AFL Round 20 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Dogs put bite on Lenny’s parade

 

AFL Round 20 – St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Dogs put bite on Lenny’s parade

 

by Braham Dabscheck

 

Etihad Stadium

 

3.20 PM Sunday 10 August 2014

 

 

The Saints had played like champs against the Dockers two rounds ago, and like chumps against the Suns last week. The question was which team would turn up against the Western Bulldogs? The match had an extra dimension in that it was the Saints last home game for the season and it was given the moniker of ‘Let’s love Lenny’ to celebrate the legendary Lenny Hayes who announced that he will retire at the end of the season. In addition, the Saints stocks were enhanced by the return of Sam Gilbert, wearing the number 19 made famous by Eric Guy, from a long lay off after an injury incurred in round three.

 

Well, neither of the two Saints’ teams turned up. We saw a third incarnation; a team that put in an honest four quarter competitive effort who was simply beaten by a better team on the day. In much the same way it was difficult to see how the Dockers were a top four side after the Saints’ thumping, it is difficult to see how the Bulldogs have won so few games this year. Watch out for them in 2015.

 

Against the Suns, the Saints conceded a goal in the first two minutes of each quarter. The Saints turned this on its head with Jack Newnes crumbing the first goal within the first two minutes! The signs looked good. The Saints then struggled to get the ball out of the centre for the rest of the quarter which proved to be the ultimate source of its undoing. The Bulldogs kicked the next three. The Saints got two back and the Bulldogs then piled on four more. The Saints were four goals down at the first break.

 

The Bulldogs’ three big man forward line was more potent than the Saints’ big three: both Josh Bruce and Rhys Stanley had quiet days. But the real source of the problem was the Saints inability to stop the Bulldogs slickness in running the ball out of defence. Most of their goals were scored on turnovers from failed forward thrusts by the Saints.

 

The Saints brain trust overcame the centre clearance problems of the first quarter. The rest of the game involved the Bulldogs clearing away to a six goal lead, with the Saints scoring late goals in each quarter to make things interesting. Lenny Hayes sparked a third quarter revival when he kicked a 50 meter goal from, for a change, a lucky free kick to the Saints. After Josh Bruce was subbed out following a leg injury, Jimmy Gwilt was moved up forward (he started his career as a forward) and kicked three goals. This move was made possible by having both Sams, Gilbert and Fisher, back in the side to shore up the backline.

 

In the last quarter, the Bulldogs jumped out to a six goal lead. The Saints then kicked four in a hurry; Jack Billings snapped the last with his right, and with a few minutes to go the Saints looked a chance. A holding the man free kick on Gwilt was ignored and the Bulldogs scored two freakish goals in the last two minutes; one from a cruel bounce and the other from a banana; and after Stanley missed with a shot after the siren, the Saints went down by 23 points, virtually the same margin at quarter time.

 

Even though the Saints lost, this was a competitive and entertaining game. With a slightly better team on the field the coaching staff had more degrees of freedom to throw the side around; such as the move of Jimmy Gwilt up forward. In addition, the Saints kicked more goals, which were spread more evenly around the team with eleven contributors and only one from Nick Riewoldt. In short, despite the loss the Saints looked better. The Bulldogs mounted a guard of honour to acknowledge Lenny Hayes’ contribution to the Saints, and football more generally, when he left the ground. Well done Bulldogs!

 

St. Kilda                   3.1   7.4    10.6    15.9 (99)

Western Bulldogs    7.4  10.6  13.10   18.14 (122)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Gwilt 3, Curren 2, Newnes, Bruce, Steven, Riewoldt, Ross, Schneider, Hayes, Murdoch, Weller, Billings.

Western Bulldogs: Stringer 4, Cooney 3, Crameri 3, Campbell, Picken, Hrovat, Bontempelli, Higgins, Stevens, Macrae, Darley.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Gwilt, Steven, Montagna, Ross, Ray.

Western Bulldogs: Cooney, Stringer, Higgins, Crameri, Liberatore.

 

Umpires: Fleer, Leppard, Harris.                                                    Crowd: 30.095

 

Our Votes: Cooney 3 (W.B.), Stringer 2 (W.B.) Gwilt 1 (St. K).

Comments

  1. Hi Braham, great report. Disappointing start set the tone, but it was still an improved game and we can just watch and wait and see what the rest of the year brings. Did you feel the Lenny love all the way in Sydney??

    Yvette

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