Finals Week 2 – Richmond v St Kilda: Ratts’ broken record, inaccurate goal-kicking, the cost of losing three players, but a good year for the Saints





Friday 9 October 2020
6:50 pm
Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast


St Kilda lost three key players


At the Elimination Final against the Western Bulldogs, our big ruckman Paddy Ryder injured his hamstring and got emotional on the bench. A scan confirmed it the following day and he left the Noosa hub, going back to Melbourne for surgery on Monday.


In the same match, our tough defender Ben Long bumped into Jack Macrae. His high shoulder bump resulted in a one-week ban and the club appealed. A hearing was held on Wednesday night but the appeal was unsuccessful.


The tall defender Jake Carlisle chose to leave the hub to be with his partner Mel who was giving a birth to their third child. Family matters first and his decision is highly respected.


Losing great players was a disadvantage for us but I believed we could do it. Thanks to Paddy and Carlisle for their great services in 2020 and I feel sorry for Long who is a hard nut at the club.


Ratten’s record of head-to-head on Hardwick


After the good win over the Doggies, a Triple M Facebook post attracted me. Brett Ratten had always beaten Damien Hardwick with seven consecutive wins. Some people pointed that Ratts never won against Richmond as a St Kilda coach. Then what? We beat Richmond in Round 4 this year.


This good record was an added source that I believed we would win.


Match Preview on Fox Footy Thursday night


Wednesday night’s Speed Round on Fox Footy is my favourite midweek footy show because debates between Jason Dunstall and Nick Dal Santo are always hot and attractive. I watched the program two days prior to the match and then AFL 360 where Jack Steele was interviewed. Thursday’s special program, Ultimate Preview 2020, was promoted on AFL 360 and I would be locked on the day before the do or die match.


Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt were the main panellists and discussed the four teams playing that week. Then debates were held by two teams (Riewoldt and Leigh ‘Joey’ Montagna versus Brown and David King).


Team Saints presented disillusion with Richmond – lack of defensive skills, crossing marks and giving 50-metre penalties, and relying on Jack Riewoldt on the forward line. Their presentation was very good and I believed them.


Brown and King argued that getting back Tom Lynch would help Richmond’s forward line and their forwards would contribute more, thanks to Carlisle’s absence. Their argument was good too but my thoughts were not changed at all.


Match Highlights


The ball was bounced and Astbury won a hit out against Marshall. Quick ball use pushed towards Richmond’s forward line. Within a minute, comeback forward Lynch scored a goal after winning a contested mark against Howard.


Last week Josh Bruce scored the first goal and Saints won by three points, so I was calm. Then King kicked after a thrown in but he had bad luck as his kick was stopped by the defence (rushed behind).


Marsh hit the wrong target and it cost Edwards’ goal. Then Dusty accelerated the speed – running swiftly around Ross. Howard seemed to push the ball deliberately outside the boundary line, a free kick was awarded to Lynch but we were saved by a minor score. Without Carlisle, our defence line was not strong.


King had an opportunity but missed and kicked a behind. He is young and may have felt under a lot of pressure in playing finals. Then Butler laid a tackle and was awarded a free kick due to holding the ball. It was outside 50 so be handpassed to Savage who can kick long and his kick was beautiful and brought us six points.


But then Tiger Time arrived. Bolton kicked into open space and Marshall chasing the footy was too late. He kicked another goal and McIntosh followed quickly. I started worrying that the game was over.


Then a forward half intercept mark taken by Marshall was passed to Savage, Sinclair and Butler. The former Tiger’s goal at the end of the first quarter kept up my hope for a win.


St Kilda had opportunities to turn the tide at the second quarter. Jones was tackled high over the head by Cotchin. Cothin’s St Kilda counterpart Geary pushed him and it was the beginning of tension of the semi-final and indeed Richmond’s controversies of the night.


A free kick was awarded to Billings but he missed a good opportunity. Then Marsh also missed his set shot after a free kick. Thanks to Coffield’s hardworking in the back and changing the direction, young Max King won a contested mark, but his set shot was inaccurate. Three behinds in a row reflected on how we played the semi-final against the good side of the Tigers.


King seemed to take a mark later on but it was not paid and instead he was told to play on. Many St Kilda supporters including myself were unhappy with the umpires’ decisions of the night.


While St Kilda should have kicked three goals after the first break, Richmond scored the first goal of the second term by Edwards.


