Andrew aren’t a “couple-couple” but a footy-couple. They are work friends who barrack for the Saints and have been coming together for years.


Julie’s grandmother was born in 1888, a very religious woman who followed the Saints.  She had 9 children – all followed St Kilda. One Uncle eventually barracked for the Swans. Julie is one of 7 children of the next generation, and of this bunch (including 21 grand-children), only 3 are not Saints, and two of the turn-coats are her kids.  I sympathise and identify.


Andrew was on his way to one of the 1966 finals games.  There was a car accident he witnessed and stopped to help, and one of the people injured was one of that days’ player’s girlfriend.  He took her to Frankston Hospital and then took a message to the game for her footy-boyfriend.  Andrew used to follow Collingwood until the Saints won in ’66. Julie tells me her grandmother and son are nearly 100 years apart in age, only out by 5 months.


Andrew and Julie met at a Melbourne Racing Club working, and discovered a mutual love of going to the footy, which they do when they can. Julie loves her hubby, but can’t go to the footy with him.   They usually sit a few seats forward from where they are, seats that tonight are kept for Essendon people who aren’t there.  By the end of the game, they have shifted to where they usually sit.


I see two friends, happy in their footy routine, chatting through the day and I smile.  Enjoying their connection.  Enjoying their footy.


Meanwhile, we hear the Bomber siren roar out and the Saints banner, “We’ve come to play, under the roof, the end result, will be the proof.”  We hoped so.  None of us were overly confident. And the game proceeded to show us we were correct.


What a crap first 15 minutes, with matching errors. When Laverde kicked the first for the Bombers, a digital aeroplane zoomed around the stadium several times. Riewoldt was everywhere again, in defence and then kicking the Saints first goal and then our defender Roberton shortly after.  There were plenty of misses on both sides. McDonald-Tipungwuti is amazing all day, and his pass enables Dempsey to goal. Thankfully, Michington and Newnes settle with two goals before quarter time.  We have stepped up.


The next quarter sees Saints get their third straight through Armitage before Hams goals (again from McDonald-Tipungwuti…I love writing that name) before McDonald-Tipungwuti gets one of his own. It’s becoming a goal slugfest – Ross scores, a mistake by McKenzie leads directly to Fantasia goaling, good Saints work leads to Membrey and Dunstan goaling before Parish makes a snap out of nothing and they all celebrate.  Going in to half time, Saints are ahead by 10.


Essendon are no easy-beats.  They are pressuring and pressuring and we are making too many mistakes.  Then our pressure leads to their errors. Neither sides supporters are terribly confident.


And so the next quarter is more of the same, Fantasia, Laverde for his second after a great tackle on Savage.  If you snooze, you lose (the ball). Gresham settles us down, and Bruce gets his only within a minute. Membrey is having a good day out and gets another, before the other champion McDonald-Tipungwuti scores again. Membrey gets his third before McDonald-Tiupunwuti makes a great pass to Daniher who scores.


The scores are level at ¾ time.  This was definitely unexpected.  Saints supporters are now seriously nervous.  Every time we get ahead, they pull back.  And I hate bloody draws!


Membrey. Fantasia. Savage goes off the ground, concussed. Brown. Daniher takes a massive mark and misses from just in front. Merrick. The Bombers are roaring, they are now 7 ahead.  Sainters are very quiet, until Membrey, Weller (and the Saints are back in front), Weller all goal again moments later, before Steven rewards his amazing work all day with his own goal and the Saints last. Daniher, with 16 seconds left, and needing three big ones to win, at least improves their average and the Saints fans sing the song with relief and joy.  The players are displaying just that same emotion on the ground.  It is a messy win but a win.  Saints have now won 7, a ½ more games than last year.  And we have learnt a lesson – fighting on no matter what.


With all those many people and the usual confusion of trains and tracks, I again see Julie and Andrew at Flinders Street and Caulfield Station.  They are still chatting. We are all happy and relieved Saints people tonight.




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,

    It’s nice to hear you made good friends everywhere from, to and at the stadium. I bet talking to and discussion with them were great.

    I admire you find positive on the game after the narrow win over the Dons. The best part of the game was the last 10 minutes of Q1 and the beginning of Q2 when we had great ball works.

    I hope we win comfortably over Demons on Sunday.

    Go Saints


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