A Saints sum-up (sort of)

Predictable: The Saints were always predictable. You knew how “Saints footy” would match up week to week – and how the chapters would inevitably build to a disappointing conclusion.

Unpredictable: These Saints are impossible to fathom. Loss-win-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss. Glorious wins over Carlton and Sydney. Difficult losses to Port Adelaide and Fremantle. Breakneck clashes (albeit both losses) with Richmond and Adelaide. Stirring fall-short efforts against Hawthorn and West Coast. Three blowout wins over Gold Coast (twice) and the Bulldogs. And a middling win over Melbourne.

Predictable: That these Saints’ form of the moment can be used to explain past outcomes and guarantee future results. We live in an era of overreaction and overkill. Of instant media and instant analysis. Of trends that last a week, or a day, or an hour. In footy, one loss can be a “troubling reversal of form.” Two losses are a danger sign, three a season-killer. Analyze this team at your own risk.

Unpredictable: That a slow, stodgy, reliable offense could be transformed so radically. This season, we’ve been given the keys to an amped-up sports car — a little too fast in the corners, skidding on the track, winning some races, losing others but always exciting.

Predictable: That the Saints’ veterans would be energized by a more dynamic quick-strike, transition-based attack. And that Lenny Hayes would regain his stellar form despite a severe knee injury the year before.

Unpredictable: That the Saints’ youngsters – Armitage, McEvoy, Milera, Saad, McEvoy, Steven, Simpkin, Siposs, etc. — would play such a large role in the resurgence.

Predictable: That those youngsters didn’t get much of a chance to show their talents under Ross Lyon.

Unpredictable: The nature of just about every result except the two blowout wins over Gold Coast.

Predictable: We’re in for a wild ride the final 10 games, which alternate between weaker and stronger opponents. Every game this season has been a revelation, and every result has had its positives and negatives.

Unpredictable: Just about every one of those final 10 games. And whether the Saints will be playing in September. With all the wild swings in form, they’re 6-6 with a healthy percentage.  Sunday’s game against the Kangaroos could be essential to snagging that last finals berth. Or maybe it’ll all come down to Round 23 against the Blues. Or an unexpected win over (fill in the blank).

Predictable: If the Saints play with ferocity, with desperation, they can play with anybody. If they’re a bit flat, they’re in trouble. That hasn’t changed from the past few seasons.

Unpredictable: Whether they will. But for Saints supporters, hope springs eternal.

And right now, the spring is full.

About Glenn Brownstein

I'm a red, white and blue supporter of the red, white and black who became a footy fan through ESPN telecasts in the 1980s and a buddy who founded the American version of the game. Yup, I chose the Saints, but I'd like to think they chose me, too.


  1. Great read Glenn, I was just thinking about you this morning and I check the site and here you are. The Saints, this whole year, totally unpredictable. Each game is an adventure. It spreads across general tipping with all teams. You think one outcome is likely, but who knows. Who is going to click during that game. Who will kick more accurately, who have the good karma on the night. It becomes like a theme park ride (though they have more predictability, you know the bends and twists and route of a ride) and we don’t know any of that as Saints supporters. But I guess that’s what is making this a stand out year. We haven’t a clue. We don’t know what to expect, and I guess the positive is, neither do the opposition: which Saints outfit will turn up today? Or Sunday when we play.

    What is predictable is that we will be there hoping and watching and waiting to see what will unfold.

    Bring on Sunday.


    Watch this space.

  2. Andrew Starkie says


    really impressed by the Saints this year. I’d love them to win a flag soon. No club deserves it more.

    Although I’d like them to lose against North on Sunday!!

    I’m meeting your cheersquad on Sunday as part of a writing project I’m doing. In particular, I’m going to chat to the man who drives the bus; he’s been involved since the 60s. A true Sainter.


  3. Stephanie Holt says

    Sums it up beautifully.

    With that draw we may be lucky to scrape into eighth spot, but what an eighth – there wouldn’t be many teams in the 3 or 4 spots above that we couldn’t feel we were meeting as equals (assuming no catastrophic injuries and continued improvement under Mr Watters),

  4. Hi Glenn, I just realised looking back at the week of almanacking, that the boys at the Almanac titled your article “Rollercoaster” and I realised that was where the idea for my drawing came, from the title and your article, how up and down it is. My sister sms’d me and said: (about my last article) Great Article. Welcome to Loser Land…..she’s a Western Bulldogs supporters so she knows this feeling too. Someone on the radio said this morning when the big teams like Carlton don’t do well, there is rebellion in the ranks, but no one expects much better from the Saints and the Bulldogs.

    Perhaps we just enjoy the ride! For better or worse.

    Keep well


  5. David Downer says


    Your observations are astute, even from Clarksville, Indiana. I think these “box of chocolates” outcomes will endure the entire year.

    It’s so tight around the 8 that Sunday’s loss may prove the tipping point in missing finals – which for all we’ve been through, does not concern me greatly this year.


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