AFLW Round 1 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints girls demonstrate speed and skills and the family love also wins



Friday, 29 January 2021
7:10 pm
Moorabbin Oval (RESA Park), Melbourne



Footy is back and the footy state of Victoria finally has got back to hold matches. And they hadn’t welcomed any spectators since the middle of March last year.


Saints’ opening AFLW match for 2021 has more meaning. The club legend Nathan Burke is now coaching the Western Bulldogs and his daughter Alice who was drafted last year under the father-daughter rule facing each other as opponents. It’s the battle of the Burke household although I don’t think there is a big arch rival. Alice inherited Nathan’s number 3 at the St Kilda AFLW team.


But the sad news came up the day prior to the big game. The 19-year-old forward Nicola Xenos has been ruled out the entire AFLW season due to the ACL injury. Poor Nic who hasn’t played the full year properly…


Then men’s favourite captain Jarryn Geary injured his leg at the intra club match on Friday morning and is missing the first AFL matches. Another bad news hit Moorabbin.


Personally I am out of work for the third time at present, since COVID hit worldwide last year. My absence is covered with employment compensation like the Job Keeper program in Australia. But as living alone and being declared the state of emergency, I admit I am facing another tough time in the freezing winter. On the other hand, I have been trying to launch freelance jobs and currently waiting outcomes on test articles I have written and translated (for different organisations).


Before the match, both teams’ players and other participants and spectators paid a one-minute siren to late Jacinda Barclay.


What happened at Moorabbin Oval was totally opposed to last year against the 2018 premiership side. St Kilda gained a clearance and kicked quickly towards the goal square via wing. Greiser was tackled high and awarded a free kick. Then a 50-metre penality was paid to the G-train and the leading goalkicker of 2020 in the competition scored an early goal.


However the Bulldogs demonstrated their skills and speed as well as putting pressures on the home side. After scoring two behinds, former my favourite Toogood responded. Then the top Bulldog’s top girl Blackburn was running fast and kicked in open space for a goal.


St Kilda girls had errors in handpasses and kicking in the midfield. The daughter of the legend, Alice Burke was still on the bench. McCarthy was running with speed and Shierlaw was running in getting a good opportunity. Her goal scored in open space narrowed the margin to two points.


Daughters of the West pushed towards forward but our defenders pressured much on Bulldogs forwards. Phillips chased and kicked and Lucas-Rodd took an intercept mark.


Then St Kilda took a defensive approach by changing direction and the Doggies collected footy that was in dangerous situations. But we got back controlling footy and Patrikios took a mark. She was pushed (unfortunately I was unable to identify the name of the opponent) and awarded a 50-metre penalty. Patrikios scored a goal from the right wing.


Meanwhile Alice has started involving in the match. Welcome to the AFLW, the daughter of the St Kilda legend!


Bulldogs were so desperate to hit the scoreboard. von Bertouch layed a great tackle on Huntington. But the young talented Bulldogs’ forward (Huntington) scored a goal just before the siren sounded. The Western Bulldogs led by three points at the Quarter Time.


The visitors still were working very hard at the beginning of the second quarter. Huntington had an opportunity to goalkicking but ended up getting a minor score. Their captain cut off our kicking but my girls pressured the Dogs forwards hard. In return Greiser’s kicking for a goal was intercepted by the Bulldogs defence.


Then the tide was changed. A chain of handpasses in a packed goal square started by Brown and then Patrikios and eventually to Smith ended the debutant’s first goal. Well done young Tyanna!


Gutteridge was running in the right spot to pick the dropped footy from the tackle and scored a goal in open space.


After the good Bulldogs forward (Toogood) missed an opportunity, Vogt layed a tackle on Marshall and was paid a free kick. Her spot was directly in front and only 10 metres away. Another debutant scored a goal easily. Good on Jackie!


Third quarter went slow for the Saints despite demonstrating fast running and putting pressure on the Bulldogs. When Greiser was kicking and running fast and had an opportunity, she couldn’t beat the pressures. Also Shierlaw was the same when she had a high mark close to goal posts.


The only goal scored in the third quarter was by Huntington who won the two on one marking contest. Saints girls went on the last break with an eight-point lead.


Girls kept playing hard at the last quarter with a strong desire to win. Dillon and Gutteridge layed strong tackles and Lucas-Rodd was running with speed. Accurate handpasses worked out well and Greiser picked the footy in the right and easy spot. G-train scored the first goal of the quarter.


But Toogood quickly answered from the wing and I sense her saying she has been playing more in the senior level than our leading goalkicker (Greiser).


St Kilda girls’ kicks got more inefficient in the last quarter and the Bulldogs skipper was running avoiding the congestion that led to kicking a goal. Bulldogs were just two points behind and I started worrying.


My mental status of being calm no longer existed and my yelling came back over my Tablet.


Even Greiser couldn’t hit the target (Shierlaw) when she was awarded a free kick. Would the footy God smile on the daughter (Alice Burke) over the Dad?


The clock reminding less than two minutes, Smith kicked high in the goal square but it was lacking in distance. However Gutteridge was running and running and sealing a goal.


I was so relieved and yelling on the screen indeed.


The number five scored a behind afterwards and the siren sounded. Saints won by nine points.


“Oh when the Saints go marching in” was played at Moorabbin Oval and girls sang the club song. It was really good to hear live on Watch AFL App. And the family photo of Nathan and Alice is so lovely. It is a good sporting moment and makes headlines amongst footy media.


On Sunday, I was watching Geelong versus North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos in between doing my own footy drills away from home. Kangaroos played well and won very comfortably. I hope much improved Saints would beat the strong side at their home. However due to lockdown in Perth metropolitan, AFLW fixture is likely unsure for Round 2, so everyone seems to have to see what happens…


ST KILDA 3.0 6.0 6.2 8.3 (51)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.3 3.5 4.6 6.6 (42)


St Kilda: Greiser 2, Guttridge 2, Patrikios, Shierlaw, Smith, Vogt
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn 2, Huntington 2, Toogood 2


St Kilda: Patrikios, White, Smith, Phillips, Greiser
Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Toogood, Huntington, Hunt, Lamb


3. Patrikios (STK); 2. Blackburn (WBU); 1. White (STK)


St Kilda: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil


Crowd: 2523

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.

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