Round 17: St Kilda v Richmond- Not the upset Yoshi was hoping for

St Kilda v Richmond
Friday, July 20, 2018, 7:50 pm
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne

1. Start of the exciting footy holiday on Wednesday


The beginning of my exciting trip to Melbourne started offering  help to a family with two young boys. We were at Kyoto Station heading to the Kansai Airport with a JR Limited Express service. Finding out we all were heading to Melbourne,  asking who they went for, I discovered they were Richmond supporters.


I was not worried  meeting them affected the outcome two days later in Melbourne. I just was cool to them and friendly to other travellers on the same plane to Sydney from Osaka.


2. Footy training with the Caulfield Bears on Thursday


The warm sunny afternoon in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon I didn’t believe  the weather forecast of showers in the evening.


When we left Camberwell after 5 pm, it was raining sometimes hard, other times soft. I thought the rain would be moderate.


Arriving at the East Caulfield Basin after 6 pm, I greeted Yvette and tried to find their Football Department Manager whom I emailed on Sunday to arrange joining the training.


He was not there, but I informed a physiotherapist that I made an arrangement with the manager and boys on field made me welcome.


Their drills are different and faster than what I have at the Osaka Dingoes. Running and handpassing in congestion was the first one. Running and then kicking came next, and is what we do in Osaka too, but the Bears are doing it in the congested areas. Then we did some mixture of running, kicking and handpassing.


I have done quite well even though I am less skilled compared with Bear boys. Unfortunately, it was raining hard and lightning hit the footy field, so the training was called off just after 6.30 pm.


Then we all gathered at a club house and listened to what the coach had to say. His speech with criticism and swearing was what I had never had at the Dingoes, although when I  dropped off the F-word on field, I crossed the mark mistakenly three weeks ago at the IMPACT Invitational Cup. The speech wasn’t shocking me and just I sensed they played at different levels.


The training was a totally great footy experiences for me, not just the training itself, but also Melbourne’s four seasons in a day and Australian footy culture.


My appreciation goes to the mighty Caulfield Bears for having me at the training. I wish them all the best and hope they perform well in the footy competition.


3. Before the game on Friday


Finally the memorable day arrived. I was attending the first AFL game ever in my life.


Visiting our great friend Kate Birrell’s This Footy Life exhibition in the afternoon, I got off the train at Flinders Street Station. Had a coffee before the game and visited  Freddie’s Bike Tour shop, I then walked to the Docklands Stadium.


Walking the long way to Gate 2 and arriving earlier, I saw many Richmond supporters at first. Not good. But many Sainters were waiting at Gate 1 for  involvment in their volunteer works for the Maddie Riewoldt Visions. I talked to some of them telling I came from Japan for my first attending game and played for the Dingoes back in Japan.


Finally my mate Rob arrived and we had beer at the stadium bar. Then Yvette joined us and took us to the pre-game club function.


While we were having food and beer,  heard “Oh when the Saints go marching in” which surprised me. Our wonderful friend Jen joined us.


We talked about footy including me having played against Brian Lake. Later Jen found Jimmy Webster and Logan Austen, and introduced them to me.


She told them that it was my first time attending an AFL game,  and I told them about playing  footy back in Japan.


Two boys who were not playing that night were interviewed.


It was a great experience for me. Big thanks to Yvette for letting us to the function and Jen for introducing great players to me.


4. The MRV match


Seeing banners placed and players crossing banners and hearing club songs was just the beginning of my great footy experience.


I started sensing being in a professional footy match. Hearing a siren followed.


Opposed to my willing, Richmond demonstrated their good skills in ball usage and fast pace. St Kilda went back to the early rounds of 2018 wasting ball use and scoring opportunities, after being competitive for the last several weeks and good wins.


At Level 1, sitting next to Yvette, I yelled to players like “Kick!” “Handball!” “Run!” When Richmond scored goals, I tore off the purple MRV match beanies and put my heads down, behaving like disappointed footy coaches in the box.


Actually when we watched a baseball game in May, it was hard to see every bit of action and the thought came to me it would happen at the footy. But sitting at Level 1 made it easy to see the action closely and the big screen at the stadium helped me.


I was happy to help Jalen cheering the mighty Saints when our boys scored goals. As Yvette describes, I am a noisy supporter with passion.


Saints were a long way behind, but Jack Steven’s brilliant goal was  beautifully done, and was memorable. At least I saw his great skill in the game.


