AFL Round 12: Saints hit the dozen

By Damian Watson

All week, in the words of the Easybeats I had “Friday On My Mind” as I had a long four days completing my Year Nine exams. Friday was also on the minds of everyone involved at Carlton and St.Kilda as they prepared for a Friday Night blockbuster at Etihad Stadium. As I made my way onto the Glen Waverley train into the city, I had a feeling it was going to be a long night. Bret Thornton became a late inclusion and with Jarrard Waite already on the sidelines, Carlton are forced to field a young, inexperienced backline against the likes of Riewoldt and Koschitzke.

Once the game commences my thoughts look to be a reality as St Kilda come out of the blocks quicker than Usain Bolt in the 100m, as they slam on five unanswered goals. The small crumbers Schneider and Milne display immense foward pressure on the Carlton backmen to force scoring oppurtunities. Midfielders such as Gram and Montagna are winning the clearances and Fevola has barely touched the ball. The Saints end up kicking seven for the term while the Blues recover in the last few mnutes with three quick goals with Judd, Betts and Gartlett keeping them in the game.

The second quarter turned out to be a massive momentum booster for the Blueboys. The Saints looked like blowing the match out early in the term however the Blues pounded on six goals to set up a thrilling second half. Kade Simpson was playing a blinder on the wing in his best game for the Blues while Jamison was taking conrol of the back line. Fevola started to get into the game with brilliant assistance and forward pressure.The most pleasing aspect for the Blues was that our second-tier players were brilliant with players like Hampson, Bannister, Houlihan and big Setanta O’hAilpin contributing around the ground and on the scoreboard.The atmosphere was certainly electric inside Etihad as the Saints clung to a three point lead at half-time. At the interval my Dad and I felt that an upset may be on the cards.

The Blues needed to keep the momentum going into the third term however the Saints, who seemed to love the city end of the ground, once again strolled out to a five goal lead. Luke Ball was in and under as always and Montagna was dominating in the centre as Judd recieved treatment on his broken nose. The Blues realised they were on the canvas and as Fev slotted through his first for the night after an interchange infringement,Carlton trailed by three goals and the stage was set for a thrilling final term.

The Blues were gradually coming and Fev had missed a couple of chances.Nick Riewoldt on the other hand took his oppurtuities as he kicked five important goals in a fair display by the saint star.Fev finally redeemed himself to place the Blues within four points and an upset looked on the cards. However to my dissapointment Leigh ‘Joey’ Montagna continued his form, cooly slotting a 45m goal. With 5 minutes to go, big Setanta imposed himself kicking a ripping goal to give the game life again. The ball was firmy in Carlton’s half for the next few minutes when an oppurtunity finally arose. Ryan Houlihan had the chance to put Carlton in front from a set shot from 50m out on a 45 degree angle.  “He is normally a brilliant kick” , I thought as I was chewing my fingernails. However just the one flag was flown and I knew our chances were gone. With a minute to go and the ball entering a spacious St. Kilda foward line, Zac Dawson marked and in front of 51 000 screaming fans kicked a rare goal giving the result to St.Kilda and forcing Alistair Clarkson to pull his hear out.

As the siren blared leaving St.Kilda 9 point winners I faced the cold breeze outside feeling shattered yet pleased that we were competitive. The elderly man standing next to me at the Southern Cross platform agreed as he explained to me that Carlton played one of their best games for the season.

Carlton        3.2    9.2     11.6    14.11 (95)
St Kilda    7.2    9.5    13.7    16.8 (104)

Carlton:Murphy 2, Bannister 2, Fevola 2, Betts 2, Garlett, Simpson, Carrazzo, Hampson, Grigg, O’hAilpin
St.Kilda: Riewoldt 5, Schneider 2, Gram 2, McQualter, Koschitzke, Milne, Goddard, Dal Santo, Montagna, Dawson
VOTES: 3. Leigh Montagna   2.Nick Riewoldt   1.Kade Simpson

About Damian Watson

Hey,my name is Damian Watson and I am 14 years old. My ambition is to become an AFL broadcaster/journalist in the future. I am a keen blues supporter and I live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I play and write for the Knox Falcons U/16’s.

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