Finals Week 1 – St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints fly high in heart stopping encounter against the Dogs



By Braham Dabscheck

St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs

4.40 PM Saturday 3 October

The Gabba



Let’s face it: you have to be a Saint to be a Saint. The Saints provided us with another chapter in the rollercoaster ride of what it means to be a Saint. There we are at three quarter time four goals up. A certain win looked on the cards. But then we Saints with long memories knew better. There was still a long way to go and the fickle finger of fate has never looked kindly on the Saints. After sharing the first quarter the Saints dominated the second and third, outscoring the Dogs seven goals to two. The difference was that the Saints out marked the Dogs around the ground with our talls kicking crucial goals. On top of this, playing skipper Jarryn Geary in the forward half as a ‘defensive’ forward and Jack Sinclair in the back half with his speed had worked well. So, the last quarter starts and the Saints are four goals up.


Well, let me put it this way: the backs had a lot of possessions in the last quarter because the Saints couldn’t get the ball forward. It wasn’t so much that the Saints stopped but rather the Dogs got off the leash and dominated play. They out-performed the Saints on any indicator you might want to pick. Probably, the best one is the forward 50 entries, 17 to 4. The Saints held out for the first half of the quarter, with the Dogs getting one back. The Saints with one of their few forward thrusts squared the ledger from a long kick forward where Tim Membrey picked up a bouncing ball and hand passed it to Jarryn Geary in the goal square for his second goal of the game. The Dogs then kicked three more, from another mark, a snap in general play and a free (which was there). Two minutes to play and Saints fans around the nation are taking heart attack pills and contacting cardiologists to cut short their break over the long weekend. That sinking feeling was knocking on the front door! and I for one didn’t want to answer it. The Dogs pushed the ball forward and Nick Coffield was tackled around the neck and earnt a free. From there the Saints held on for a three point and deserved win. Except for the last stanza, the Saints had outplayed the Dogs.


The saddest part of the win was that with a couple of minutes to go Paddy Ryder, in what was a player of the match performance, limped off with what looks like a hamstring injury and will probably miss out on Friday night’s game against the Tigers. Dan Hannebery had his best game for the Saints with his poise and passing skills. Max King took two big grabs early in the game and Jack Lonie was lively and helped set up two goals. The back line held up well, especially in the second and third quarters where they only conceded two goals. They did enough to break up attacks by the Dogs and force the ball forward. The Saints held on for a memorable win.


The Saints for a change finished on the right side of a close contest and in a final to boot. Watch out Tigers.


Go Saints!


St. Kilda       2.2   5.4   9.6   10.7 (67)

Western Bulldogs   3.1   4.3   5.6   9.10 (64)



St. Kilda: Membrey 2, King 2, Ryder 2, Geary 2, Lonie, Butler.

Western Bulldogs: Johannisen, Crozier, Wallace, Dunkley, Naughton, Hunter, Liberatore, Daniel.



St. Kilda: Ryder, Hannebery, Membrey, Marshall, Geary.

Western Bulldogs: Daniel, Bontempelli, Smith, Macrae, Hunter.


Crowd: Persons wearing either red, white and black or red, white and blue and Cardiologist society of Australia and support staff on a holiday, or so they thought!





  1. Saintsmania says

    Absolutely brilliant finals win from St Kilda. The Mighty Saints have proven many experts wrong for most of the year. What was most pleasing to me apart from the first 3 and a half quarters, was that St Kilda still found a way to win a close match. St Kilda are a much better team than people think. This win will give the St Kilda players the belief that they are definitely good enough to beat the best AFL teams in the competition, like they did when they beat the Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Port Adelaide during the home and away season. I know finals and every match is different, but St Kilda were the only team in the first week of the finals, who won, having beaten the same team during the home and away season. Don’t forget that St Kilda had lost far more close matches than it had won during the season. Unforgivable close losses to North Melbourne, Fremantle and Melbourne deprived St Kilda of a top 4 finish and the double chance.

    St Kilda has great on field leaders in Geary the Captain Courageous, Hannebery, Carlisle on his performance in that finals win, Zak Jones, Steele, and Hill, due to his 3 flags with Hawthorn.

    Butler has also provided great service. His experience with his one flag at Richmond is invaluable. He will again tell Brett Ratten during the week everything he knows about Richmond and Ratten, together with Jarryd Roughead and David Rath, will come up with a winning game plan to defeat Richmond. St Kilda will continually pressure and tackle Richmond when Richmond have the ball and then St Kilda will take the game on at all costs. St Kilda will outrun Richmond and will play Richmond better at their own game. St Kilda will be more desperate than Richmond to win their very long awaited 2nd flag in its history, compared to Richmond’s desperation to win back to back flags.

    St Kilda will cover the loss of Paddy Ryder through the ruckwork of Rowan Marshall and Ryan Abbott will be brought in as a back up ruckman, who can also go forward and kick goals.

    If Jake Carlisle misses the game due to the birth of a baby, Josh Battle will cover his role in defence. If Ben Long’s tribunal appeal is unsuccessful, Shane Savage will be a very good replacement. Shane Savage is also a better kick than Ben Long.

    At the start of this year I thought that St Kilda’s best 4 players on paper were Hill, Gresham, Carlisle and Billings. For various reasons, those 4 players haven’t lived up to expectations. Gresham of course is injured, but other players have really stepped up and it’s now a very even team. I believe this team has overall the talent of the St Kilda Grand Final teams of 2009 and 2010 and definitely more depth in the best 22, as well as more depth outside it’s best 22.

    Dougall Howard will take care of the returning Tom Lynch and Callum Wilkie will spoil Jack Riewoldt. Jarryn Geary will tag Dustin Martin and when Dusty goes forward, Geary will be there to continually pressure him

    Under Brett Ratten, They Know The Saints Are Coming and will arrive with its 2nd flag.

    Carn The Mighty Saints!

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Great read Braham and Saintsmania. Omg what a game. Heart specialist need to be booked before any Saints game. Let’s keep it up! Go Saints

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