Dud game

by Daniel Cherny

St.Kilda and Fremantle are the most bizarre of rivals. They have never met in a final, and they have no geographical proximity. Yet clashes between the Saints and the Dockers have an incredible ability to deliver the absurd. Perhaps it is fitting that the two most pathetic teams in league history- St.Kilda having won one premiership in 112 years and Fremantle having only made the finals twice in 14 seasons- should have produced three of the strangest football incidents of the past ten years.

In 1999, umpire Peter Carey, in his 299th game intercepted a Brad Wira pass with a chest mark. In 2005, following a bevy of contentious decisions leading to an after the siren Fremantle victory, umpires were allegedly heard to have quipped on the plane trip back from Perth that “now we know how it feels like to have a win.” These two incredible incidents however barely compare to the famous ‘Sirengate’ debacle of 2006, which ultimately led to a game’s between the clubs being overturned three days after the final siren supposedly sounded.

The Saints’ and Dockers’ Round Four encounter at Etihad Stadium will not be remembered for reasons such as those notable previous meetings. Rarely in this age of the draft and salary cap are games so one-sided seen, but on this night, St.Kilda was as brilliant as Fremantle were insipid. The Saints came within one point of quadrupling the Dockers’ paltry score. When St.Kilda raced out to a 33-0 lead, it was clear that the biggest contest of the night would be whether or not it could achieve a percentage of 200 by game’s end. As it turned out, Nick Riewoldt’s goal with nine seconds remaining on the clock got the Saints there.

There were a few moments that typified the night. Like when one of the Dockers spoilt another who was trying to handball. Even Rhys Palmer, Fremantle’s most promising players made some terrible errors. The brilliance of Milne and Dal Santo were the perfect contrast.

The crowd of 26,326 was somewhat disappointing given St.Kilda’s excellent start to 2009, but those Saints fans that were there enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere. There was admiration for St.Kilda’s tremendous intensity and sublime skills. And there was degradation of Fremantle’s awful use of the Sherrin, and its incredible ability to resemble a junior basketball team. It was clear that both sides deserved more adequate competition. Ross Lyon was ready for a real game. Mark Harvey was ready for a Richmond loss the next day to take some of the heat off him.

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