AFL Round19 – Brisbane v St.Kilda: Missed by that much

Edward Platt might be the most underrated straight man ever. There’s no coincidence that any incarnation of ‘Get Smart’ since his death has fallen flat; no one does hound-dog exasperation better than the original Chief of Control. The knowing look of resignation across his dial at Max’s slapstick follies always rises a smile….Perhaps it’s because I have learnt the art of the wry smile from being at the frontline of Saints devotion?

Put simply, the Chief would have made a perfect St.Kilda supporter. He knew all about the futility of placing high expectations on the perpetually incompetent. Deep down, you knew the Chief had a soft spot for Maxwell Smart. That never made it any less frustrating when he ‘missed by that much.’

The horrible truth to backing the loveable loser is
that when things appear to have reached their nadir, Max will always call for the Cone-of-silence.

-Would you believe the near-decade old case has been re-opened?
-Would you believe that the energy drink is cleared for off-season use but not in-season use?
-Well……how about a season with three wins that puts you ahead of only Melbourne and GWS?

Only the Saints could find themselves in this misery, for only St.Kilda could somehow invent the unfortunate turn of events that has ended up heaping fresh dirt upon the hole they’re at the bottom of furiously digging. Point being, of course, is that the soil arriving on their heads might be the stuff they just shovelled out.

Clearly a trip to Brisbane is not as daunting as it once was. In those now distant times, the infamous ‘tears-shed-by-the-captain’ incident entered folklore. It became the catalyst for the Saints hard-nosed resolve to break the Lions. The night the dam burst is etched in all Saints fan’s minds- Milne kicked eleven and the Lions were torched. In typical Saints fashion though, the win meant nothing past the moment itself. St.Kilda had its justice, Brisbane had three premierships to get over it with. With that win the Saints began to dominate a new epoch. Their time has now passed without reward.

Perhaps surprisingly, Brisbane are crawling out of a hole they’ve been digging too. The return of the King saw a rather ambitious re-boot in lieu of a rebuild. Michael Voss appeared to promise his old mates Brown, Black and Power the means to sneak another finals campaign by recruiting seasoned veterans. In one foul-stenched swoop, Voss took on a smorgasbord of second teamers. The net result was mixed- Amon Buchanan, Xavier Clarke and the train-wreck that was Fevola fell horribly short of being adequate. Staker, Raines and (much to Saints supporters guarded delight) Goose Maguire did at least get to adequate. The price paid was the disenchantment of the likes of Rischitelli and Brennan. If the concept of recruiting experience en-masse as a means to stay in contention was not discredited, M.Voss might have succeeded in doing so.

Best not to dabble in the secondary player market unless you know what you’re doing. Leave that to Sydney and Hawthorn and hope that you can have a win here and there with a low-key Dylan Roberton pick up.

The Lions are now progressing through the simple art of promoting youth. Dan Rich might yet kick a goal from half-back, while Rockliff, Redden, Adcock and Zorko form the wished for ‘solid core’ a team need to be contenders.

That future began to edge closer Saturday night with the sight of a limping Jonathan Brown. I doubt he’s the type to rile against the dying light of his career. The matter-of-fact way he took the snapping of his foot’s arch, suggests he is in touch with his footballing mortality. It won’t surprise to hear Brown call time. But then again, his laconic brand of ridiculous fearlessness could yet see one more go round.

If this is the final chapter of the Brown/Riewoldt saga though, it is strangely appropriate it ends on the same turf that the collarbone was cracked with the sound of a snapped foot. Only injury has ever stopped either man.

Brisbane Lions 3.3 9.3 12.9 16.12 (108)
St Kilda 2.2 5.3 9.9 11.11 (77)

GOALS: Brisbane Lions: Rich 3 Merrett 3 Staker 3 Hanley 2 Docherty Green O’Brien Maguire Zorko.
St Kilda: Saad 2 Montagna 2 Lee 2 Riewoldt 2 Steven Milne Dal Santo.

Best: Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Hanley, Merrett, Redden, Adcock, Rich.
Best: St Kilda: Montagna, Dal Santo, Armitage, Hayes, Steven, Lee.
Umpires: Burgess Findlay Fisher.
Crowd: 19,856

Our Votes: 3 Rockliff ( Bris) 2 Rich (Bris) 1 Montagna (St.K)

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