The Gold Coast game was just match sim so this is our one and only practice match for 2023.
St Kilda v Essendon
Friday 3 March
4:10pm, RSEA Park (aka Moorabbin)
Gates open at 3pm
Live on Kayo and Fox Footy
Food: There will be food trucks, bars and merch stalls (probably Saints stuff) around the ground. Linton Street Cafe will be open inside the RSEA Park foyer.
History: The Saints home ground from 1965 to 1992, Moorabbin was one of the eleven VFL grounds I used to go to as a kid (Richmond had already moved to the MCG). Moorabbin famously had the “animal enclosure” in front of the Huggins Stand which was less scary than it sounded. At three quarter time, with the Saints usually ten goals down, ladies seated in the Huggins would pass plates of biscuits and scones down to the inebriated gents in the enclosure, and they would pass them round to their mates.
The two most famous games both involved the Bombers: the Bloodbath of 1978 (The Sun headline next morning … “SPREADNEAGLED”) and the Phil Carman headbutt match two years later. Famous for Carman’s headbutt on boundary umpire Carbery, yes, but also a cracking game of footy in its own right with the Saints led by captain coach Jezza getting up for a 3 point win and anecdotally two elderly fans suffering heart attacks in the grandstands during the last minute of the game.
These days it’s a pleasant public park. Take a train to Moorabbin and wander over, spread your picnic blanky and watch the Bombers smash the hapless Saints in our last hitout before the season proper.
Players to watch
Essendon: Drapes, Bull Durham, Davey, Wanga, Voss, Menzie, Walla
St Kilda: Mattaes Phillipou
I remember going to a game in the early 90’s and there was this old Italian St. Kilda supporter behind us that kept saying “Kick it to Tony” in a strong accent. He was onto something, because Tony Lockett destroyed us that day. I remember him taking a couple of big marks over Paul Salmon who was sent back there to try stop him. Tony Lockett is probably underrated, even though he is highly rated!
This is making me feel old, but I was actually there (as a kid, with my older brothers) for both those games. I’m assuming the “Spreadneagled” one was the game when Merv was pushed into the top edge of the fence face first and had his nose split open. I remember being relieved that his skull didn’t split open, to be honest.
My memory was that Vander got hit by Val Perovic, Carl Ditterich nearly literally killed Terry Cahill (trainers were able to pull his tongue out of his throat), and I thought Merv got whacked and KO’d by Sidebottom, who got 4 weeks. Neagle getting his face rammed into a fence - pretty sure this was at Arden St on the wing in 1980. Also the day some kid called Burke (?) kicked about 5 goals against NM on debut and was never heard of again.