The last time I visited the Moorabbin Oval at Linton Street, it was a chilly, desolate spot.
It was winter, and a heavy mist enveloped the ground.
The buildings were dilapidated and run down. A lone black dog ran about the place, in search of someone, or something.
And an empty beer can rattled about upon the the stony, fractured asphalt, haunted by spirited gusts of cold wind.
Yesterday was different.
The air was warm.
It was summer and the atmosphere, celebratory.
A multitude of footy fans streamed into the park in clusters, lounging about on beanbags and picnic rugs upon the grassy terraces, eating gourmet sausages, with sauerkraut and mustard, or pulled pork tacos, with sour cream, perhaps; or standing, up closer, hanging about the fence for better scrutiny of the on-field action that was to come.
The crumbling, grafittied remnants of the old G. G. Huggins Stand, the rusted turnstiles, the wired enclosures, the old signs, the cold slabs of dated concrete and the poky, grilled ticket windows had gone.
The hollow sound of that one empty can blowing in the wind had dimmed, and the mist had lifted.
A clean, modern shape in the form of a new pavilion had taken their place.
With crisp fresh lines, the building slotted itself comfortably into the surrounding suburban landscape, whilst the various combinations of red, white and black; blue, red and white created a sparkling, festive view of the crowd moving about us.
Before an adoring crowd the Saints girls took on the experienced Doggies with courage and excitement. They were defeated by twenty five points.
Moorabbin Oval, it is an old ground in a new decade. It has a new name, new fans, and a new generation of players and stories to come.
It is also footy on a Summer’s day, and I quite like it.