Round 2 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints Alive!


The AFLM competition has had to woo me back into the fold.  With the quick departure of AFLW at the beginning of COVID19, and the paring back of so much of the grass roots and local sports, and staffing, it’s hard to feel that footy in the big arena had any great meaning in these weird times.


I mean, we have had so many other distractions. Toilet paper. Hand sanitiser. Isolation. Zoom meetings or family catchups. Lack of movement. Overeating and the subsequent weight gain. Ageing and arthritis. Dog distractions, good ones at that. Family changes.


Marriage, of my eldest daughter to her girlfriend, coming from Japan and being stuck here as the borders closed on their rushed wedding date.  The smallest wedding ceremony possible in my back yard. Love won through. Then there was their relocation from Japan. Packing up a life of 5 years over there. By a removal company and a good mate. Sixty-nine boxes on a freight boat is all that is left of living and studying in Japan for 5 years. At least she met her wife, got a degree, and had the time of her life.  Now there’s job hunts and unemployment. And settling. At least my daughter-in-law is a new Saints supporter, she loves the colours and she loves me. I will sign her up this week to the red, white and black.  One day I will take them both to a game.


There has been a new grandchild pre-COVID. A new little boy to add to our joy, and I missed two months of cuddles with him and his older sisters. Why can’t we see Nanny, they asked? Why can’t we go to Nanny’s house?






Nanny is back in heaven, both with kids and footy, masked and not.



There were COVID tests in the carpark at Chadstone with the impingement of swabs up the back of the nose brushing the brain, and down the throat but over quickly.  All good. Child free for two months has meant that I have been remarkably healthy, not a cold or a flu to be had.  No childcare bugs.


There has been the tutoring of my youngest in her thesis, and learning all about fashion marketing and writing, researching, planning and tears and triumph.


Football? Who had time to even worry about how fit the boys’ team would be or how they would manage? But the St Kilda Football Club kept enough staff to keep us informed and engaged as much as was possible. There were messages and fans writing on the Club site, there was news about all our footballers, male and female. How they are managing.  What they are doing. I felt the connection all through these weird times.


But who had time to miss it all? Even my playing of games changed. The Pokémon Go community went remote.  After the great idea of having gamers move around and be active to play, therefore exercise and meet people out and about (I have made some life-long friends here), has all changed and now it’s all be adapted for isolation and lack of movement. Thank goodness for social media and messaging and online communities.


There was time to learn the guitarlele, practice Tai Chi in the back yard and do exercise physiology remotely too. I have fallen in love with Tony Wilson’s books, both the packages bought for me and hearing about the ones I sent to the two households of grand-children, ranging in age from 9 in Dingley to almost 5, almost 3 and almost 6 months in Clayton.


I watched and listened as the world changed. As I used my sewing machine to make material masks. As I found paper ones online after the initial shortage. I am in the age at risk. Older. With pre-existing conditions.


Lots of handwashing. Home cleaning. Cooking chicken soup and all manner of things as well as take away and home deliveries of food, clothing, books and love. It makes for a busy life. A life of on-line newspapers, the wonderful ABC radio and all the streaming channels to binge on MJ and re-watch old favourites.


There is no shortage of distractions, and activities and work to be done. How did I ever fit in footy in the past?


The restrictions eased, COVID19 contained to a point where our health system will not be overwhelmed but the changes are everywhere. Cafés look and feel different as we come back. Footy looks and feels different with each Club trying to fill the spaces where there were once…well…us.


The footy came back, with canned noise on the TV and bizarre and surprising games for all of round two.


When Kiyoshi and I sat down (a good distance apart, hands sanitised and with dinner Uber-ing in) to watch the Sunday night game on Foxtel, we didn’t know what to expect.  The crappy St Kilda of the second half of game one from an eternity ago, or the fast, manic Saints of the first half of Round 1 which had us excited.


It was the latter. Frenzied, goal scoring and fun-loving St Kilda players, old and new, young and recently imported with experience and strength. Magnificent. ACCURATE. Attacking. Tackling. It was something to behold, these new Saints under Brett Ratten.


What a game for Saints supporters with 1200 attending the Dromana Drive In, cars draped in Saints scarves and food and drinks being delivered to fans in cars. The place was packed. What a game to watch on three screens on a cold, dark, happy winters night?


Horns beeped as Max King scored the Saints first, though it was matched minutes later by Bulldogs Mitch Wallis. Jack Macrae had us nervous with their second, also with Mitch Wallis helping out. When the Dogs got the next three behinds, Saints fans could rest a little, we were damned lucky they were inaccurate the second half of the quarter.  Jack Billings grabbed a terrific pass from Jack Steele, and kicked straight. He’s a new man in front of goals. The Jacks were playing well, with Lonie scoring the next for the first quarter and Saints are in front.


Kiyoshi and I are happy. Yoshi in Japan is texting. Sister Denise, a Bulldogs supporter, is not very happy.


Jack Billings goals again. It is all St Kilda, with behinds to Nick Hind and Jade Gresham.  Finally, Laitham Vandermeer, a newbie for the Dogs, gets one back. The Saints are quick to respond. Jack Steele. Dan Butler. And the siren goes for half time and our Indian dinner arrives.  It is as delicious as our game. We eat in quiet contentment, with trays on our laps and happiness in our stomachs and hearts.


