Should’ve, could’ve, didn’t … again

Round 17 was another round of “should’ve, could’ve but DIDN’T” for the St. Kilda Football Club.

Schneider SHOULD’VE kicked that goal, Rooey SHOULD’VE taken that mark, Kosi COULD’VE run harder at the ball.

But they DIDN’T.

Games against Port, Fremantle, West Coast, Richmond, Crows and Kangaroos were all the same for the Saints. Games we had a chance in, games where we put up a fight, but also games where we let it slip right out of our grasp, only by a couple of kicks.

Looking back on the season so far, the only game where we’ve been fairly and squarely beaten by the better team (rather than losing the game for ourselves) was against Hawthorn.

Against the Swans on the weekend it was hard to watch. I had pencilled this game into my calendar as ‘attending’ since the fixture and my uni timetable came out. Woohoo, a game where I only have to travel three hours to attend, rather than waiting for holidays to travel back to Victoria!!

So the three hour drive commenced on Saturday, after sitting through two hours of ‘watching my boyfriend play rugby league’ (which really means reading my book while basking in the rare yet glorious sunshine of Bathurst as it shined through the windshield of the car). 

A couple of nights in the city were planned, a nice weekend getaway (not that I needed it after five weeks of mid semester holidays), but it was a nice weekend planned nonetheless.

Apparently the Saints didn’t get my memo.

I thought the day might just pitch in my favour when the mighty Sainters set up camp at the bottom level of the members stand. After deliberating for ten minutes (probably more), I thought, what’s the harm in asking for a photo?

I managed to get a happy snap with Steven, Schneider and Rooey, which I was very pleased about.

Jack Steven said he was nervous before the game, but I don’t think the boys were too keen on having a chat with a female supporter, particularly after the recent news about the airport saga, and particularly because we were at the scene of the beginnings of the St. Kilda schoolgirl scandal…

She’s made the boys a bit wary of all the ladies out there who just want to get a photo and show the boys our support.

The ground filled-up quickly after 12:30pm and soon we were surrounded by supporters in the red and white. I must say, sitting in the members stand the surrounding footy lovers were much more dignified and polite than others I have come into contact with in the past (Saints fans included). Minimal swearing, minimal booing (I HATE booing, a little respect goes a long way), and no kids kicking the back of my chair (although the two gentlemen behind me were keen to talk about philosophy, finance, PhDs and politics for the majority of the game).

What a first quarter! Milney kicking three of five, a nice lead going into quarter time, we couldn’t ask for much more. Though I was concerned, the Swans had the same number of scoring shots, they just weren’t converting them, and we had to watch that throughout for the next quarter.

But it was downhill from there.

My uncle has a philosophy that if a team doesn’t kick a goal in a quarter of footy, they can’t win the game, unless they keep their opposition goal-less for a quarter too.

So when the half-time siren went, and we’d kicked a mere three behinds, this philosophy was running thick and fast through my head.

Even when we were just two goals behind throughout the last half, the teams going goal for goal, I was concerned. The goals were there, but the fight wasn’t.

I am not taking anything away from the Swans, they are at the top of the ladder for a reason, but how is it that a team who has recently played in three grand finals with one of the more mature and well-polished midfields can simply give up?

Because that is what I saw on the weekend. I saw defeat in the players, when the game wasn’t even close to being over.

How can you let a four point deficit blow out to a 29-point defeat in the space of just six minutes?

Sure, there were 27 minutes gone on the clock when the Swans blew the lead out to ten, then 16, but when was a team ever taught to stop fighting, stop making tackles, stop going hard at the ball BEFORE THE FINAL SIREN HAD SOUNDED?

NEVER.

But that is what I witnessed sitting on the fence in the members stand on Sunday afternoon.

Surrounded by the opposition (and boy, is the SCG a bias place or what?? – and I am not talking about the supporters, I am talking about “C’mon Swans, let’s show these Saints what we’ve got!” on the big screen after every Saints goal, and the Swans song being played throughout the game- a little respect for the opposition goes a long way I believe)…anyway, surrounded by the opposition, I witnessed a team who DIDN’T believe they could win. Who perhaps thought, ‘next week fellas’. Who knows what was running through their heads? It wasn’t fight, or intensity and certainly not a desire to win.

I couldn’t bear to watch those last five-minutes. I zoned out with my arms crossed as I was surrounded by the swans supporters’ cheering, clapping and excitement and finally, FINALLY, the final siren.

Do the boys regret giving up? In hindsight, do they believe they COULD’VE won if they’d fought a bit harder? Who knows.

Footy experts have been saying all year (particularly after our games against Carlton and Essendon) that when the Saints play their best footy, they can beat anyone.

But the Saints have been so inconsistent; you just don’t know what team will show up on game day.

It’s a ‘transitional phase’, with Watters coming in and tweaking the game style the players have been accustomed to, blooding the young ones and asserting his breath of fresh air into the club, so surely this SHOULD’VE and COULD’VE rejuvenated the players for the year?

An interview with Sean Dempster on the Saints website after the loss summed it up for me.

“We need to move forward and move on from the year”.

The YEAR? There are still six rounds of footy and the boys are fighting for the chance to make finals, and this is the attitude they carry?

It disappoints me.

I hope they rethink this. With a competition so even this year, each game for the remainder of the home and away season is winnable and the top eight is still being decided.

The boys just have to believe in themselves, because we supporters do.

And make the most of those last five minutes.

 

Comments

  1. Dearest Kelsey, you have covered it all. When we were at the post match post Mortem/after game saints function in Adelaide the CEO was already talking next year. So it isn’t just the boys, it’s from the top level down. The way they play so inconsistently, I don’t know if I an even bare them getting back in the eight…not with the attitude of losers…too painful for all. Good match report. You really captured the essence of the game , the players and the supporters. Be well Yvette

  2. Richard Naco says:

    Kelsey,

    Even GWS is still looking at which games are winnable and they still think that they can climb another 2-3 places this year, so the Saints giving up on 2012 already is puzzling and somewhat sad. (And it can’t be called “going the early crow”, because as Adelaide comes to face our wondrous Catters this round, I know their supporters are thinking they’re going to be playing almost completely through September.)

    Having been in the minority of supporting fans at the SCG, I can quite relate to your experiences. The Swannees are very polite if blessed (?) with a peculiar tunnel vision, and what I usually experience would have been considerably magnified by your being there when the attendees were all squashed in together because of the dearth of seating resulting from the demolition of the M A Noble Stand. I’ve stopped going to games at the SCG until that reno is done and dusted, and Swans’ ticket prices return to reasonable levels.

    BTW: the discussion you overheard behind you would never have taken place at the other Sydney home ground, which – regrettably – is already becoming the land of the bogans (think of it as Collingwood North, without the intellect or wit).

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