Round 19 GWS v St Kilda : Yet another footy odyssey with too many losses in a row but great people shine some light and warmth.

VFLW Round 12 Southern Saints v Hawks


Unlike most winter footy experiences, Trevor Barker Oval and Sandringham Zebra’s home ground was bathed in sunshine for this double header. The Saints were taking on the highly fancied Hawks women and it started 11.45 on the dot.  From my seat in the grandstand, I watched the Saints take the game on with a ferocity I had not seen before.


Allison Allsopp goaled within the first few minutes, and in a tough game, Hawks score two rushed against the wind before Danielle Lawrence put another through for the Saints. Another behind was rushed for the Hawks before Sarah Perkins (always a threat) missed before the siren.


In the second quarter Hawks attacked through Clare O’Donnell (didn’t realise until write up that it was THE O’Donnell, offspring from our mate Dips) but still a behind, before 12 minutes into the quarter Saint Kayla Ripari kicked the second.  The grandstand was full of Southern Saints parents and friends (me!) and we made a lot of noise each goal. Perkins kicked another behind and the Hawks were pushing. Saints were 3 goals straight at half time.


I went for a wander and found some steamed dim sims, one of my favourite crap foods, and met another Sharks sponsor Peter L who also sponsored a number of the Hawks women.


At half time, cousin Gary joined me, and we went for more food, meeting Jacinta from the Caulfield Bears Junior Girls Under 12’s. Her three charges were off being independent and buying food at the kiosk.  I promised to find out if Southern Sainter Georgie Parker, captain and out injured from concussion and not playing for the rest of the year, was again helping coach Peta Searle.


Southern Saints Coach Peta Searle


Georgie worked at St Kilda Football Club as one of the receptionists, as well as being a star footballer who went out to the Bears and did some skills training with them several months ago. The girls fell in love with her.


Third quarter was even, a goal to Lou Wotton for the Hawks, another behind to Sarah Perkins before Emily Gilder scored Hawks second. Our defence seemed to have developed a few holes after a pretty solid first two quarters of intense, fast, hard footy. Saints finally pulled on back with Tara Bohanna bringing the Saints back in the game, and her attempt at another goal at least added a point in a relatively low scoring game.


At ¾ time, I went back into the middle and met the Bears girls and we listened as the line coaches then Peta Searle talked to the players.  As we scurried off the field before the bounce, the youngest Bear spotted Georgie and there were hugs all round, and I was quick enough to ask then to pose for a picture with their favourite player. Their day was made.


Captain of Southern Saints Georgie Parker with Caulfield Bears.


Southern Saints were pushing but could not get those goals. They had another rushed behind before Sarah Perkins got that elusive goal, and all Saints could do was to get three more behinds.  Great effort and no reward. (Allsopp, Amy Silver x 2). Before we could say boo, there were quick goals to Emily McIlvena and Rebecca Beeson for the Hawks. After leading for ¾, the Saints just rolled over and it was a disappointing result for such a good first half.  But footy needs to be played in 4 quarters and this wasn’t the case today.


Later, while watching Sandringham, I bumped into the forward coach for the Southern Saints who said the girls didn’t work hard enough in the second half of the game and that was the result.  It was back to training on Monday when they’d go over all this and demand a better effort.


Footy is a tough game. And players need to give their all, for the whole match. Final results were Southern Saints 4.5 29 to Hawks 5.8 38.


Round 17 VFL Sandringham v Hawks


This game didn’t start well either.  The familiar feeling of watching players we knew stuff things up was becoming too familiar. The kicking backwards in defence bought out groans from Gary and I, and a 1 goal first quarter didn’t help. It was all Hawks, with a 4 goal 6- point haul to start the game.


I noticed that St Kilda Premiership player, Ian Cooper was sitting in front of me and his brother Bill had chatted with me last time I was at Sandringham.


The rest of the second quarter, I spent talking to Ian, who is a full-time carer for his wife now, and happy to have one afternoon off. He was watching his grandson, a possible future AFL player, finding his touch with Sandringham.  Ian would groan at the constant scrum of players, the game unrecognisable to him.  Ian was a Saints player from 1964 to 1969, with 69 games and 31 goals.  He played in half-forward flank and was voted the best on field in the 1966 Grand Final. His footy career ended early when he contracted rheumatic fever. After some time with the Swan Districts in Western Australia, he returned and became a full forward with the Sandringham Football Club where he played 35 games and kicked 73 goals. In 1973, he was the VFA Divisions 1 leading goal kicker with 104 goals.  For all his time with Sandringham, he kicked 282 goals.


Talking with Ian distracted me from a poor Sandringham afternoon. It distracted him too. He is from a big family, 8 brothers and 1 sister. And we had connections, as is often found when talking with people.  One of his brother’s wife is the mother of my chiropractor’s wife, Joelly, and we both had great warmth for these two people in our lives.  He also, of course, knew Kenny Whiffin and family, and we chatted St Kilda, history, people, family and life.


It also ends up Ian has been writing a story for 40 years, and is almost at completion, so we exchanged details, so I could help him into the future if he needed contacts. I barely watched as the Hawks stayed ahead, at least both teams getting two goals each in the second.


Gary and I left Sandringham and headed to the Caulfield Racecourse Glasshouse to watch another game of footy. The end result was Sandringham 6.11 47 to Hawks 11.12 78.


