There are some days when a supporter wonders whether it is worth making the trek to watch a game.

But in the end you ignore the fact that your wife tells you that there is only a meagre hope of beating the top side, and you are not deterred when you make your electronic selection for the family tipping comp and are also advised that only two per cent of tipsters have chosen the Saints.

Yet you head to Marvel Stadium because there is always hope of an unexpected St Kilda win against the odds.

Sunday’s wasn’t necessarily the biggest boilover in a Saints and Swans game. Peering through the mists of history there was a match way back in 1918 which comes close, and has a bizarre backstory.

South Melbourne entered that Round 4 game played on King’s Birthday Monday as top team and St Kilda sat at the bottom of the ladder. By the end of the season, South Melbourne won a memorable flag, and the Saints developed into a highly competent side which reached the finals.

St Kilda won the Round 4 game by five points in a result that would only have its true significance in the overall context of the 1918 campaign as it was South’s only loss for the year. If South had won the game they would have become the only team in VFL/AFL history to go through a season undefeated. To this day only Essendon in 2000 and Collingwood in 1929 have gone so close to footy perfection.

That South loss in 1918 came about in the most bizarre circumstances which were only revealed years later by Mark Tandy, a red and white champion of the club who played on that fateful day.    

Early St Kilda star, Wels Eicke, pictured circa 1912.

In the Swans history book Honour the Names, author Jim Main recounted Tandy’s memoirs:

“One of our patrons, a well-known racing man invited us to spend the weekend at his beautiful home in the Dandenongs and return to Melbourne on the Monday morning for the afternoon match against St Kilda.

“Boy will I ever forget that wet cupboard – or weekend. Most of us did not shut our eyes for 48 hours and when they put us on a train at Ferntree Gully near midday, that sleep to Flinders Street was the only shut-eye we had to freshen us up for the game.

“Some of the boys were wobbling at the knees when they walked from the St Kilda train across to the St Kilda Oval. Fair dinkum, when some were dressed to go out on the field they had to be headed in the direction of the arena gate and given a shove-off. That they ever saw the game out was a miracle.”

St Kilda’s win wasn’t just the result of the South players over-imbibing on a boozy weekend. Much of it was due to the efforts of Dave McNamara, a super star forward of the era who returned to VFL football after missing most of 1915 through suspension then being sidelined in 1916 and 1917 when  St Kilda withdraw from the competition due to World War I.

In a stunning first quarter McNamara set South back on their heels with two goals from towering drop kicks then a third from one of his trademark place kicks. In a day where only 12 goals were kicked – St Kilda winning 6.13 (49) to 6.8 (44) – McNamara’s performance was the matchwinner. In the last quarter McNamara put a seal on the game by dropping back in defence. Another legendary Saint  - Wels Eicke – was also impassable in defence and the famous Roy “Up There” Cazaly as a major contributor around the field

Different eras and different tales. This time there were no hangovers involved.