AFL Round 9 – St Kilda v Gold Coast: Saints Eclipsed by Suns

St. Kilda v Gold Coast Suns: Etihad Stadium: 4.40 PM Sunday 18 May

By Braham Dabscheck

 

Since the win against the Dons, the Saints have struggled to get their act together. They went missing in the first half against Brisbane; were totally outplayed against the Hawks, lost it in the second quarter against the Blues, and couldn’t get going in the first half against the Suns.

 

As with previous games, the Saints conceded two quick goals in the first quarter. The Suns played like a well oiled machine, with everything they did coming off. The Saints struggled to lay tackles and move the ball forward with any assurance. The Suns look like a team that will have to cancel whatever plans it had for holidays in September. They quickly jumped to a 5 goal lead. The Saints clawed back 2 goals with a minute of the quarter left. They looked like they had stemmed the tide and were still a chance. The Suns then kicked 2 in the last minute to basically close out the game.

 

The second quarter seemed even worse than the first for the Saints. They couldn’t get going. They managed to slow down the Suns rate of scoring (from 8 to 5 goals!), but had trouble mounting any serious forward pressure. The only goal came late in the quarter from a miss kick by Nick Riewoldt that landed in the arms of Farren Ray, who was one of the Saints’ better players on the day. He has been one of the Saints most consistent performers this season. The difference between the two teams was that the Suns looked like a team which could play at top gear, while the Saints had trouble getting into first. At half time the Saints were 57 points in arrears.

 

Things turned around in the second half. The Saints finally landed tackles and hassled the Suns into errors, strung a number of fine passages of play and won the quarter by 3 goals.  Riewoldt scored a great goal from a dribble kick to finish of one of the better examples of team pressure at the other end of the ground. It was the first time this year that the Saints had kicked 6 in a quarter. Both teams traded 3 goals each in the last quarter. If only the Saints could play for 4 quarters like it did in the second half; but then, this has always been the difference between good sides and the rest.

 

Terry Milera was assured in his first game for the year, adding poise to the forward line. Jack Newnes probably had his best game for the Saints and Cameron Shenton showed promising signs. Lenny Hayes and Jack Steven were tireless throughout, and Sean Dempster found himself with his head bandaged up after a stray elbow in a marking contest. Am I wrong in thinking that this seems to happen to him almost every game?

 

At the end of the second quarter there was a major injury scare when Rhys Stanley appeared to have pulled a hammy. He managed to see out the game. Luke Delaney, who looks solid in defence, injured his hip and substitute Blake Acres his ankle. Hopefully all will have recovered during the bye and will be right to take on the Pies in two weeks. The Saints look like they are sick of losing and the worm will turn; the question being when?

 

St. Kilda                  3.2    4.4    10.7    13.9 (87)

Gold Coast Suns     8.4    13.7   16.9   19.11(125)

 

Goals

St Kilda: Milera 2, Steven 2, Riewoldt 2, Stanley, Ray, Schneider, Siposs, Newnes, Weller, Billings.

Gold Coast Suns: Ablett 4, Matera 4, Lynch 4, Bennell 3, Russell, Swallow, Day, Hall.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Newnes, Hayes, Steven, Ray, Milera.

Gold Coast Suns: Ablett, Matera, Harbrow, Swallow, O’Meara.

 

Umpires: Foot, Armstrong, Jeffrey.                                                        Crowd: 14,625

 

Our Votes: Ablett 3 (Suns), Matera 2 (Suns), Newnes 1 (St. K).

 

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