Round 23 – West Coast Eagles v St Kilda : Saints safari descends into desolation in the wild wild west but the Best and Fairest has been determined.

 

Saturday September 5,
5:40pm AWST
Domain Stadium, Perth

By Jennifer Muirden

 

Four days before the end of my whirlwind world tour I found myself in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 45 degrees heat in the desert. Similar to being in Greece during the lead up to the Saints versus Geelong match surrounded by so many signs of cats in Santorini followed up equally by the Saints (!) in Naxos, here I was surrounded by the wild wild west and most fittingly birds of prey also known as raptors!

I learned a great deal about birdlife while there but most significantly all about the ancient and noble art of falconry and why the falcon continues to be such an important part of Arab culture. Better known for its rapid development and preoccupation for breaking world records for things like the world’s tallest building since 2008, the Burj Khalifa (a towering height of 828 metres) , Dubai has also been plagued by a proliferation of pigeon droppings (pigeon guano) thus falcons have segued beautifully into contemporary life being put to work to eradicate the problem which threatens to spoil the city’s glamourous public image.

 

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The falcon totem within the Sharjah Heritage village near Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s house on the creek side in Al Shindagha Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

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Falcon spotted at Al Ramool Motorcycle Rentals, Dubai.

 

The two main species of falcon in the UAE are the saker and the peregrine which are some of the most powerful and graceful birds to watch in flight. While watching them in the desert my thoughts drifted to the different families of raptor being the eagles, hawks and the falcons and how they differ in size, diet and habitat and naturally drew parallels with our AFL teams. Eagles and hawks are closely related coming from the same family, and eagles are basically just big hawks. Hawks and falcons differ in that falcons are smaller, slimmer, and faster flying and recent genetic studies have discovered that they are actually more closely related to parrot. Most interesting to me is that eagles are much larger and more powerful than both falcons and hawks, and many prefer fish to prey like mice and birds.

Taking all this information on board I was not surprised to see West Coast Eagles thrash the Saints on the day of my return to Melbourne, not to mention once again in the recent second qualifying final against the seemingly indomitable Hawthorn Hawks! While St Kilda was competitive in the first half of the match, sadly the second half did not inspire me with such feelings of rapture. For many matches during this year the Saints exhibited consistent pressure which saw us win some unexpected games. Sadly this was lacking overall in this game. However, with our current young brigade of recruits I continue to feel confident that the Saints future is looking very bright indeed.

One of the true highlights of the match for me was watching the intriguing Nic Naitanui and Jason Holmes ruck contest. While clearly Nic tore the game apart, I feel certain that in a few years Holmes will prove to be a formidable ruck match-up. In this game Nic Nat proved that he is possibly one of the best footballers playing in the AFL competition and truly deserves all the plaudits especially given the emotional upheaval of losing his Mum Atetha just over a month ago. He has clearly found a happy place playing footy and is driven by the memory of his recently deceased mother who would have been so very proud of his stellar performance in this game. Then there was the equally impressive performance delivered by West Coast’s Josh Kennedy who cemented this year’s Coleman Medal with an end year tally of 78 goals.

Rather than go into any more detail about this game, in my usual fashion I will once again let my songs paint a picture. First, I want it to be known that I feel no animosity towards West Coast and my admiration and acknowledgement towards the Weagles is expressed in my special rendition of the catchy eighties tune, the Wild Wild West.


WINNING IN THE WILD WILD WEST
Sung to the tune of Wild Wild West by The Escape Club on their debut album, ‘Wild Wild West’ (1988)

Thirty-six athletes running out to compete
South east to west south all in the same house
They’re at Domain vying while finals loom
West Coast will be Premiers this year, maybe

Weagles are strong but I don’t care
Admire their talent and footy flair
Though beating the Cats in ’92 was hard to bear
That was the team my late Mum loved best
Beginning in the nineties
Winning in the wild wild west
The wild wild west!

Masten’s in the medical room being handed out Valium
Priddis’s on the airwaves talking to the DJ’s
Thirty-six athletes ran out to compete
Now the Eagles live it up, live it up
Reality is they’ve well and truly won

Weagles were strong but I don’t care
Admire their talent and footy flair
Though beating the Cats in ’92 was hard to bear
That was the team my late Mum loved best
Beginning in the nineties
Winning in the wild wild west
The wild wild west!

So WA put your flags in the air and wave them up and down
You may as well live it up, live it up all over town
And party all day and through the night
You wont care as long as you’re Premiers come Grand Final night

Weagles are strong but I don’t care
Admire their talent and footy flair
Though beating the Cats in ’92 was hard to bear
That was the team my late Mum loved best
Beginning in the nineties
Winning in the wild wild west
The wild wild west!