Second halves are a worry. When Ed Richards scores just minutes in, we are not as relaxed. But Jack Billings is on fire and Dan Butler gets his second. This is the most accurate St Kilda side I have seen in years.  It is the most aggressive scoring I have seen in years. How fast are these mid-fielders and Zak Jones becomes one of our new beloved, like Dan Butler and Paddy Ryder. Every Bulldog mistake is pounced upon. There are a lot. St Kilda are dominating with pressure and accuracy. The Dogs get another two behinds, ex-Saint Josh Bruce and a rushed, before Bailey Williams gives the red, white a blue some hope.


It is short lived, as Rowan Marshall joins the goal kickers. The attacking continues through Dan Hannebery, seemingly very fit, and Jack Lonie gets a behind which is rare for the Saints of this Sunday night.


We relax a little in the 4th. Kiyoshi and I are sated, both with excellent Indian food and plenty of goals to cheer to. Aaron Naughton is the first to start the quarter, but Tim Membrey, solid all night, returns the favour. Josh Dunkley tries to get his team back in the game, but Bailey Dale doesn’t kick truly. We are disappointed that there is 10 minutes without a Saints goal.  It is un-Saintly tonight. As was the behind total of 4 to this point, apparently the first time in two years we have have 4 or fewer behinds in a match.  Quite a statistic.  Max King is one of many of our new cult hero as he gets his second.  He will only get better, and bigger. He has been a huge presence in the game, as have all the players who seemed to have been switched and swapped all over the ground.


Now one is in attack where they were in defence just before.  Is that Brett Ratten’s plan.  Be great everywhere. Defend by all becoming speedy attackers? Have fun. Score goals. Enjoy yourselves and give the fans in the drive-in a doubly wonderful experience. Beeping horns.  Cheering in lounge rooms and via texts.


The Club had asked their fans for old scarves to drape over seats at the stadium  One end of the ground was full of Doggies scarves, and the other, Saints ones. It looked good in all the shots. And both teams knew their fans were with them every bounce of the ball. Every goal. Every tackle.


Damn footy.  I was totally sucked into the game and the season and my aloofness and preoccupation with all other things, well, it had a happy holiday. The Saints have raised expectations, not just of their fans but of the media.


I cannot remember a happier footy Sunday night, or Monday morning as everyone on the radio was talking Saints, and it was good talk. Not the disappointed or worried or critical as the talk is about teams who lose. A happy Sunday led to a happy Monday and beyond, and though St Kilda are set to face a strong, resilient, and challenging Collingwood outfit on Saturday coming, they have shown they are made of interesting and tough stuff.  May the good play continue. My attention is back. Saints are 7th on the ladder. St Kilda are ALIVE. Love abounds. Go Saints.



ST KILDA                                 3.1   7.3   12.4   14.4 (88)
WESTERN BULLDOGS           2.4   3.4   5.6   7.7 (49)



St Kilda: Billings 3, Butler 2, King 2, Lonie, Hind, Steele, Jones, Marshall, Hannebery, Membrey.

Western Bulldogs: Wallis, Macrae, Vandermeer, Richards, Williams, Naughton, Dunkley.



St Kilda: Billings, Jones, Ross, Steele, Clark.

Western Bulldogs: Dunkley, Smith, Bontempelli, Macrae, Jong.



Crowd: Uncountable



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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. Colin Ritchie says

    Thoroughly enjoyed your account of life in Covid-19 Yvette. I think we have all experienced similar feelings and times but it is good that footy’s back albeit a modified form. And it’s great to kiss, cuddle and play with the ‘grandies’ again!

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Good for you Yvette. You put me to shame with all the activities you do. Really enjoyed reading all you have been up to and how the limitations impacted on you. Also the write up. The first one and scoreboard I’ve read of this match. SK v WB. The ’97 grand final everyone outside of SA wanted. I always think of that whenever that matchup occurs. Apart from Tom Giles of course!

  3. Pleased you’ve come through the restriction period unscathed, Yvette! And that your Saints look to be impressively on the improve. I didn’t watch the game but hear that our Zac Jones had a beauty! Take good care

  4. Looks like the Saints could well be marching in this year. Jan, hope you are well. Thought you might like to know tat Heather (wife) made a special trip to my favourite bakery to buy an APPLE TURNOVER for my 77th on the 18th of June, same day as Sir Paul McCartney ( he’s a year older though). Hope your Bloods do well.

  5. Hi Yvette,

    It is good to have footy back with a great win isn’t it? Everything has been changed apart from passions of supporting the mighty Saints, hasn’t it?

    Sadly we lost on Saturday at Round 3, but I think we are still alive. Let’s have a hope for the MRV match even if this year’s fundraising match will be different as Saint Nick says on his commentary duty on Fox Footy. We wouldn’t see purples lighting up at Marvel Stadium this year but our spirits are high for late Maddie…

    Did you order the Indian foods vis UberEats? How was the food?’

    Hope you are well and let’s cheer our boys with passions.

    Go Saints!


  6. John Butler says

    Yvette, good to hear all are well.

    As for the Saints? You know it won’t be dull. :)

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