Prelim jinx claims Dogs again

I apologise to all Footscray supporters. I am truly sorry. Blame me for the loss, don’t blame the players, it is all on me.
After a fairly taxing day sitting in the studio of One FM (yes, it can be tiring), I walked through the dying sunlight towards my sister Hayley’s house. It’s not a long walk from the station, and I soon walk into the warmth of the house, with just enough time to play a bit of Mario on the Wii before going out again to collect our tea, fish and chips. On the way to the shops, I get a text from my Mum: “News is just in. Ablett is going to Gold Coast. It’s official. News flashes on TV should start soon I’d say” I feel disappointed for all Geelong fans, yet buzzing with excitement to tell people the news. I feel like screaming it out while I’m in the fish and chip shop, although 80% of the people in their were foreign so I think they would’ve thought I was crazy. I had to settle with telling Hayley about it, who responded with “Ablett who?”

We got home and I effectively eat my breakfast (I can’t eat before radio, nerves I guess) as the coverage of the Preliminary Final between the competitions’ strugglers starts. The match starts with the Saints dominating early but unable to convert on the scoreboard. The Dogs get the first goal through Mitch Hahn after some terrific forward pressure by Dylan Addison. I wonder why I’m seeing Hahn on the TV, before realising that Dale Morris must’ve pulled out with that back injury. Morris soon marks the ball, it takes me a couple of quarters to figure out it is youngster Andrew Hooper that has missed out. The Saints reply with Stephen Milne giving them the lead by three points, before the Dogs capitalise on a couple of opportunities, something the Saints were still failing to do. Jarrad Grant showed his ability, gathering the ball at the back of a pack and snapping a goal, before Liam Picken marked in space after Bob Murphy terrifically screwed the ball around his shoulder. Hayley surprises me, commenting that Murphy is “the dude that went to the Almanac launch last year”. The siren sounds for quarter time and the Western Bulldogs are looking the goods, leading by eight points.

The second stanza sees the Saints open strongly once again and this time it shows on the scoreboard, with Adam Schneider running into an open goal after a great shepherd from skipper Nick Riewoldt. Addison kicks a rare goal after a good mark, and he’s playing his best half of footy for the tri-colours. Ben McEvoy, the youngster that looks like an old man, takes an uncontested mark outside 50 before playing on with a gallop inside 50, then taking all the time in the world before slotting it on the run from 35m out. It reduces the margin to six points at half time, 3.6.24 to 4.6.30. The game is a beauty.

Then comes the game-changing moment. Some acts of heroism change the rate of which games are played, and it is these acts that are remembered for years to come. But also are the acts of stupidity and false confidence that can banish one team to a loss. It was my stupidity that handed St Kilda perfect start to the second half. I grab my phone and text Mum, who was saying all day that the Bulldogs were going to win. “Doggies looking good” was all it read. That’s all it took though.

Milne kicks his second after Brian Lake, the man who seems to have all the time in the world when he has the ball in his hands, gets tackled by Nick Dal Santo and a free kick is forced. Michael Gardiner shows his worth to the St Kilda side with a goal from outside 50, despite Lake protesting that he touched it on the line. Channel 10 go to yet another ad break, and when play resumes it becomes apparent that the goal was disallowed soon after by the boundary umpire and a behind was scored. It doesn’t faze the Saints though, who bring it forward again where Riewoldt marks on the end of a spearing Brendon Goddard pass, before the skipper converts. Justin Koschitzke takes a mark and converts, taking the margin out to 15 points, before Riewoldt, in ominous form, is elbowed in the back of the head by his big, lumbering counterpart, and the vision of Riewoldt lying on the wing, making movements that weren’t dissimilar to a fish out of water. He seemed to recover quickly though, and the Saints got another goal through Brett Peake, and the margin was out to 21 points. The hopes of Brad Johnson retiring in a Grand Final were diminishing at an alarming rate, and the fairytale story was set to be denied. Lindsay Gilbee tries to keep it alive however, kicking a good goal around his body, before the Saints yet again stamp their authority on the match. Schneider kicks a classy goal, a normality for him, after gathering the forward pocket before burning away from his opponent, weaving past Ben Hudson and ramming it home from the goal line. Riewoldt returned to his heroic ways, snapping a great goal from 30m out directly in front, then he fished the ball out to Gardiner, allowing the big giraffe to awkwardly canter into an open goal. And just like that, after one simple text proclaiming that the Dogs were a good chance to win, that chance was gone with a 7.4 to 1.3 premiership quarter.

The final term was a non-event, with Riewoldt again showing that he is the best player in the league when fit and firing. He takes a good chest mark and converts, before majors to Koschitzke and Schneider from the same position that Max Rooke cruelly put the final nail in the St Kilda coffin in the 2009 Grand Final, and the margin was out to 45 points. What happened to the tight and thrilling game that featured in the first half? It seemed like the extra man the Bulldogs seemingly had playing for them in the opening quarters had switched to a St Kilda jumper for the second half as the Saints had numbers everywhere. Daniel Giansiracusa snaps his first on a dark night for him, and speaking dark nights, Barry Hall bobbed up to mark and kick only his first goal of the night, with Zac Dawson well and truly winning the battle against the raging bull. The siren sounded with the ball in Hahn’s hands, 55m out. Perhaps playing his final game, he let go with the last kick of his career and it sailed through for his second goal, a good way to finish up but a disappointing result nonetheless for the Bulldogs, St Kilda advancing to the Grand Final by 24 points.

44 years ago, St Kilda prevailed by a solitary point over Collingwood thanks to a tumbling kick by Barry Breen. This kick delivered the Saints their one and only premiership. 44 years on to almost the exact day, they’ll lock horns with the Magpies for that illustrious flag number two. Oh how I’m looking forward to it.

St Kilda 1.5–3.6–10.10–13.10.88
Western Bulldogs 3.1–4.6–5.9–8.16.64


St Kilda-Riewoldt 3, Schneider 3, Milne 2, Koschitzke 2, Gardiner, Peake, McEvoy
Western Bulldogs-Hahn 2, Grant, Picken, Giansiracusa, Hall, Addison, Gilbee


St Kilda-Riewoldt, Dawson, Montagna, Gwilt, Fisher
Western Bulldogs-Ward, Lake, Addison, Cross

62,694 at the MCG

3: Nick Riewoldt (ST)
2: Callan Ward (WB)
1: Zac Dawson (ST)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. You make me sound like an airhead! Not my fault I don’t know anything about Footy :p

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