Round 3 – Collingwood v St Kilda: Expect the Expected, and if all else fails, make chicken soup.

8. Expect the Expected, and if all else fails, make chicken soup.

AFL Round 3: Collingwood vs St.Kilda


Friday 17th April 2015 7.50 pm

Yvette Wroby


Friday football seemed so remote when I sat with my Mum, Elfie, at Peter Mac for her radiology treatment. The waiting room, with family like myself, chatted about hats and scarfs provided freely by the Volunteer Department, we talked of the terrible advertising on the morning programs on TV and of how great the coffee is downstairs. We ate the sandwiches and Mum put her feet up to rest in the provided recliners, before her next appointment. It was going to be a long day for her.

Me, I had to leave. I was dropping my car in for a service, picking up Mum’s unused car, and resting before the football.

So when I walked into Subaru Camberwell, a little frazzled by the day already gone and what was to come, I was greeted by Gerrard, my resident Pie supporting car-service contact, the recipient of past Footy Almanacs as Christmas thankyou gifts. Looking up, seeing me with my red, white and black handbag, jewellery and glasses, seeing me just enter his world, he said, loudly;

“Oh no. Get out. Don’t let her in here. She’s a tragic. It’s a bad omen for the Pies. Look at her stuff. My goodness, she doesn’t have her painted nails [not only does he notice my nails but he remembers this detail].”

Gerrard didn’t miss a beat on the phone, obviously a client or contact who knew him well enough to not take a word seriously. I started to write down what he said. He panicked for a moment on seeing this, thinking I was going to report him to head office for bad customer service practices. I just didn’t want to forget the diatribe, the special moments dedicated just to me.

What made it brilliant was that without warning, in most unexpected ways, people look at me and think “football”, “St Kilda”, “tragic” and it makes me smile, and laugh, and it brings joy to them and to me.

It comes to mind, as I write this, the memory of the taxi driver who took me to the Melbourne airport last week for the Gold Coast Suns game. He emailed today asking for the match report where I mentioned him. I’d written it in my stories, but not the match report. It seems appropriate to write it here.

Prabhjeet, my taxi driver, is a Collingwood supporter. He has only lived in Australia for ten years. I always ask why people support the team they do. Prabhjeet tells me that he has driven a lot of drunk Collingwood supporters around over the years, and they enthusiastically keep encouraging him to barrack for the Pies. He has done so for the last five years, and got to enjoy the 2010 Premiership win over the Saints.

Gerrard and Prabhjeet both offer me gems that sparkle and shine. They offer me parts of themselves to gently share. To lovingly tell stories. It is extraordinarily generous of them, of all those who seem quite happy to tell me their connections to their clubs. What football means to them.

When I ask if Gerrard will be there when I pick up my car, so we can talk results, he says he’s off for the week, but if it’s OK, can he call me? He has my card. No problem, I say, I’ll talk footy anytime.

And so, after resting, after all this, Amanda my footy daughter, and her man Anthony, a Collingwood supporter, come to meet me that evening to go to the MCG. Anthony hasn’t been to a football game since he was 8 years old. He has always barracked for the Pies. I ask him who Mia, their 7-month-old daughter, will barrack for, and he tells me that as long as she barracks for Melbourne Storm, the choice between being a Saint or a Pie supporter is all hers.

I actually thought that was a pretty cool attitude. I am planning my subversion activities already.

Up in the third tier of the G, along with Uncle Bob and Garry, and all the other Saints and Pies supporters, we fitted in with all the other mixed groupings. Families, friends, devotees, all coming to see what would happen on this cold, rainy, Friday night. Would St Kilda pull another rabbit out of the hat, defy expectations? Would the Pies win their first for the season, their young team beat our even younger team? Every single commentator in the Herald/Sun had picked the Pies.

They were right to do so. Riewoldt was withdrawn from the team moments before teams came out to warm up. Paddy McCartin was to have his first AFL game, with none of the days of excitement or wind-up that would normally surround the first game for the 2014 number one draft pick.

