Round 3 – Western Bulldogs v. St. Kilda

 

by Kelsey Smith

For two years now I have been trying to explain to my boyfriend (who is from NSW) just how good a player Nick Riewoldt is. And FINALLY on the weekend against the Doggies, Rooey backed up my kind words with action of his own and proved what a great player he really is!!

Around this time two years ago I was at the game watching Riewoldt tear his hamstring tendon from the bone, and I spent last year watching him struggle to find form, all the while withstanding comments (and un-football-educated comments at that) from my boyfriend stating “He’s not even good, I don’t see why you rate him, he’s a dud.”

On the weekend I could finally turn to him from the third tier of Etihad Stadium and say “I told you so.”

The way the mighty Saints played on the weekend was a far cry from the past 24 months.

I shuddered in round one against Port Adelaide. Our avenue for goal was the same as when we were barely scraping through six pointers when Rooey was injured.

But not Saturday night. We were clear in our direction up forward and it was great to see targets in our forward 50 in Rooey, Kosi and Stanley.

And the young guys did quite the job as well. It is great to see them getting a chance. Jack Steven came of age last year and is only getting better in 2012. He crumbed the ball tremendously, and I think he is a great option for the Saints in the centre but especially as an option up forward, where we tend to lack in players staying down at contests.

Armitage is a great player, similar to Luke Ball and Lenny Hayes, and even though it was terrible to see Lenny get injured last year, it was a great opportunity for Armitage to step up, and he is certainly earning his game time this year. Round three was a standout performance from him, with his intensity around the ball phenomenal.

On that note, LENNY IS BACK!! Boy, is it great to have Lenny back. The cheer from the crowd every time he touched the ball, every time he laid a tackle, was evident to how much he means not only to the club but to the game itself. His ability to find the ball and his one percenters are the focal point for the game, especially in this day and age. Contested footy and tackling will win you games, and he is one of the best.

Despite the Saints having such a positive game, it is sad to see the Bulldogs have a tough time. I have always likened the Saints and the Dogs to be on similar paths, going through the same transition phases and with seemingly even ability. The games have always been close, and it has always been hard to tip a winner. On Saturday night it was shocking to witness a game that is so unlike the battles I have seen in the past few years. With their losses of Callan Ward and Ben Hudson, not to mention Barry Hall and a new coach, it has taken its toll on the team.

Luckily for them it is only round three, and they have the whole season to set up a game plan that will see them climb from this slump and win some games, much like the Saints did with the loss of Rooey in 2010.

I can only hope against Freo on Friday night the Saints don’t let the hype of Ross Lyon get the better of them. If round three was anything to go by, a new, confident, and able Saints teams lead by Riewoldt will take the field and produce another great win, and get rid of the doubts of a certain someone from NSW once and for all!

 

 

Comments

  1. Michael Parker says:

    Thank you Kelsey. I am not a saints fan by any stretch but I have always admired Riewoldt and I can’t believe the bad wrap he gets at times. The guy has been a superstar! Over the last decade he would clearly be one of the top 3 or 4 players in the AFL. Unfortunately people have short memories and can only remember the 2010 GF replay and some off season photos

  2. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but to paraphrase a Dyerism, Riewoldt is a good average player. Not just his GF performances, but in most of the big games he has not moved up the notch(es) a champion does. I find it dificult to compare him to a Jonathan Brown, or great CHF’s of previous eras like Royce Hart, or Dermott Brereton.

    Glen!

  3. Hi Kelsey, it was interesting reading your review as I am writing one up for the 2012 book on this game. I think the Doggies missed Barry Hall something shocking, they had no presence up in their forward line, and we just kept playing keeping off’s on their baby players. It was a shock to see the different places of the teams.

    Riewoldt is much improved this year. I think the operation on his knee has fixed a problem that’s been there for several years, and I think affected all his grandfinal performances. He is still the great leader, speeds and gets the ball but now has good options to send it forward into the goal square with Kosi, Stanley and McEvoy all there to help. And the little guys too. He’s not so on his own.

    I think Kosi has been a great improvement this year too. Here’s hoping we can do it again this Friday night. Totally agree regarding Armitage and Lenny. Lenny is our heart. I look forward to reading more articles from another Saints tragic! Well written as well.

    Yvette

  4. Kelsey Smith says:

    Thank you for your comments, it is great to get some feedback on my first submission!

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