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Round 21 – St Kilda v Sydney: Pride Match. Meaningful for clubs and good reminder for myself

Saturday, 13 August 2016
7:25 pm (6:25 pm Coolabah)
Docklands Stadium

I was lucky to get a day off on the game day, and would be able to watch my footy two weeks in a row at Coolabah in Osaka.

As it was so hot outside and I don’t have my own room (end up sleeping in the back office at work), I had plenty of free time in the afternoon. I had decided to have all afternoon and evening footy-watching at Coolabah.

I’m proud of being footieholic.

Having had lunch near Coolabah, I got there just around the first bounce for the Hawthorn vs North Melbourne game. To get a chance to play finals for the Saints, I hoped Hawks won.

The game was played how I wanted, but it was one-sided. Hawks led by 46 points at the first break.

Then two blokes came in and one of them wore a Carlton cap, so I offered him his footy. The other guy was a Dees supporter.

We switched to Brisbane Lions vs Carlton. Opposed to my prediction, Carlton were behind. Blue boys seemed not to be able to handle the warm and sunny weather.

Having seen Blues lost, they left the pub. Later an elderly couple came in and asked a rugby league match between Warriors and South Sydney. I was worried of not being able to watch my footy, but relieved to hear it would be over before the Pride Match.

The NRL match was over and the time to see my Saints in action was about to arrive. I was so excited and motivated to watch the game. The game seemed to be tough for us, but I believed we could upset Swans and would play finals in September. On the previous night, Mick Malthouse and Cameron Mooney tipped St Kilda on their SEN commentator roles.

St Kilda and Sydney Swans are proud of holding the Pride Match. I was proud of being a Sainter and watching this meaningful game.

The ball was bounced and Saints dominated with great ball-work in the midfield, as usual. We welcomed back Paddy McCartin, who took a chest mark in the goal square before kicking the first goal of the game. My belief to upset Swans was bigger, even if it was just the beginning.

However two goals in a row kicked by Swans (Xavier Richards and Kieren Jack) followed by Paddy’s one. Were we sunk by the powerful Swans?

Then once again our great midfield ball-work was done and Gresham kicked the ball towards Armitage. Armo kicked a goal and then former Swan Membrey started his engine. He showed his great efforts in front of his teammates.

But their big and tall goal kicker Buddy Franklin also started shooting after did Membrey. I was unaware of his big night at the time…

The next turn was Weller who has been terrific these days and is a potential next skipper.

Until then I took notes on my iPhone, but stopped as other patrons came into the pub. They wanted to watch different games including soccer. It was hard to keep taking notes, but good to talk to others.

Meanwhile I roared at the bar being close to the screen and encouraging boys with words like ‘Go, go!!’ and ‘Kick, kick!!’ I was proud of being crazy in my Saints.

The elderly couple showed their supports on the Swans, but we talked in friendly ways. Other patrons asked me why I barracked for the Saints and I told them the Saints were kind of my home team (home away from home) as we used to play in Wellington once a year.

As another Demons supporter was in the pub, we asked an American barman to get his game and he did a good job. But other live stream channel only provided with low quality of screening. My game was screened by the unofficial one and I was not happy so I grabbed my tablet to watch. Then the American showed solutions to send signal into their TV screen but it didn’t work!

The second quarter was played well by my boys, even slowed. We kicked five goals in the first quarter and then only two in the second quarter. We were behind by five points at the main break. I believed that we would bounce back and upset them.

But but… the game was played against my belief and wishes. I can remember only it was a Buddy show. He took marks and kicked goals efficiently. Our attacking footy including midfield ball-work was totally gone. My boys seemed tired. Or do they just need more experience to play full four quarters well?

Other blokes suggested me to stop watching at the last minutes so that I would feel less pain, but as I had decided before the 2015 season, I watch the entire matches even we are behind to show my loyalty and supports to my boys from Japan.

Final siren sounded and we lost by 70 points. We gave away our credit earned at the previous match against Carlton towards Swans or AFL Bank.

The chance to play finals footy in September has gone. But I praise my Saints to play well this year. I hope my boys learn from this year to improve and would advise them to gain confidence.

I appreciate Sydney Swans to promote gay people even if I am straight, as well as my St Kilda Football Club. Good on you both.

The pub had a cultural diverse in the evening. Japanese and Australian communities were created. I was in the latter indeed. I admit I am much different to majority of Japanese people. But I have to accept who I am. I am proud of joining Aussies and watching a unique Australian sport.

Coolabah is a good place to socialise and to watch footy. If you are coming to Kansai including Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, please visit the footy pub. Also suggesting your friends and family who are planning to visit and/or live the Kansai region would be much appreciated. The Australian owner is a passionate North Melbourne supporter, cooks great Aussie pies, and is a great and interesting bloke. Please support them as they need more customers. Thanks in advance!

“How I want to be” It’s the St Kilda membership’s slogan for 2016. The club shows how they want to be. I want to see the positive journey to reach the flag with my boys and coaches. In my life, I need to seek the place where I can feel more comfortable and gain more confidence. I need to change to achieve my life goals. I need more works to do to improve myself and my life.

The match include many meanings in many fields in general.

ST KILDA 5.0 7.5 9.8 11.10 (76)
SYDNEY 4.1 8.4 16.7 23.8 (146)

St Kilda: McCartin 2, Membrey, Riewoldt, Gresham, Weller, Acres, Wright, Montagna, Newnes, Dempster
Sydney Swans: Franklin 6, Papley 3, Parker 3, X.Richards 3, Heeney, Jack, Hannebery, Naismith, Nankervis, Kennedy, Hewitt, McVeigh

St Kilda: Montagna, Riewoldt, Acres, Armitage, Weller, Newnes
Sydney Swans: Franklin, Parker, Hannebery, Kennedy, Lloyd, Mills, McVeigh

Our Votes: Franklin (SYD 3), Armitage (STK 2), Acres (STK 1)

Umpires: Nicholls, Schmitt, Fleer

Official crowd: 33,059

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. Earl O'Neill says

    Another great read Yoshi, love your work.

  2. Thanks Earl for your compliment. All compliements are great encouragements and gain cinfidence. All the best mate.

  3. jan courtin says

    Nice story Yoshi. Congratulations!
    I find it quite difficult watching if my team is being thrashed. Like you though, I would never stop watching on television, and when at a game, I would never leave, no matter the score.

    Let’s hope, for your sake, that your Saints keep improving (as they certainly have this year) and make the finals soon.

  4. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for your compliment and congratulating on being pride.

    You have good attitude on following your Swans. Like myself, you are showing your passionate and loyalty to the Swans. Your club must be proud of having you as a great supporter.

    I admire our improvement and do hope we will play finals next year. Our second flag is not far away, I strongly believe.

    Congratulations on your win over North Melbourne today!

    Have a good weekend.


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