The first quarter, a 12-goal slugfest, left the Saints one point up at quarter time. The brilliant, fast St.Kilda football lasted exactly fifteen minutes, (three goals in the first three minutes), before the Pies pegged us back, and we literally handed the ball and the goals and the lead over. But credit to the boys, they had a red-hot crack. McCartin had quite a few early touches and did his best, providing some contest, and we all dream of the great player he may become in the future.

But we are where we are. Collingwood stopped playing with their food and just walloped us, a good old-fashion flogging. The second quarter saw them kick six goals to our one, the third, four to our one, and they ran away with another five to our two. They were brutal.

Cloke was devastating with five, and he missed another four. Elliott, young himself, got four. Only Armitage and Bruce kicked two goals. All the rest of our ten were singles. Collingwood had 12 goal kickers. Twelve. Their fast ball movement, their crushing our souls with every Saints error, it was pitilessly efficient and effective.

For us Sainters, it was another hard day at the office. To be expected really. The only problem was that the Gold Coast win last week inserted a tiny bit of hope into our otherwise practical minds, behind our sensible brain matter, that damned inserted dream-like delusion, the quality of magic and not reality. Mind you, without that annoying piece of embedded craziness, why would we all rock up anyway?

My penance and rescue the next day was eight hours of chicken soup making. Normal people do not do this activity for eight hours. I have long proven that I am no normal person.

I make two huge pots every few months, and when I feel a need of sustenance, I hit the deep, tasty, wonderfully healing potion, the recipe passed on by my Bubba (grandmother).

Here’s how to make some of the magic potion for yourselves: (I use kosher meat for the extra flavour and this is no soup for vegetarians so stop reading now!).

Three onions left whole, per pot

A lot of chicken frames

Beef Top ribs, two per huge pot

Necks and giblets

Chicken feet if you can bear the work of dropping each, individually, in boiling water for 20 seconds and peeling off the outer layer of skin.

Carrots, celery and parsnip to be added once you have slow boiled the crap out of everything else.

And if you are extra lucky, and know where to get them, the yolks taken out of the egg-laying chicken which are a speciality and often hard to get. In our family, they are more valuable than gold.

Clean all the meat of fat. Throw the onions in first, and cook away. Then the top rib, cook away, then the frames, cook away, and then later again, the rest of the chicken. The last comes the eggs and veggies.

There is constant defatting while cooking, skimming the top and putting it into a plastic container for disposal, and the hard work of separating it all out to store, defat when cold, and ultimately freeze.

Ordinary people would not make the quantity I do at one time; my exhaustion from the footy just adds to the exhaustion of a hard day and night’s work.

But as I watch my family taste it and tell me that it’s a great batch, as I hand it out to Mum and Serry and Rachel who has a cold, or others who are in need or hungry while at my home, I know it is a job worth doing, just like the job the boys of my Club, we have put every last bit of love and energy to do what we choose to do.

Next week, it’s off to New Zealand, me and the boys, and the Saints will have a crack at a win against a struggling Carlton. Damn it, there goes that little sparkle of hope again. It must be the effects of a brilliant batch of chicken soup. The healing has already begun.


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. Life and friends will always be more important than footy. Something that those of us supporting crap sides have reinforced every week.
    The elaborate soup making (yum!) sounds like “I’m gonna wash those men right out my hair” (kitchen mix).

  2. John Butler says

    You’re a gem Yvette,

    I’m working hard on a version of your zen-like forbearance. Not sure it’s going to stick.

    Enjoy windy Wellington (I think that’s its official name).

  3. Chicken soup heals all, from the common cold to weary bones to an aching heart. Good that you’re able to cook it so often, because we might all need gallons of it again this season.

  4. Dave Nadel says

    Beautifully written and a very impressive recipe for chicken soup. Despite what our boys did to your boys last Friday night, I have the feeling I am going to be needing some chicken soup before the season is over. Perhaps with matzo balls.

  5. Yvette Wroby says

    Yes matzo ball and kreplah ( Jewish dim sims) recipes will come in later match reports !

    It was really an outstanding batch that I am still happily eating four days later. Needed lots

    Thanks for sharing my story
    X yvette

  6. Yvette Wroby says

    Maybe I should send super soup re pie to the team!

  7. Performance enhancing soup? Hope you run it by ASADA first, Yvette.

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