Successful in the nineties, starting in the eighties
Aching for victory, does a fourth premiership loom?
Bring success, bring success wild west
Make them beat, make them beat their chest
See them win, see them win
Allow them time to lap it up

Weagles are strong but I don’t care
Admire their talent and footy flair
Though beating the Cats in ’92 was hard to bear
That was the team my late Mum loved best
Beginning in the nineties
Winning in the wild wild west
The wild wild west!

 

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Quad bike riding in the sand dunes with Al Ramool Motorcycle Rentals in Dubai was so much fun singing and yelling out ‘Go Saints… beat those Weagles this weekend. Do it for Schneids!

 

My next song is dedicated to spearhead Josh Bruce who was the Saints’ leading goal kicker for 2015 booting 50 goals for the season. More significantly it references his other standout accolade for the year clearly being the only player who Alan Richardson doesn’t seem to have asked to trim his tresses!


JOSH BRUCE (YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR YOUR MAN BUN TIGHT)
Sung to the tune of ‘Roxanne’ by The Police on their Outlandos d’Amour album (1978)

Josh Bruce
You don’t have to wear your man bun tight
Don’t play as a rover
Let your locks flow like Barks as you take flight

Josh Bruce
You don’t even have to try hard to excite
Spread across the ground like honey
There’s no doubt your future will be bright

Josh Bruce
You don’t have to wear your man bun tight
Josh Bruce
You don’t have to wear your man bun tight

Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Oh

You’ve been a bolt from the blue
We love everything you do
We have to tell you just how we feel
We don’t want just any other boy
We know our minds are made up
So hold your long-haired head up
Told you once, we won’t tell you again
It’s the Barks way!

Josh Bruce
You don’t have to wear your man bun tight
Josh Bruce
You don’t have to wear your man bun tight

Josh Bruce  (You don’t have to wear your man bun tight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (You don’t have to wear your man bun tight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (You don’t have to wear your man bun tight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)
Josh Bruce (let your locks take flight)

 

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A very windy sunset in the vast Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

 

Spending an afternoon in the rugged, windy and desolate desert environment during a Sun and Sky Tours 4 x 4 safari experience with our wonderful tour guide Mani Mohan, I was renewed with a sense of wild adventure still waiting to be explored further in my life. After some crazy dune bashing we stopped for a breathtaking view of the sunset. As I stood there on a rocky crag with the sun and wind on my face I was haunted by The Doors song ‘The End’ which was used effectively in both  Francis Coppola’s 1979 film ‘Apocalypse Now’ and the desert scene in ‘The Doors’ movie (1991) directed by Oliver Stone starring Val Kilmer as the lead singer Jim Morrison. In this special sunset moment I experienced a very strong sense of journey and emotion which drove me to compose the following song to express my feelings about how I feel at the conclusion of the Saints 2015 season.


THIS IS SEASON’S END
Sung to the tune of “The End” on the eponymous self-titled debut album by The Doors (1967)

This is Season’s end
Saints friends
But not really the end
Next year, we’ll make amends

Saints have elaborate plans, dear friends
We will consolidate, we will ascend
Expect the unexpected, we’ll transcend
We will be up in the eight and triumph…again

I can picture what will be
So euphoric and carefree
Desperately in need…of the promised land
That is Premiership land

Lost in a forty-nine year wilderness of pain
And fellow Sainters, I need not explain
We’re all on the same train
Waiting for our second Cup, yeah

Excited to return to Moorabbin town
Down the Nepean Highway, baby
To original Plugger land, a great sign
Ride the highway south-east, baby

Once at Junction Oval, by the lake
By the lake, Albert Park Lake, baby
The lake covers 0.9 square miles
Love the lake…it’s vast with history to behold

But for now west is the best
Yes in the west Weagles were the best
Played there, and they were the best

Premiership bliss is calling us
Premiership bliss is calling us
Saints, when will you bring it to us?

The players awake before dawn, they put their boots on
Like legendary Saints small Paul Callery
In 2016 Lonie is sure to answer the call
Saints will triumph at Etihad our home ground, and…then we
Will make it into the top eight, and then we
Will make it into the top four, and
Then we will go one more…and we’ll look inside
The Premiership Cup, we want to drink from you
Yes…we want to…drink from you

C’mon Saints, we’ll make a fuss
C’mon Saints, we’ll make a fuss
C’mon Saints, we’ll make a fuss
And celebrate with you out on the Cerberus
Down at Black Rock
We’ll make a fuss
Down at Black Rock
C’mon, yeah

Win, win, win, win, win, win!

This is the end
Saints friends
But not really the end
Next year, we’ll make amends

Over the Summer it’s footy free
Always a difficult time for me
But next March great hope lies
A Saints Premiership win before I die

This is NOT the end.

 

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After the sun went down I headed  through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to a traditional Bedouin style camp dinner where I began with the quintessential Arabian experience of a camel ride on a beautiful girl called Amjed.

