Round 21 – Essendon v St Kilda: Trains Running Unreliably

Essendon versus St Kilda
Friday, August 10, 2018, 7:50 pm
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne



One of my interests is railway and it has been attracting me since childhood. I was so excited to board on the Limited Express trains on our primary school trip in 1984.


I can see trains running around my own footy practice ground of the Umekoji Park in Kyoto. From local trains to Limited Express ones and to bullet trains (Shinkansen) are seen while I am running, bouncing, handballing and kicking the footy.


Unfortunately trains had to be cancelled for two days this week because of technical issues – almost a metaphor for the fact I also had to cancel my own training drills because of a sore lower back. Now I am back on track since game day.


One of the trains I see at the park is called Thunder Bird that serves between Osaka and Kanazawa. Its fleets of classes 681 and 683 can be operated under both DC and AC electrification. It’s running is so flexible both in the metropolitan and regional areas.


In old days, railway electrification has been done with Direct Currents everywhere in metropolitan regions and major railway networks. The former state owned railway organisation (Japan National Railway; privatised in 1987) installed the Alternative Currents electrification in regional railway lines connecting already electrified with DC overhead power lines.


Around eight-metre over head wires are installed between DC and AC electrification and train drivers have to operate the power supply switch board and not to accelerate the rolling stocks.


The Saints Express train departed Southern Cross Station and was running backwards on the weekend. The Bombers deployed their pilots to fly towards so quickly. St Kilda were unable to push the footy towards our half forward at the beginning of the match.


One of the Saints Express drivers, Jack Steven didn’t operate the equipment properly – fumbled the handpassed footy from Tim Membrey.


More wasting opportunities was demonstrated by my boys.


But Jade Gresham was driving the Saints Express train well and was good at crossing the DC/AC section and entering the Goal Post Station. He was running sneaky and kicked a goal. One goal each at the time.


After Essendon skipper Dyson Heppel had scored a goal, I took a note from what my boys have done as a reminder:


“Kick to open space but no one covers or run well.”


Also I have discovered the contested mark was not good at the hot spot.


My boys need basic skill drills like what we do at the Dingoes! Should I train with them so that they can regain basic skills and I can improve my skills?


But the Saints Express started accelerating. Acres ran and bounced like operating an express train and Lonie took a good mark like finding the green signal. Lonie scored a goal and we were a point behind.


Young Marshall took a mark seeming to cross the DC/AC section towards the terminating station. But his train moved towards the wrong track (scored a behind).


Then a collision occurred. The Brown Express train hit hard the Saad military plane. Shoulder to shoulder. Brown was reported and is facing the Tribunal.


Billings was awarded a free kick and booed by Don supporters. The young Saint just drove the train into the main train track.


But the gun pilot (McDonald-Tipungwuti) shot the goal posts after Billings had done.


Armo applied the brake late (fumbled the footy), but covered himself that was good. But he was tackled and lost control.


Then he has got an opportunity to score a goal but missed. Another waste.


Adding errors, Ben Long drove the train with the red signal (started flare with an Essendon player) so a 50-metre penalty was awarded Essendon. Francis who turned 21 on the game day scored a goal.


Lonie’s later goal narrowed the behind margin into five as the first quarter’s final margin.


Meanwhile Matthew Richo reported on Channel Seven that BJ has been ruled out for the night.


At the begging of the second quarter, the Gresham Express accelerated. Steele’s good mark and his kick was passed to Geary and then to the number 4.


Unfortunately, he only drove towards the left platform – gained a minor score. He was booed by opponent supporters at the time.


But he has got another opportunity. Gresham collected the handpass made by Armitage. It was an easy shot and put Saints in front for the first time at night.


In the process of the goal scoring, Membrey couldn’t take a mark and Armo was given the signal of back Skunk and backed well. To be honest, my boys were booed by Essendon supporters throughout the night. As Brown’s collision was terrible, I understand why he was booed. But I was annoyed with Carlisle being booed all the time he touched footy.


Dons’ fans, think about how we Sainters feel on BJ. Are we booing him all the time? No. Then why do you boo Jake all the time? It’s unfair!


Later, Membrey took a mark, but missed an opportunity. I remember a Herald Sun article that I read at a cafe in Glen Huntly on a Friday afternoon. Skunk was struggling with taking rhythm when goalkicking. Unfortunately he was unable to make the best rhythmic movement of the motor.


