Round 5 – St Kilda v GWS: Saints DRAW a GIANT line on their slow start to the season

By Braham Dabscheck

Saturday 21 March, 1.45 PM

Etihad Stadium

 

The Saints started 2018 with a comfortable win against the Lions. This was followed by three games which can only be described as disasters. The Saints struggled to move the ball forward, and when they did they had the yips in front of goal. A problem, especially against the Cats, was not having enough players forward of the ball. Forays forward were easily picked off with the Cats setting up easy pickings in their forward 50.

 

Against the Giants, the Saints’ brains trust decided to push more players in front of the ball. The tactic worked. While the game ended in a draw (Jake Carlisle should have been paid a free and he should have marked the ball with seconds to play!) the Saints were more competitive. They dominated large portions of the game and won the inside 50s 67 to 47, but were unable to convert this pressure into goals. It was only in the the last quarter that they seemed to have found their kicking boots.

 

For their part the Giants’ ball movement looked more fluent and slick. In the third quarter they kicked three classy goals in a row and it looked like the game was done and dusted. They also had the yips in front of goal, with 19 points and only nine goals. The Saints steadied the ship in the third quarter with Jack Steven snapping a clever goal on his left peg late in the quarter. Momentum in the game seesawed backwards and forwards with both teams feeling deflated when the final siren blew.

 

With half of the last quarter to play the Giants had jumped to an 18 point lead. The Saints suddenly found their form of old. The Saints kicked the last three goals, all from marks. The best of the lot was from Ben Long. Wide on the boundary line he ran around the man on the mark to improve the angle and slotted a crowd lifting goal.

 

He and Paddy McCartin looked good up forward. Even in the game against the Cats they were showing signs that they were on the improve. Paddy had a purple patch in the second quarter kicking two in a hurry and kicked the crucial last goal, with the Saints a point down. He ended up with three, his best haul in his short career. He appears to be improving his self confidence. Brandon White had his best game for the club and held the back half together. The young guns Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield had more than serviceable games. Seven players are 22 or less, which is a good sign for the future.

 

The Saints look as if they are back on track. If they can find a way to manage to convert their pressure and competitiveness onto the scoreboard 2018 may still be a good season for the Saints. Hawks next week in Tassie. Do it to honour the memory of the Doc.

 

Go Saints (at last!).

 

 

St. Kilda   2.2   5.8   6.12   10.13 (73)

GWS           2.5   4.9   7.15   9.19 (73)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: McCartin 3, Gresham, Clark, Dunstan, Steven, Billings, Weller, Long.

GWS: Cameron 2, Griffin 2, Deledio 2, Green, Shiel, Patton.

 

Best

St. Kilda: White, Steven, Hickey, Acres, Ross.

GWS: Deledio, Davis, Coniglio, Ward, Shiel.

 

Umpires: Harris, McInerney, Wallace.

Crowd: 14,956.

 

Our Votes: Deledio 3 (GWS), White 2 (St. Kilda), Steven 1 (St. Kilda).

 

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Much better from the Saints, Braham.

    Interested in your observation that more players were left forward this week. I reckon 90% of struggling AFL teams’ problems revolve around that forward 50 entry. A lack of actual bodies in the front half never helps this.

    You seem to know how to play the Giants. A few other teams will be trying to go to school on that.

    Cheers

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