AFL Round 23 – Adelaide v St Kilda: farewell in the City of Churches

Adelaide Oval

2.50 PM Sunday 31 August

This year of hell has finally come to an end. The Saints were outplayed again and lost by 79 points to the Crows. The Saints dominated play in the early stages of the first quarter, kicking two of the first three goals. Spencer White grabbed the first and had four goals from his first five kicks of his career. He faded from the scene thereafter.

From looking quite competitive, the Saints lost their grip on the game. The Crows flew to all parts of the Adelaide Oval and combined for 11 of the next 12 goals. The Saints came back in the third quarter, which they won by five goals to four. The Crows managed to take their mind off what they might be doing during the end of season break, and in the last quarter kicked seven goals to the Saints one.

The only bright spot  for Saints fans occurred after the blowing of the siren to end the game. Lenny Hayes was playing his last game, a distinguished career of 297 games and 95 goals. The highlight was his Norm Smith Medal in the drawn Grand Final of 2010. He was one of the Saints’ best against the Crows, affecting 13 tackles, for a career total of 1496, setting an all time record which will probably never be beaten.

It was also the last game for Ben Rutten of the Crows. Both teams, and their respective support staffs, formed an honour guard for these two champion players. After having walked through the honour guard, Nick Riewoldt gave Lenny a hug. It then hit Lenny that his career was finally over, he ‘lost it’ and shed a tear. Nick and Jimmy Gwilt then chaired and carried Lenny off to the next stage of his journey through life. It was most appropriate that Jimmy shared the honour with Nick.

After the game, news broke that the Saints would not be renewing the contracts of stalwart players Clint Jones (149 games, 40 goals) and Jimmy Gwilt (126 games, 25 goals). Both players had been told that their contracts would not be renewed earlier during the week. They played their hearts out, as they always had during their careers. There may be other Saints who will announce their retirements and/or will not be offered contracts or traded in coming weeks.

Another significant retirement was announced during the week. Luke Ball who played 142 games with the Saints between 2003 and 2009, and finished his career with Collingwood, like Lenny, has hung up his boots. A former Saints’ captain, he was a member of the 2009 Grand Final side. For reasons which are a mystery, to fans at least, the Saints brains trust decided that he was no longer needed at Moorabbin. He surely would have been worth a point if he had been playing for the Saints rather than the Pies, in the 2010 drawn Grand Final.

Luke was in the Adelaide Oval dressing room after the match, resplendent in his blue checked shirt, standing next to Saints CEO Matt Finnis, as Lenny made his final address to teammates. Matt had previously been the CEO of the AFL Players’ Association and Luke is its President. Luke had been at the forefront of the negotiations with the AFL over the 2012 – 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the AFL. Clint, Jimmy, Lenny and Luke, four players with distinguished careers, two champions and one a champion of players. Thanks for being Saints. St. Kilda, more than a football club!


Adelaide   4.2   11.5   15.5   22.9 (141)

St. Kilda    2.2    3.3     8.7     9.8  (62)



Adelaide: Betts 5, Sloane 3, Walker 3, Lyons 2, Kerridge 2, Rutten, Smith, Mackay, Podsiadly, M. Crouch, Dangerfield, Douglas.

St. Kilda: Armitage 2, Schneider, Murdoch, Jones, Ray, Montagna, Stanley, White.



Adelaide: Sloane, Jacobs, Betts, Smith, Janesch.

St. Kilda: Steven, Hayes, Dempster, Fisher, Jones.


Umpires: Fleer, Farmer, Armstrong                                                       Crowd: 44,968

Our Votes: Sloane 3 (Adel), Steven 2 (St. K), Jacobs 1 (Adel).







  1. I missed the game due to getting down to watch the Coolum U16 Div II team get up in their GF and then making my way to my youngest son’s 9th birthday party. The digital recording device did not perform its duty…

    A few years back, someone at our footy team contacted the Saints to see if they had any surplus footy gear. They sent over a couple of sets of long sleeved jumpers. The big name numbers weren’t there, so I went for 33. I always liked the way he went at the game, often against bigger opponents, and his use of the ball as a linking player out of the back half. Hope Gwilt gets a game somewhere else.

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