Round 1 – St. Kilda v Brisbane: Jack Steven Tames The Lions

 

By Braham Dabscheck

Saturday 24 March 2018, 3.35 PM

Etihad Stadium

 

At long last the blight which is not Footy (and I follow the AFLW even though there isn’t a team of Sainters to follow – bring on 2020) is over and the 2018 season has finally started and not too soon.

 

The Saints took on the Lions at Etihad in a game which oscillated between precision team work and multiple versions of turnover city. This was not helped by the ball bouncing every which way throughout the game when players seemed to have found some space.

 

The Saints debuted Hunter Clark who looks like a real find. He kicked one in the first quarter and was involved in setting up goals later in the game. He has the same looks and hairstyle as Dylan Roberton. The only way to distinguish them is that Dylan has an aversion to shaving; something that may not be an issue for young Hunter.

 

Both sides looked tentative in the early stages of the game. Charlie Cameron lit up proceedings with two fine goals for the Lions. The Saints were missing with their handpasses and/or putting a recipient under pressure and ‘forcing’ a turnover. Then things clicked for the Saints. Somehow or other they remembered that the game is not called Handball and got their kicking game into gear. They kicked four in a row in seven minutes to go into quarter time with a three goal lead.

 

Most of the second and third quarters saw the Saints returning to the problems of the beginning of the game. Translated: the Lions were on top and pinched a two goal lead. If they had have kicked straight they could have established a handy lead. Without Blake Acres the Saints would have been looking forward to 2019. Then Jack Steven became the ringmaster and changed the game in the latter stages of the third quarter. Following a push down the corridor he ran past Luke Hodge and kicked a long bomb; the sort of thing that brings the house down. With only seconds before the three quarter time siren he crumbed a loose ball and kicked another. The Saints up by 10 points at the last change!

 

From then on the Saints dominated the game. Tim Membrey found his kicking boots when he put through a banana after marking on a tight angle. He kicked another soon after and Shakespearean actor Josh Bruce and  live wire Ben Long both kicked long bombs. When the game was up for grabs the Saints kicked eight of the last eleven goals running out 25-point victors.

 

For a first game of the season this was a fairly solid effort. The Saints struggled to find their rhythm and were outplayed for most of the middle quarters. Despite this, they managed to stay in the game and then blew the Lions away. The backline held firm and didn’t cough up any gifts. The midfield finally came good and the forwards did what was needed when the game was on the line. Josh Bruce seems to have improved his kicking and Tim Membrey had an uncharacteristic case of the yips in front of goal. Paddy McCartin had a few moments and will benefit from getting through a whole game.

 

The umpires are paying more free kicks which is reducing the number of ball ups and congested play which makes for a better spectacle. Well done umps.

 

Four points in the bag. Kangaroos next week.

 

Go Saints!

 

St. Kilda    6.4   7.5   11.8   16.11 (107)

Brisbane   3.3   5.8   9.10   12.10 (82)  

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Gresham 3, Bruce 3, Billings 2, Membrey 2, Steven 2, Acres, Clark, Long. McCartin.

Brisbane: Cameron 3, Berry 3, Bell, Rayner, Christensen, Hipwood, Robinson, Walker.

 

Best

St. KildaSteven, Acres, Billings, Ross, Newnes.

Brisbane: Berry, Cameron, Robertson, Beams, Taylor,

 

Umpires: Donlon, Haussen, Stephens.

 

Crowd: 23,731.

 

Our Votes: Steven 3 (St. Kilda), Acres 2 (St. Kilda), Billings 1 (St. Kilda).

 

 

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