Then our man Steele laid a great tackle at the goalsquare and was awarded a free kick. He is the important Saint who performs well week in week out and indeed deserved his good chance!


Tigers snarled with three consecutive goals after Steele’s – Rioli (taking a mark from Riewoldt’s kick), Lynch (diving mark) and Bolton (marking inside 50).


We got another opportunity later on the term and Sinclair kicked long. It was (should have been) a goal but umpires called a score review and Vlastuin appealed that he touched the ball. Sinclair’s kick was recorded as a behind and it was a controversial umpire’s call. St Kilda supporters booed the umpires and were unhappy with Vlastuin’s behaviour as well.


Richmond led by 31 points at the main break.


Josh Battle was carried to the bench at the end of the second quarter and had been there for quite long so I was worried. He missed the Elimination Final against the Western Bulldogs and I thought a sore foot hit the young gun again. He came back on the field at the third quarter and had an opportunity but missed.


Then the trouble-making forward (Lynch) bent down and pushed his knee on Dougal Howard’s face. Many St Kilda supporters are angry with his behaviour and thought he should be banned as Ben Long was suspended a week before. Lynch escaped after similar actions this year and many footy fans are dissatisfied with him not being banned.


That was the moment when my inner archrival to Richmond was established. Now they are my third least AFL club. And indeed I dislike Lynch as well as Cotchin.


Back on the field, Marshall had already taken a mark when the ugly incident happened, so a 50-metre penalty was canceled to Marshall. However he missed the opportunity. St Kilda’s kicks were so inaccurate on Friday night.


Battle goaled from a set shot on the wing later on and Prestia answered. Then Kent scored a goal.


The margin was narrowed to 23 points at the last break. If the Saints contributed four big opportunities (Marshall, Battle’s first one, Billings and King), we could have been back in front at the last quarter as we would trail by just three points.


In the last term, Clark kicked long and Membrey ran to the goal and handpassed to Ross. The vice-captain scored a goal. Clark had been performing well in the back – chasing the footy hard, laying tackles and disposing well. As always he contributed a lot.


Castagna answered and Dusty was always there and finally kicked a goal.


St Kilda scored two behinds at the last quarter and Membrey went off to the bench due to an ankle injury.


The final siren sounded and St Kilda’s 2020 season ended. We couldn’t beat Richmond’s dominant centre clearances or good ball use. Their kicks were more accurate than the Saints. If our set shots and goal-kicking were more accurate, we could beat them and controversies would be less important (even though they would not affect  the loss).


Well done the Saints in 2020


St Kilda improved a lot in 2020. Midfield skills have improved in using the ball thanks to Zak Jones and Brad Hill in speed, and Hannerbery as he played more games this year for his smart plays.


Our forward line has got more tall players – King and Marshall/Ryder. And when Butler is firing up, he runs fast and scores goals. Battle does a good forward job and Geary shows his smart play when he is a defensive forward.


Coffield and Clark have been developing a lot in the backline. Their chasing of the ball is magnificent. Getting Howard in defence creates more flexibility for Carlisle. Two tall defenders share important duties.


St Kilda rose from 14th in 2019 to sixth this year in the Home and Away season and played finals for the first time since 2011 and won the Elimination Final.


Already existing players, new recruits and a new coaching panel all worked hard together to make the season better. Well done the mighty Saints!


Next year we will improve more and overcome  bad sportsmanship, inaccurate umpiring and one-sided commentating. We can do it all in 2021, I believe!


Thanks to the Saints for playing good footy and organising online events to connect supporters during the tough pandemic.


Footy is still on for me


The loss of the semi-final doesn’t mean that footy is over for me. This weekend, we are going on a 22-kilometre walking trek from Osaka to Minoh, and playing footy on Saturday 14 November against R246 Lions.


I can concentrate on the Dingoes’ footy more now.


RICHMOND 5.1 9.1 10.4 12.8 (80)
ST KILDA 2.2 3.6 5.11 6.13 (49)

Richmond: Bolton 3, Lynch 2, Edwards 2, Castagna, Martin, McIntosh, Prestia, Rioli
St Kilda: Battle, Butler, Kent, Ross, Savage, Steele

Richmond: Houli, Martin, Edwards, Bolton, Baker
St Kilda: Steele, Clark, Ross, Coffield, Marshall


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Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.



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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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