Round 13 – North Melbourne v St Kilda: Despite Leaving Their Kicking Boots At Home, Saints Hippity Hop Over The Kangaroos

 

By Braham Dabscheck

Friday 16 June 7.50 PM

Etihad Stadium

 

The Saints had performed poorly in their last three outings and failed to pick up any points in the bye. They had been over defensive, over possessing the ball with too many handballs putting unsuspecting teammates under pressure and lacking any risk taking going forward. Nick Riewoldt, Jack Lonie and Luke Dunstan returned to the side. All three had decent games, with Saint Nick, especially his kicking, not looking cherry ripe. Even unfit he is still a great competitor with 21 possessions and a lazy 11 marks and put on an important tackle early in the game which saved a certain goal.

 

For the second week in a row the Saints played under Friday Night Lights against the Kangaroos in an away game at Etihad Stadium. Twenty years ago, the Saints last played the Kangaroos on a Friday night in a Preliminary final which they won. The Saints gave the Kangaroos a second dose of Friday Night Blues. The Kangaroos have under performed this year and put in another poor performance.

 

The Kangaroos scored the opening goal of the game with their first entry into the forward 50. From then on, the Saints took over in the first quarter. They were more adventurous going forward and kicked five in a row. Josh Bruce’s opening goal for the Saints was indicative that the tide had turned. He marked on the 50 near the boundary line and kicked a long goal. Even though he didn’t figure prominently in the stats he had one of his better games with his contest at the ball. Jack Billings kicked two in the first and had a third annulled after a video review. To prove that this was no fluke he had another goal disallowed on a video review early in the second quarter. Both were snaps on his weaker right foot.

 

The next two quarters were mainly an arm wrestle, marked by two distinct characteristics. The first was the Saints’ defense. The Saints held the Kangaroos to a solitary point in the second quarter and two goals in the third. The Saints found it more difficult going forward in these two middle quarters and muffed at least six set shot gettable goals and a few more in general play. Jack Steven, with his mullet clipped into the dust bowl of history and, as a result, finding it difficult to navigate his way through the wind patterns at Etihad, snapped two late goals in the second. Jack Sinclair, who had one of his best games, kicked a long goal in the third, the Saints only goal for the quarter. At this stage of the game the Saints’ Jacks had outscored the Kangaroos! The last quarter was an anticlimax. At one stage the Saints jumped out to a seven goal lead. The Kangaroos finally found some fluency and kicked six for the quarter to the Saints three for a three goal loss. The score flattered the Kangaroos with the Saints’ poor kicking robbing them of what should have been a percentage boosting win.

 

Hopefully, this game will signify a (or another) turning point for the Saints. The backline performed well, blanketing the Kangaroos forwards. The midfield were on song with Seb Ross having another best on ground performance. The forward line was sharper with all of the big boys having impressive games. There were a couple of key moments were Tim Membrey found himself down back breaking up forward moves by the Kangaroos. And more significantly, the Saints did not cough up any gift goals.

 

Next week against the Suns, and for a change, at long last at home!

 

Go Saints!

 

North Melbourne   2.5   2.6   4.9   10.12 (72)

St. Kilda      5.3   8.8   9.15   12.17 (89)

 

Goals

North Melbourne: Clarke 2, Waite, Goldstein, Ziebell, Mullet, Hrovat, Wood, B. Brown, Turner.

St. Kilda: Billings 2, Steven 2, Membrey 2, Bruce 2, Roberton, Acres, Sinclair, Gresham.

 

Best

North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Gibson, McDonald, Goldstein.

St. Kilda: Ross, Montagna, Sinclair, Billings, Roberton.

 

Umpires: Fisher, Fleer, McInerney, Schmitt.

Crowd: 26,107.

 

Our Votes: Ross 3 (St. Kilda), Montagna 2 (St. Kilda), Sinclair 1 (St. Kilda).

Comments

  1. G’day Braham,

    I watched the game at an Aussie / Kiwi pub in Osaka. It was great to see our brand of attacking footy was back and our backline was tougher. Carlisle’s blocking Roos was impressive.

    Sadly our kicking was not powerful at the last two quarters. But Ross performed well in the mid field and Montagna ran well. Our solid midfield is back and helps giving opportunities to score goals in the goal pocket. But we still need to improve kicking skills, don’t we?

    I can’t wait the home game next week, but sadly I won’t be able to watch as I have to work. I hope our boys keep my spirits at the match.

    Go the mighty Saints!

    Yoshi

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