Round 5 – St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney: Words from our coach

Etihad Stadium, Sunday 24th April 2015 1.10pm

“A day where we just got outplayed”

There were so many great experiences leading up to the game. I was with Danielle and Luke and Pop Martin, Uncle Bob and Gary. We’d bought balls for the after-game kick to kick and got great parking because Danielle got us there early.  Luke went into the game zone and kicked and handballed and practiced his Auskick skills, and we had time to settle in before the match. I got great cuddles as Luke, now 5½, sat on my knee, those special cuddles reserved for Nannas. I can see how this young man’s face and body is changing from a baby to a young boy. Dressed entirely in St Kilda gear from birthdays and just for the hell of it from Nanna Yvette, we were all happy to be at a home game, in the loving surrounds of Saints people and this particular family makeup.

When the game started, the happy feelings slowly ebbed away. Four quick GWS goals (Johnson, Greene, Smith and Cameron – a harbinger of the day to come) before Saints at least answered with three quick snaps from Savage, Riewoldt (ever the champion) and Sinclair. Cameron showed his force with a final one for the quarter, and we knew what the day would bring.

“Our boys weren’t quite at the level…”

GWS came charging out and we watched as Cameron got his third before Josh Bruce pulled us back in. Cameron ripped it back with another quick one from Green. McCartin kicked truly and we still had some fantasy of being in it, as Ward then Bruce goaled. There was so much happening. We couldn’t get a run at the ball, our skill errors were killing us and deflating both players and supporters. When we did rush forward, we shot ourselves in the foot with handovers, and the groaning and moaning all around us got ruder as the afternoon went on. I was conscious of all the children within earshot of swearing and frustration, but it wasn’t yet at the stage of concern. Though the game was. We were 21 points behind at half time.

“(In the last few weeks) we’ve had some pretty intense performances … this week we were off.”

We took a break, we ate more food, we stretched our legs, and we watched the Auskick kids, saying to Luke that it might be him in two years’ time when he’s Year 2.

On one indicator (points scored), we won the third quarter. It was started again by GWS when Haynes goaled, and at least we scored three goals (Newnes, Riewoldt, Riewoldt) before Steele settled us down. With the run of three goals, Saints fans thought there was a sniff. But it was snuffed.

“You don’t need to be off much in this competition to get beaten … pretty badly, particularly our energy and intensity and our want to fight in the last quarter which was disappointing…”

Talk about a statement from GWS (an understatement from our coach). Again the Giants came crashing through and ran us over completely. Johnson, Whitfield, Greene with two, Williams and Johnson again. Six quick, unanswered goals put the game out of reach. From the 16-point deficit of the 3rd quarter we looked at an eight-goal difference. We did get pleasure when Riewoldt again scored, his fourth for the night, but Cameron fired back with his fifth. Savage got his second, Dunstan his first and that was it for the Saints. Johnson got his fourth and the GWS stamped their feet and sung out loudly when we were mercifully released by the siren.

“…there were way too many passengers, too many blokes who didn’t get to the level. Every team needs a strong contribution from everyone, and we didn’t get that.”

Luke lost his will to stay during the last quarter, as did the Saints boys. With Danielle, Pa and Luke heading home early, it was left to cousin Gary and I to enjoy kick to kick. We waited for all the GWS celebrations to finish, their fighting song making their few members happy, and us just waiting for the whole thing to be over.

I loved the flooding of the ground by supporters, and the big step from the stadium onto the ground had to be managed carefully. (Getting back up, I needed a hand from Gary.)

For a while, we forgot the terrible Saints game and just enjoyed kicking back and forward. My left foot kicks seemed to be getting worse, no power. I felt like a real Saints player today. And then I swapped legs and found better strength and accuracy. My marking has improved; I was a pretty handy Nanna mark. And my handballs weren’t bad either. And only once nearly got creamed in the head by a passing ball. I cannot imagine doing all this with huge bodies being flung at me or grabbed, tackled, bumped and run over by massive players.

Gary and I would have kept going, as would all of the others out on the field, but the siren rung out and we were forced to leave. Fans left the ground very reluctantly. For us, it was the best part of the day. Also great was that because we stayed on to have fun on the ground and walked slowly to the station, there wasn’t a great squeeze on the train. Gary and I got on separate trains, and I shifted seats for a lady who was agitated and upset. I found myself chatting to Robert, a man happy to chat, all the way back to Caulfield. It was a pleasure to distract ourselves with stories of Spain (where his mother is from) and family (the massive turnout of cousins when he visits Spain) and that he was born in ’66 not far from Moorabbin. What was even better, my daughter was free to come pick me up from the station, and I got home to relax and rest and write.

“After the game the players look at it – if we are disappointed we look to turn it around, put things back on the track … we have had positive things said about us and quickly undone it the next week … we look forward to see who puts hands up, who is prepared to fight and scrap, to make sure we are a very very hard team to beat and that’s our want against the Demons next week.”

As I write this, I note that Carlton have got their first win of the season against a shocked Fremantle, and Melbourne have creamed Richmond, setting them up perfectly to face a struggling St Kilda outfit next week. There are no gimmes this year, no easy games, no givens. And as much as the Saints are struggling, I am loving the fast furious football of our good games and THE good games in general. It’s been an outstanding first five rounds if you are a winner.

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.

Comments

  1. Earl O'Neill says

    Great piece Yvette, a pleasure to read.

  2. Hi Yvette,

    Your explanation of Richo’s post match comments is nice and makes easy to understand.

    Passengers on the boys holding the ball were run over Giants many times. Our boys need more protectors and/or to move the ‘seats’ to collect the ball. I would advise Richo to sit on the bench rather than up in the coaches box to control passengers.

    The last quote is all what I hope. No matter if it’s tough or easy, we have to win. The Saints dominate over Demons who have been alleged to use the game against us to tank to pick early drafts. Like Paul Chapman declared to Hawthorn and Jeff Kennett, we will never lose against Dees.

    Go Saints!!

    Yoshi

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