Facts about St Kilda and Melbourne

Our visit to the Sports Museum was not only an opportunity to see the sports history and relevant exhibitions as well as cricket equipment and AFL guernsies but also to write another story here.

A friendly MCC library volunteer seeing me wearing a St Kilda cap and the 2016 club member polo shirt (that you saw at the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel), handed me a fact sheet for the Round 21 match between Demons and Saints played at MCG on 13 August, 2017.

The first game between the clubs was played on 29 May, 1897 at MCG (Round 4). Edmund “Ned” Sutton was the captain of then Redlegs (Melbourne’s former aka). Formally Sutton had played for Carlton and led Melbourne in the 1897 and 1898 seasons. His side was commented upon that they were a bit more clever in the close play in the Argus of the Monday, 31 May 1897 edition. They had a number of prominent goalkickers – George Moysey (3), Fred McGinis (2) and George Moodie (2), while most goals for the Saints was Bill T Ahern with two goals. St Kilda was led by a brilliant wingman, Billy H Shaw who had played nearly 100 VFA games. St Kilda joined the then VFL in 1897. Melbourne won by 30 points.
Melbourne 11.10 (76) defeated St Kilda 7.4 (46)

In their VFL/AFL history of 121 years, they have had only three meetings of finals footy.

The first final meeting took 66 years to occur- it was the First Semi Final in 1963 at MCG. In the regular season, Melbourne finished  third and  St Kilda  fourth. The Saints trailed by seven goals at the last break when they staged a mighty come back in the last quarter. Many effective young Saints led the comeback. Then only 17-years old, Carl Ditterich who had a magnificent day was one of them. And three St Kilda Brownlow Medalists, Verdun Howell, Ross Smith and Ian Stewart played the final series game. But the great efforts didn’t bring us a win. Melbourne 9.17 (71) defeated St Kilda 8.16 (64). 88,914 people attended the game.

It took 35 years to the second finals meeting. At the first semi final in 1998, leading goal kickers were Jeff Farmer (Melbourne, four) who served his club well, and Austin Jones (St Kilda, two). The Grand Finalist in the previous year only scored seven goals in front of the big crowd (88,456) at MCG. Melbourne 15.17 (107) defeated St Kilda 7.14 (56).

Eight years later, the third and last finals meeting was made at the second elimination final. Demons were coached by Neale Daniher, the same as in 1998, while Saints’ coach was Grant Thomas in his sixth year. St Kilda led convincingly at half time, but crippling injuries cost them the game. Melbourne captain David Neitz kicked his fourth goal at the 17-minute mark of the final quarter putting them in front. Their lead was not relinquished afterwards. Spectators of 67,528 at the MCG witnessed the Saints 10.12 (72) defeated by Melbourne 13.12 (90).

Highest scores of Melbourne-St Kilda matches were:
St Kilda 31.18(204) scored at Round 6, 1978 at MCG; it is the club’s highest score in the history.
Melbourne 27.13 (175) scored at Round 29, 1977 at MCG.

Lowest scores were:
St Kilda 1.5 (11) at Round 5, 1957 at Junction Oval.
Melbourne 2.13 (25) at Round 5, 1908 at Junction Oval.

Wins and losses with by venue
St Kilda won 91 games, lost 120 games and had a draw as of the 2017 season. The venue with the best our winning rate is Docklands – eight wins and four losses. Morrabbin follows with 12 wins and 11 losses. Only one game was played at Carrara on the Gold Coast in 2009 – St Kilda won by 37 points. MCG is the venue Melbourne dominated with 59 wins and 35 losses. Our old home of the Junction Oval didn’t make us smile much as Saints won 27 games, lost 34 games and had a draw. Waverley Park and Punt Road Oval had close records – six wins and seven losses at the former, and two wins and three losses at the latter. Albert Park and Princes Park were both only once venues, and only losses were given to the Saints.

Fred Fanning of Melbourne holds two of three most goals scored at matches between two club – 18 at Round 19 in 1947 and 10 at Round 8, 1947. Tony Lockett scored 12 goals at Round 4 in 1987 as the most goals for St Kilda.

Reversing the number 21 in the first and second digit, it’s 12. Nick Riewoldt’s number 12 is temporary retired. It’s a good news respecting the legend who has captained the club for 10 seasons and played for 17 seasons. I think the number 12 should not be worn until we win the second flag at least.

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.


  1. What a terrific fact filled article from you, Yoshi!

    I have been over in Perth taking in the Third Test cricket, taking in the rich tapestry of life in Fremantle, and not bumped into lapsed Saints coach Ross Lyon, Nat Fyfe or Nic Nat ; ) ,and taken in the glorious beaches that the West Coast has to offer!

    Looking forward to seeing you back in Melbourne in July ’18 for Maddie’s Match. Go you mighty Saints!!!!

  2. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for your comment and I hope our beloved Saints start having streaks towards Demons again soon.

    The holiday in Melbourne was so meaningful and I miss the sports capital of the world. I can’t wait going back there and seeing you.

    It’s nice to hear that you are enjoying Perth. We need to look the future and create our own strong culture and brand of footy.

    Go Jen and our mighty Saints!


  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Nicely researched Yoshi.
    Incredible that St Kilda and Melbourne have only met 3 times in finals in 120 years. May be 4 next year.

  4. G’day Phil,

    Thanks for your compliment as always!

    Actually my writing this time was sourced with the face sheet I was given at the Sports Museum and I just did a bit further research on afltables.com.

    I was surprised to hear Saints and Dees had only three final meetings. Maybe fourth meeting next year?



  5. Yoshi, you keep producing the goods.

    I have memories, though fading,of the high scoring clash from 1978. It was early in the season, the Saints were playing good footy under Mike Patterson until their brutal clash against Essendon @ Moorabbin. St Kilda won that match, but then the wheels fell off. I think you lost the next six in a row,before a late season resurgence. You just missed out o the finals, my old team Geelong taking the fifth spot: final 5 in those days.

    However i can’t recall your team playing Melbourne on the Gold Coast in 2009. I need to do some more research.

    Yep Tony Lockett kicked 12 for your Saints against Melbourne: 12 out of 14 actually.

    Enjoy the festive season. I look forward to your future postings.


  6. G’day Glen!

    Thanks for your storytelling of the 1978 season. What bad six losses in a row costing the final…

    I hadn’t been unaware of playing footy on the Gold Coast until I re-read the fact sheet I was given at the Sports Museum.

    Merry Christmas to you mate!


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