AFL Round 13 – St.Kilda v Melbourne: On-field action can’t match off-field drama

Unlike the week that both the clubs had off field, this Saturday twilight game between St. Kilda and Melbourne was pretty standard and uneventful as far as footy goes. But maybe that was just what each team needed after a tumultuous week.

With the Milne saga resulting in Milne controversially not taking the field and Neil Craig standing in as the interim coach for the Dees after Neeld was stood down, without a doubt it was going to be interesting to see how both teams played in light of the week’s events. Particularly with three milestones being reached for the Saints, with Sean Dempster playing his 150th and stars Nick Dal Santo and Nick Riewoldt playing their 250th.

Some were even tipping a Melbourne win in an upset. Others weren’t so brave, with the Saints heavy favourites, despite having won just two games for the season heading into Saturday’s match.

For the Melbourne supporters hoping a coaching change might boost the confidence of the team, three goals in four minutes to the Saints from the opening bounce courtesy of Ray, Jones and Koschitzke – before the Dees had even registered their first kick – might have shattered this confidence just a little.

From here, the Saints had what could be described as a comfortable first quarter. Virtually goal for goal with the Dees for the remaining 15 minutes of play, the Saints dominated the centre clearances with Jack Steven contributing well, and Melbourne managed to put three straight on the board through Kent, Watts and Blease, by applying pressure and slowing the tempo down enough to hold possession of the footy. Another four goals to the Saints after their strong start saw them take a 26 point lead into the first break.

The second quarter was played out quite evenly by both teams. The Saints got sloppy with their possession and Melbourne began dominating play. Yet they did not capitalise on the scoreboard, missing a number of opportunities early on which could have had them within a couple of goals. Dempster, Riewoldt and Stanley put on goals for the Saints whilst Dawes, Jones and Fitzpatrick kicked truly for the Dees.

The Saints had a lead of 29 points at the main break, yet that was the only statistic they were winning for the day, with Melbourne seemingly dominating everywhere but the scoreboard.

McEvoy was subbed out for the Saints at the beginning of the third term after a heavy hit in the second quarter. This didn’t stop the Saints getting the first centre clearance, with Riewoldt kicking a goal in the first minute of the second half and Ray adding another not long after.

The tempo had risen and both teams were fighting for possession. Montagna was dominating through the centre for the Saints, Garland was dominating off the backline for Melbourne and Watts was playing his role up forward, hitting the scoreboard. It was great to see the Dees showing some intensity and fight which had been lacking for the majority of the season.

However, when Riewoldt kicked his third and Armitage followed soon after which another, it appeared that the score was going to blow out, until Howe, after a quiet first half, steadied the ship with a goal. Milera kicked a late one to put the Saints 49 points up at the final break.

Melbourne ended the game strongly, winning the final quarter by two goals. They piled on three goals via Byrnes, Fitzpatrick and Howe with the Saints kicking just the one through Geary in what was an uneventful last quarter. The Saints took their foot off the pedal to cruise home for a comfortable 35 point victory.

Riewoldt, Dal Santo and Dempster were chaired of by their teammates in celebration of their respective milestones and the song was sung with gusto, though they missed the trademark vocals of Milney in the circle!

Overall, it was a comfortable win for the Saints in a game which did not show much of either team, in a year in which both teams will be fighting to build experience into the young guns and show some spirit and competitiveness for the second half of the 2013 season.


St. Kilda         7.2       10.3     15.6     16. 8. 104

Melbourne     3.0       5.4       7.5       10. 9. 69




St Kilda: Riewoldt 3, Koschitzke 2, Ray 2, Jones, Dennis-Lane, Montagna, Ross, Dempster, Stanley, Armitage, Milera, Geary


Melbourne: Watts 2, Howe 2, Kent, Blease, Dawes, Jones, Byrnes, Fitzpatrick




St Kilda: Montagna, Steven, Ray, Dempster, Dal Santo,


Melbourne: Garland, N. Jones, Blease



Umpires: Dalgleish, Ryan, McInerney



Official crowd: 28,751 at the MCG



Our votes: 3. Montagna (St. K), 2. Steven (St. K), 1. Garland (Melb)

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