Round 19 GWS Giants v St Kilda Saints


Spotless Stadium


Saturday 28th July 4.35pm


Settled in at the bar, comfortable and warm, Gary and I watched the Saints play tough footy for little result on the scoreboard. Zac Langdon opened up the GWS account, and Jake Carlisle and Blake Acres could only answer with behinds. Jade Gresham goaled in the 12th minute but misses to Jack Lonie and Rowan Marshall took the air out of the Saints. As did a good goal by Rory Lobb.  We could only get two more behinds to Lonie and Jack Steven. For the ball being up the Saints end so often, we had no reward at all.


Jade Gresham was the Saints star this day, with the first goal of the second quarter. Giant Tim Taranto missed one too, but when Tim Membrey and Shane Savage both scored behinds, the air went out of the game for Sainters. Harry Himmelberg and Brent Daniels both scored truly, and Lonie missed another before finally scoring a goal. Himmelberg again for his second before a behind to both teams. By half time, they were 5.2 to our 3.10.  Ten points said it all.  All that attacking for nought.


We ate a yummy dinner only to be depressed by the game again afterwards.  Messages were coming in.


Braham from Sydney, watching at home, said, “Our field kicking is worse.  Dominate the game and 4 goals behind.”  Yoshi was having a hard time at his old bar in Osaka (hopefully not to go there again) and we had comfort, food, and crappier footy.


The writing, already scrawled across the wall at GWS, got bigger. Daniels, Himmelberg and Toby Greene all goaled before Membrey finally kicked truly. GWS missed one from Coniglio and Saints got a minor run of scoring through Lonie and Membrey.  It just wasn’t enough. Brett Deledio goaled, and it was another behind to Membrey, Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly. GWS then ran away. Himmelberg, beautiful strong and accurate, got another, before Langdon finished the quarter.


Ugly. Disheartening. Behinds to Lobb and Shiel before Lobb goal.  A miss to Lonie before the goal of the year, with Jack Steven kicking it out of the air. All our opportunities were wasted. Membrey missed again, as did Greene. Greene made up for it a moment later before Josh Battle finished off the game with his first. It was a 25-point loss, that hurt more because it was one we could have won had we kicked accurately. GWS looks on track to give other teams trouble come finals time.


Three games in one day, and not a win amongst them for those I was supporting. And there was more footy to come.


Round 19 Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide


Mars Stadium


Sunday 29th July 2018 3.20pm


Always a sucker for punishment, I agreed to join Denise at Ballarat for the Doggies game against Port and we decided to stay at the RACV Gold Fields and make a mini-holiday. We arrive an hour before the bus leaves for the ground.  Many have purchased bookings for hotel and the game, and we were able to join them on the bus directly to and from the game.  This was the very best of the afternoons achievements.


I chatted to Bulldog twin sisters Robyn and Christine who were also having a sister experience. Both had been at the Grand Final and enjoyed the Premiership and all its glory. They were part of the Bulldogs taskforce who raised $100,000 for their beloved Club.  They were enthusiastic on the way to the game and looked stuffed the day after.


Long time Bulldogs supporters twins Robyn and Christine


The bus was full of hopeful Port and Doggies supporters. Before a game, we can be friendly and engaged.


The weather was the star of the day, freezing, windy and cold.  A trifecta of awful, dramatic accompaniment to a dismal display of footy.  The Bulldogs were not going to give me any joy either.


The rugged up freezing sisters Denise and Yvette


The first half of the game was even, and if we could forget about how cold we were, it was wet and rolling maul footy.  But at least it was even. The Doggies did not fair well come second half, with only one goal in two quarters to 7.8 to Port.


The game didn’t fare well either, with the lights coming on and it being so dark it was hard to see the game across the ground.  The scoreboard only worked for the scores, the vision and replays were not working, so we were left with our radios to fill in all the information.


The RACV mob all waited for our bus to return us home, and exhaustion was the companion on the way back to the resort.


Only hot showers and baths later in the evening could defrost our souls.  The game itself and the weather wore us down. To see 4 games of footy in one weekend was a mighty feat, and yet not one win was to be had.


Post footy break


We at least had a great room, with views of kangaroos on the golf course in the early morn, and a few days to warm up.  I got to be the assistant to Denise as she played 9 holes of golf, my first such experience.  Kangaroo poop was the highlight, watching her play was enjoyable, but the weather wore us down again.


Denise at golf.


Lunch at Creswick and a visit to the Creswick Woollen Mill (and a bit of shopping) certainly cheered me up the first day and visiting Ballarat for a walk and lunch with Almanacker John Butler and partner Marion at the fabulous L’Expresso on Sturt Street were highlights.


On our way home we caught up with Kirby Fenwick in Ballan. Socialising, eating and nature were the winners this weekend. And hanging with sister Denise, made the weekend sparkle again. This season of footy is long indeed.


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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. You have covered plenty of ground in this piece Yvette. Great to see the pic of the Bears girls.

  2. John Butler says

    Never a dull moment, as usual, Yvette.

    Good to catch up for lunch.

    Winning at football isn’t everything (sentiments Blues and Saints fans have had to adopt this season).


  3. Nice one Yvette. It’s the first game of Clare’s I’ve missed in ages. Shame as it would have been nice to spectate with you. Hawks were a bit steady in the end. Apparently Clare played well!

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