Round 20 – St Kilda v West Coast: The Battle of Champions

Sunday, 6 August 2017
1:10 pm (4:10 am York, the United Kingdom)
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne

Former West Coast and Carlton captain Chris Judd joined The Age this year. He always tips Eagles and Blues for the newspaper’s weekly experts’ tipping.

Our champion Nick Riewoldt (Rooey and the Saint Nick can be referred to him afterwards) made an announcement on Monday to retire at the end of the season.

After his announcement, we St Kilda supporters have left positive comments on social media with respects and honours.

One of them mentioned to us that Rooey hasn’t won any ultimate prize such as Brownlow in his career. Even he has not been a premiership player yet.

Then I remembered Juddy was a premiership captain at West Coast and won Brownlow twice (2004 and 2010). But I have seen better footy played by the Saint Nick than Juddy, to be honest.

Plus Rooey’s loyalty to the St Kilda Football Club is priceless and Juddy was a two-club player. I understand Chris’s homesickness, but I admire Nick’s loyalty and strong mindsets.

Even Judd no longer plays footy, I feel the match being played as the battle of champions in spiritual ways.

And the mighty Saints must win the game for our great champion to play finals making him happy to end his career this year.

As I was asked extra four plus working hours on Friday, I was thinking about watching the game at Coolabah. But my wonder started when I woke up on Sunday morning. The game was starting at 12.10 pm local time and the pub was opening at 1 pm. I was missing the first half and have to pay more than 1000 yen on trains to get there and back to Kyoto. Sadly my decision was such train fares were not worth it for the last half, so I changed the plan to go to Starbucks to listen to the game. In return, I would have extra coffee and sweets for my retreat from hard working.

Getting to one of the close Starbucks around midday, I tuned in to SEN’s live coverage. Another Saint Nick Dal Santo was commentating alongside David Schwarz, Andy Maher and Brett Philips.

The ball was bounced, but Billy Longer didn’t hit out and the Eagles dominated at first. The Ox called out West Coast players from the boundary line. Where were efforts for the Saint Nick? My worries started as we had lost three in a row.

McGovern kicked the first goal within a minute. And Sheed scored a behind.

“I had been a better footballer than Nick and Eagles are better than struggling Saints. Here we go. I am right on tipping”, Juddy might have said.

But the Saints made a way to match in. Billings was around the goal square and trying hard to push. He scored a behind and kicked to teammates trying to help them to score goals. Membrey took a beautiful mark 35 metres straight and scored the first goal for St Kilda to re-start the game. Bruce followed to show efforts for the champion and the club.

However the French Eagle LeCras took the position on their forward line and started his shows. And Kennedy who was traded to West Coast from Carlton for Judd scored a behind.

Meanwhile Saints wasted opportunities to score goals. My nerves were filled with worries.

Jack Steele minimised my worry after the siren at the first quarter narrowing the margin by three.

Unfortunately the first break gave away refreshing to the opponents with two behinds.

But Membrey used a skunk to scare off Eagles. He was firing up and is a young gun for the Saints.

We led by one, but couldn’t keep leading in the game. Instead four unanswered goals were greeted from attacking Eagles as their souvenirs from Perth – Darling, LeCres, Kennedy and Sheed.

And then we woke up and realised it was time to honour Nick. Sinclair scored a goal showing that he had to breakout for the post Nick club. Nick took a mark and got an opportunity to score a goal by himself seeming to urge young players to follow him on how to play his footy. Acres did the same as Sinclair.

The game was forth and back that my worries never ease. Newnes showed efforts with proud of being one of good Saint Jacks. Bruce’s seemed to say “don’t forget me. I am also a tall forward gun, like Skunk” when he kicked a goal in the third quarter.

Before the final quarter started, Dal Santo had mentioned us that St Kilda must win the game to play final footy in September. I was worried of losing but tried to keep faith and hope.

Kennedy, LeCras and Darling kept firing up, so I was really worried of losing and not being able to play in September.

Dunstan’s goal was not enough to dominate, although I sensed to be heard like “I played good footy at the Pride Match in SCG and am wearing the pride number seven Lenny was wearing”.

Nervous Yoshi in the last quarter

But the average player Savage came to the goal square leaving his good footprint scoring a goal. Final engine started amongst Saints squad.

Billings and Steele were back in actions to get the lead back. But we allowed another Kennedy show.

Worries hit me again and continued when Bruce missed another opportunity. I didn’t want another loss like the previous match.

At last Billings took a mark and his job was done to please every Sainter.

Siren sounded and the club song was played. I was so relieved.

The happy Sainter at game’s end

Playing final footy would be confirmed when I will be in York at the end of the month. I want to be happier and to feel being like a champion for many reasons in England.

ST KILDA 3.2 7.5 10.7 15.13 (103)
WEST COAST 3.5 7.8 10.10 14.11 (95)

St Kilda: Membrey 2, Bruce 2, Steele 2, Billings 2, Sinclair, Riewoldt, Acres, Newnes, Ross, Dunstan, Savage
West Coast: Kennedy 5, LeCras 3, Darling 2, McGovern, Karpany, Sheed, Cripps

St Kilda: Steele, Acres, Billings, Newnes, Roberton, Sinclair, Stevens
West Coast: Kennedy, Sheed, Gaff, Yeo, Mitchell, Hurn, Redden

Billings (STK 3), Kennedy (WCE 2), Newnes (STK 1)

Umpires: McInerney, Mitchell, Mollison

Official crowd: 22,688

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. Neil Anderson says

    I was barracking for the Saints as hard as you were Yoshi. Lots of reasons. I tipped the Saints. I wanted another Victorian side in the final’s race, especially St Kilda. I wanted to see a gap on the ladder between West Coast and the Bulldogs, hoping we would never have to play them later in Perth etc.
    Let’s hope the Dogs and the Saints make it for the finals.

  2. Peter Fuller says

    Love your passion, Yoshi, and the selfies, which mirror the emotional roller-coaster we ride, when we can’t even see the match.

  3. G’day and thanks for your comments Neil and Peter!

    Neil – I appreciate you so much for barracking for the Saints and your wishes both the Bulldogs and Saints playing finals. And playing final footy in Melbourne would be nice. The media reports that your Bulldogs would play the first final footy at SCG against Swans if the ladder is the same as current. I just don’t want to see the same ladder at the end of the Home and Away Season.

    Peter – Thanks for your compliment on my selfies. I was really nervous at the last minutes as worried of losing the game like how the Saints did to Port a week before. But we won and I am so happy. If we lost, no selfie would be published here.

    By the way, I have got extra working hours for at least today and tomorrow. I can’t go back to the bench easily lol



Leave a Comment