Richo remained calm. Why doesn’t he show emotion in the coach’s box? I think he should behave like Bulldogs coach Luke Beverage. And can you please tell me why you went back upstairs? I really think you should sit downstairs.


‘Technical faults’ occurred a lot that I have been sick and tired of. Not only goal kicking but also mark taking.


Then dominance of train travel was replaced by air travel, like in the modern era. We wasted opportunities to score goals, and Hooker put Essendon back in front.


Freeman scored his first AFL goal. He was embraced by teammates. He had been through pain in his career and it took 1,810 days to make a debut.


The score was level, but then McDonald-Tipungwuti flew his planes towards his goal posts twice in a row. Finally Richo put his hands on his mouth. Saints were four goals down at the main break.


Before it was over, Saint Nick said that Saints needed to clear turnovers. I really think he should be on the bench mentoring leaders and boys instead of commentating.


My notebook was filled with negative details for the last half. I was so unhappy and grumpy to watch the game live, but I would like to highlight positive actions and to take player’s notes.


I was wondering why our boys didn’t chase an opponent player who was running in the midfield. But I found out that open space would be created if a defender chased him. Winning a contested mark in the hot spot would be the best way.


Also I found that players should be hungry by running, kicking and diving. Take risks. Staying safe zone can create unnecessary turnovers.


At the last quarter, I saw two positive actions made by Saints.


Ben Long took a high contested mark of two on two. Then he has done his job.


Ben Paton who played his first AFL senior game scored a goal. Welcome to the great footy club!


However the reality was Richo unable to control his trains. He showed his emotion putting his hands on his head and put heads down, like what had Bevo and Adam Simpson done. To be honest I don’t want to see such emotion, but those with excitements and joy.


As for trains, I did’t find any negatively on Melbourne’s Metro trains. I have travelled with the old fleet of Comeng built between 1981 and 1988. Its maximum speed is 115kph and powered with the DC overhead supply.


But I have to admit that my boys played like this old train. Just couldn’t compete new and more flexible fleets. I understand no multiple source powered trains were deployed in Melbourne. I want my boys to install the DC overhead wires everywhere on field and operate faster fleet of X’Trapolis that can be ran at 143kph.


ESSENDON 5.3 10.8 14.13 18.14 (122)

ST KILDA 4.4 6.8 7.10 11.13 (79)

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 5, Fantasia 2, Stringer 2, Myers 2, Langford 2, Heppell, Francis, Hooker, McKenna, Smith
St Kilda: Billings 2, Gresham 2, Lonie 2, Freeman, Newnes, Long, Marshall, Paton

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, McGrath, McKenna, Myers, Heppell
St Kilda: Ross, Steele, Armitage, Billings

3. McDonald-Tipungwuti (ESS); 2. Heppell (ESS); 1. Ross (STK)

Umpires: Deboy, Pannell, Mollison

Official crowd: 37,483


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

    Hi Yoshi
    The Saints are under attack from all quarters at the moment. It must be hard for Nick R to watch what is happening to his old team week after week. The Herald -Sun has done a double spread on St Kilda’s woes today. It does seem like there has been some terrible recruiting errors in the last few years. Maybe they should get Luke Beveridge’s father back again. Nick said one of the worst decisions made was to have their headquarters in Seaford and I agree. Why on earth would they want players and staff located so far away from Etihad, AFL HQ, airport etc? Moorabbin should have been developed years ago.
    It seems your club is set for a big shake-up which hopefully will make it look better for 2019.

  2. G’day Neil,

    Thanks for your comment and my apology to get back to you so late. I have worked for long hours in the previous four days – finally I am having a day off.

    Rooey had already expressed in his book that the move to Seaford disheartened the boys as it was too far to travel and cafes are not close. Last year Yvette took me to then club headquarters there and we had lunch at a cafe in town. Indeed only driving is the option to get to cafes. Then boys had less time to socialise.

    My friend sent me a link to a Herald Sun article listing our wrong decisions. Recruiting issues were identified. In my opinion, trading Ben McEvoy was wrong. Savage is average and as well as is Dunstan.

    Tom Hickey performed well in 2016, but scrapping the third man up cost us a lot. Unfortunately we couldn’t develop good ruckman…

    But these are what we cannot change at all. I am writing up about what I think for the better future soon, either in the next match report or as an individual piece.



Leave a Comment