AFL Round 12: Carlton v St Kilda: Saints fall in in a ring-a-ding-ding affair

By Josh Barnstable

Having a day off school means you can relax for the day. It is also vital that you relax your muscles after a tough night of footy training and, in today’s case, rest your muscles after a night of dancing, raving and just having fun at the school social. For me, I have the whole day to myself to think about my upcoming radio interview on the five matches being played on this first week of the split round. Personally, I do not like the split round. It’s great for the players to have a week off but for some clubs like the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide, they are gaining momentum and a week off may kill that momentum. Also during the split round, my Saturday afternoon ritual of listening to the footy on Triple M is off, as there is no footy being played on Saturday afternoons this round and I have to spend all of Saturday next week being as bored as I will come 2 o’clock tomorrow. I boldly pick Carlton for tonight, as they are coming off a good win against the Lions at the Gabba while the Saints are appearing shaky, despite defeating the Roos by 46 points last weekend.

The first quarter begins and the Saints are white-hot, kicking an early goal through Adam Schneider after some good work by Stephen Milne. Andrew McQualter receives a free kick and is gifted a 50m penalty and kicks the Saints’ second goal. Schneider gathers from a bounce and snaps another one before Nick Riewoldt kicks two goals in a row to extend the margin out to 29 points with still a half of the quarter remaining. The Saints have some injury woes, though, with Brendon Goddard seemingly dislocating his elbow after a strong tackle and also Leigh Montagna on the bench in pain after a corky to his thigh. Eddie Betts comes to the party, snapping a brilliant goal. Marc Murphy receives a free kick and goals from long range to cut the margin to three goals. Jason Gram steps up though. He receives the ball, dummies around Aaron Joseph and grubbers the ball along the ground for a magnificent goal to take the margin out to 24 points. Riewoldt then marks and goals from outside 50 to extend the margin out to 30 points. A late goal from Jeff Garlett after a tap-on followed by a snap saw the Blues go into the first break 24 points down, 3.2 to 7.2. Nick Dal Santo is on 11 touches while Gram is on nine for the Saints. For Carlton, Heath Scotland is on eight while Chris Judd has seven possessions.

The second quarter starts and the Blues goal through Kade Simpson after he receives a free kick before kicking the goal from 50m out. Gram then marks and goals from 20m before Justin Koschitzke marks on the lead and goals from tight in the forward pocket, taking the margin out to 31 points. Andrew Carrazzo snaps a good goal from 45m out and then Murphy passes to Setanta O’hAilpin who is running into an open goalsquare. The ball bounces along the ground and the big Irishman lets it bounce through for Murphy’s second, the margin is 20 points.

This becomes 14 after big Shaun Hampson gathers and kicks a running goal and then Shaun Grigg capitalises on a brilliant tap back into play from Brendan Fevola to snap a goal, the margin is 8 points. Then Jordan Bannister, playing his first game of the year, snaps a goal from 35m out to reduce the margin to two points close to half-time. The final margin at the break is three points in favour of St Kilda, 9.5 to 9.2, with five goals coming in the last six minutes of the quarter for Carlton. Grigg is on 19 possessions while Dal Santo has 16 touches. I’m amazed to see Goddard back out there, as the replay of the tackle that saw him land on his arm was very similar to Brent Harvey’s where the little fella was taken in a chicken wing tackle from Daniel Jackson and dislocated his elbow. Montagna has also recovered from his corky.

The third quarter begins and Riewoldt marks and goals from 50m out to take the margin out to 8 points. Then a turning point in the match: Judd, bending over to gather the ball as he always does, is met with a head clash from one of his teammates (can’t quite remember who, I think Carrazzo or Steven Browne) and breaks his nose. Judd leaves the field a bloody mess and the Saints take full advantage, kicking goals through Milne, Riewoldt from an estimate 61m out, and then Goddard kicks from outside 50 to take the margin out to 26 points. The maestro returns with his head heavily bandaged, though, and the Blues kick the final two goals of the match through Bannister who is taking his chances and Fevola after a free kick from an interchange infringement followed by a 50m penalty. The Blues have the momentum going into the last break just 13 points down, 11.6 to 13.7. Montagna has a ripping quarter to have 27 possessions for St Kilda while Dal Santo is on 25. For the Blues, Grigg and Carrazzo are on 25 and 22 disposals respectively.

The last quarter starts and the Saints open with a goal to Dal Santo before Betts goals to reduce the margin to 10 points. Fevola then takes a strong mark on the lead and cuts the margin to 4 points. Then Montagna stands up. Running along the boundary line, he splits the middle from 25m out to take the margin out to 10 points once again.

It is then O’hAilpin’s time to shine. He gathers inside 50, dummies and goals after spinning out of danger to reduce the lead to 4 points with little time remaining. There is to be one more hero though. Zac Dawson, a young defender who has shone for the Saints this year, sneaks forward to take an uncontested mark on a tight angle. He approaches the goals to seal the match and split the middle with just his second goal in the AFL and he celebrates like Leon Davis.

The Saints have won by 9 points in a ring-a-ding ding, 16.8 (104) to 14.11 (95). Montagna finishes on 36 possessions, Dal Santo on 34; Lenny Hayes has 30 disposals while Riewoldt has 15 kicks, plenty of marks and kicks 5.3 for St Kilda. For the Blues, Grigg finishes on 28 touches while Paul Bower and Carrazzo end up on 26 possessions.

The Saints have done it. They’ve extended their winning streak to 12 to stay atop the AFL ladder while the Blues lose yet another tight game and they will slip to fifth if Collingwood wins next week against the Swans. A good time for the break to come up for the Blues, with Judd certainly looking forward to a week off after a bad break to his nose. He will most likely have surgery this week.

During a moment in the final quarter, Judd was seen gagging on his own blood but still went out on the field for quick bursts until the umpire spotted the blood flowing from his mouth. This really showed what Carlton were about tonight; never giving up on the contest and pushing all the way to the final siren. In Judd’s case, I’m glad for the week’s break. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Carlton 3.2—9.2—11.6—14.11.95
St Kilda 7.2—9.5—13.7—16.8.104

Goalkickers:

Carlton-Betts 2, Bannister 2, Murphy 2, Fevola 2, Grigg, Hampson, O’hAilpin, Garlett, Simpson, Carrazzo

St Kilda-Riewoldt 5, Schneider 2, Gram 2, McQualter, Koschitzke, Goddard, Montagna, Dal Santo, Milne, Dawson

Best:

Carlton-Judd, Murphy, Simpson, Grigg, Carrazzo, Bower, O’hAilpin

St Kilda-Riewoldt, Montagna, Gram, Dal Santo, Hayes, Dawson, Hudghton

Crowd:

50, 820 at Etihad Stadium

Votes:

3: Nick Riewoldt (ST), 2: Leigh Montagna (ST), 1: Chris Judd (C)

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