Then I heard Richmond players calling for the ball and to take the next action. Their actions reminded me to do the same on the footy field back in Japan.


The atmosphere was unique and much different to Japanese sport. Watching footy at the venue was so wonderful.


I just wished Saints performed well and upset like at the last MRV match.


Hearing “Oh we’re from Tigerland” loudly was painful. Other St Kilda supporters around me said, “you should have been here last week.” I wished I could have, but unfortunately I couldn’t afford  a two-week holiday and didn’t want to travel just days after my footy tournament. However, later I found out footballers travel the following day of their interstate games, so why don’t I?


Despite the loss, it was a great experience to attend the game and talk to fellow fans. I hope I bring them victory next time. No regret in attending because it’s the blockbuster for the mighty Saints.


5. VFLW Southern Saints vs Melbourne Uni


My appreciation goes to Andy Fuller who suggested I watch VFL/VFLW matches during my stay in Melbourne. I wanted to see how girls perform, so chose the VFLW.


And thanks Yvette for driving to Frankston and taking me to the game.


It was a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon and good day to watch footy outside.


Like in AFL, the  girls tackled hard and demonstrated good handpasses. But the windy condition helped Melbourne Uni to score goals with their fast pace. Unfortunately, we were scoreless at the first quarter.


Saints played hard and took good marks, started running like express trains during the last quarter and were only three points down at the last minute. I just cheered hard and wished the last second goal brought us a win.


Unfortunately, some goal kicks were taken as intercept marks by Uni and I told Yvette that girls should have run then kick if the distance was too far for them.


But the last minute injury occurred in the midfield and didn’t stop the clock. We lost by three points – 5.6 (36) to 6.3 (39).


It was another good footy experience and I was impressed with girls’ performances. And my thanks go to the  Melbourne Uni girls (who were not on field on Sunday) who were happy having kick to kick at the half time break.


And thanks Almanackers for coming over to the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel on Saturday night. It was a great night.


ST KILDA 1.2 2.3 5.7 8.9 (57)
RICHMOND 6.4 11.7 14.10 16.15 (111)


St Kilda: Membrey 2, Gresham 2, Hickey, Marshall, Steven, Weller
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Prestia 3, Caddy 2, Higgins, Martin, Lambert, Cotchin, Rioli, Edwards, Grigg


St Kilda: Ross, Steele, Steven, Gresham, Geary
Richmond: Prestia, Martin, Rance, Riewoldt, Short, Lambert


3. Martin (RIC); 2. Riewoldt (RIC); 1. Steven (STK)


Umpires: O’Gorman, Pannell, McInerney


Official crowd: 36,269

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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.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Yoshi,

    Now you have a reason for a another visit…to see the Saints win. Next year, and plan the trip around the performance of the Saints. You look great wrapped in purple and it was very moving waving our phones to the song Maddie liked so much. You were there for some great experiences. Take care

  2. Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for your comment with warm compliment and great tip on my next footy holiday.

    Yes I have another excuse to be in Melbourne again. As you say, I need to witness the Saints winning.

    Take care too.


  3. Braham Dabscheck says

    Well done Yoshi. Glad to see you had a great time and that you caught up with Saint Yvette; she is a Saint. May you kick many goals on your return to Japan.


  4. Katie Swift says

    Hi Yoshi,

    How wonderful to read about your footy experiences in Melbourne and how you finally watched your Mighty Saints play live. Even if they didn’t win this time, the experience will definitely be a memorable one and fingers crossed they win next time you’re in Melbourne. It sounds like you had an amazing time and I bet everyone thought you were a real character. Afterall, there’s only one Yoshi ?? xxx

  5. G’day Braham,

    Thanks for your comment with a compliment and a wish on my on field performances. It was great to catch up with Yvette too.



  6. Hi Katie,

    Thanks for reading my article and good feedback.

    I agree with you, my attending was memorable despite the loss. It was so great to be at the stadium.

    As for being only one, I am very unique that I guess is made with different attitudes and attributes.

    Yoshi xxx

  7. Paul Young says

    Great write up Yoshi.
    Loved reading about your AFL experience.

    By the way I will be in Osaka from Wednesday 1st August to 8th August. If you are back in Osaka by then, I’d love to catch up with you.

    Unfortunately the Dingoes don’t appear to have a training session while I’m there. I would have loved to have a kick & a catch.


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