 


WEST COAST
  4.4   7.7   13.14  18.7  (125)
ST KILDA   2.1  3.5  4.5  4.6  (30)

BEST
West Coast Naitanui, Priddis, Gaff, Kennedy, Shuey, Hurn, LeCras
St Kilda Montagna, Armitage, Steven, Fisher, Ross, Dunstan

GOALS
West Coast LeCras 4, Kennedy 3, Naitanui 3, Darling 2, Gaff, 2, Cripps, Hill, Sinclair, Yeo
St Kilda Bruce 2, Murdoch, Goddard

My Best
West Coast 3 – Nic Naitanui 2 – Marc LeCras 1- Andrew Gaff
St Kilda 3 – Leigh Montagna  2 – David Armitage 1- Sebastian Ross

Umpires  Ryan, Dalgleish, Ryan
Crowd 36,165 at Domain Stadium

 

2015 ST KILDA FC’S BEST & FAIREST TREVOR BARKER AWARDS 

Just a week after my return from abroad I attended St Kilda Football Club’s Best and Fairest Trevor Barker Awards at Crown Palladium, Southbank and my final song is celebratory tribute to the Saints consistently impressive midfielder Jack Steven who emphatically took out the 2015 Club’s prestigious award polling 175 votes, followed by David Armitage (159) and Sean Dempster (149).


RETURN OF THE (BEST & FAIREST) JACK!
Sung to the tune of “Return Of The Mack” on the debut self-titled album by Mark Morrison (1996)

Oooooh, come on, ooh yeah

Well we tried to tell you so (yes we did)
But I guess you didn’t know
As your success story goes
Baby, you’ve got to know
‘Cause we knew it from the start
You were always a Saint at heart
Geelong Falcon’s loss was our gain
Once worn by Burke and Smith

You were bestowed with number three
When drafted in 2007 at pick number forty-two
You deserve to wear number three
Yes, you must take great pride
To wear the famous number three
It is a huge compliment to you
Yes, you are truly bona fide

[Chorus 1:]
Return of the Jack

It is
Return of the Jack
Come on
Return of the Jack
Oh, my god
We knew that you’d be back
With the grand slam!

[Chorus 2:]
Return of the Jack

Once again
Return of the Jack
Top of Saints world
Return of the Jack
You continue to grow

We totally rate you Jack
May you never go!
So, you’re right at the top of your game
Especially when running Etihad Stadium’s wing
Letting the opposition know
That you are in control of the show
‘Cause you are always in the throng
We cannot forget all the great things you’ve done
So, Jacky boy, listen carefully
While we sing your victory song

Thrilled to see
You turn your back on free agency
Signed a new five-year deal
So very glad that you did
Until the end of 2020
To continue to play in the midfield
Wearing number three
Stoked that you chose to renew!

[Chorus 3:]
Return of the Jack

It is
Return of the Jack
Odds on
Return of the Jack
Don’t you know
We knew you’d be back
Return of the Jack
You’re in a whirl
Return of the Jack
You’re in a whirl
Return of the Jack
Up and down
We know that you’ll be back (round after round)

[interlude:]
Ahhhhhh Jack

You can stop worrying about your big break

Thrilled to see
You turn your back on free agency
Signed a new five-year deal
So very glad that you did
Until the end of 2020
To continue to play in the midfield
Wearing number three
Stoked that you chose to renew!

[Chorus 1]

[Chorus 2]

Return of the Jack!

 

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Best Emerging Player Award’ winner, Jack Lonie and me at 2015 St Kilda FC’s Best & Fairest Trevor Barker Awards at Crown Palladium, Southbank.

 

About Jennifer Muirden

Jennifer Muirden has been a keen St Kilda supporter since 1978 and fondly remembers her childhood Saturdays spent at Linton Street, Moorabbin. In her lifetime she hopes to experience the Saints second Premiership.

Comments

  1. Welcome back after your Round The World adventures, Jennifer. I always looked forward to seeing where you’d pop up next. Travel has certainly not dimmed your lyrical creativity and wonderful ability to paint a picture (both metaphorically, and literally in relation to previous posts). The desert sunrise (or sunset?) photo is very evocative, having been lucky enough to live in that part of the world a few years ago.
    It seems that your absence from the country coincided with a downturn in the Saints’ form, Jen. However, 2016 and a new season will be here before we know it (I don’t if that’s a good thing or a bad thing). Staying with the moment, could it be an omen that eagles are more powerful than both hawks and falcons? All the signs are pointing towards a West Coast-Hawthorn Grand Final, so perhaps the Weagles will prevail based on that ornithological fact (however, I’d love it if North upset the applecart on Saturday night). As symbolic as they are in the Middle East, I don’t want to talk about Falcons – they beat my beloved East Perth Royals in yesterday’s WAFL preliminary final. Roll on cricket season.

  2. In all your travels you have shown you can take the girl out of the country but can’t take the footy from her heart!

  3. McGowan fan. says:

    Fabulous post as always Jen. You are quite the wordsmith. I always enjoy your posts.

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