NAB Challenge – St Kilda v North Melbourne: Lead first and defeated last again

Saturday, 20 February 2016
2:05 pm (12:05 pm Kyoto Time)
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Last year when St Kilda played North Melbourne in Tasmania, my Saint boys led first so I looked forward to the win. But Kangaroos jumped into us and the Saints were defeated.

Even though it was a preseason game, I was so excited to see footy was back. Facing tough circumstances at work needed to be reduced by showing passionate supporting of St Kilda.

Here is a quarter by quarter story of the very first game in 2016.

1st Quarter: A lazy Japanese couple did not check out by 11 am that caused delay listening to the radio live coverage, due to the order of cleaning work. Josh Bruce’s first goal excited me and my hopes to win got bigger. Later I watched the highlight video of the goal. Our American imported James Holmes got the ball at the congested situations and boys handballed and kicked. Then Bruce bounced and ran on the right hand side of the field. At last he shoot the gun! But we were unable to keep the lead and were behind by 11 points at the end of the first quarter.

2nd Quarter: I settled down myself on the ground floor to clean up the accommodation. Coming back from long injury in the last home and away season, Jack Billings kicked a super goal. Another hope came up in my mind. Watching the highlight video later, Billings took a mark after running so fast. Then he kicked with the left foot from outside 50. Brilliant! The ball went through two main goal posts. Saints seemed to take advantages. But I mainly heard Kangaroo boys names. Even the veteran Brent Harvey kicked goals. However on the other hand, the margin narrowed to six points at the main break.

3rd Quarter: The job task I do not enjoy (cleaning) was over. Walking on a rainy day to buy my lunch and foods, I kept hearing North’s goals. Seven consecutive goals were kicked by Kangaroos. Where were St Kilda boys’ efforts? F words came up from my mouth as self talking. It was so frustrating. But later I read the match report on St Kilda club App and found key players left the ground at the main break while senior main North players kept playing. Probably it was reasonable.

4th Quarter: Having seafoods on rice at the back office, our goal kicker Bruce again scored a goal and I had a hope we would be competitive. But Kangaroos kept attacking. 40-point margin at the third quarter might have depressed our boys. As I had been exhausted, I lay down on the floor. The game was played back and forth. Final siren sounded following by the song of “So join in the chorus, and sing it one and all”. It was the time to disconnect the AFL Live radio.

It is just a preseason game, but loss is a loss. I am disappointed. However as mentioned above, our group of quality players was on the bench at the last two quarters. Also Paddy McCartin was left due to hamstring which is sad (I hope he will be back at Round 1). So the game would be closer if both clubs sent key players on the footy field.

North Melbourne could be at top four in 2016 Season. If the Saints are competitive against Kangaroos, we will play finals in September and potentially will stop Hawthorn from winning the flag four years in a row.

Even with the loss on Saturday, the bright path is awaiting St Kilda. We will be the Bulldogs of 2016, and additionally wins of the last home and away game plus final series games.

ST KILDA 0.3.3 1.5.6 1.6.10 1.9.10 (73)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.5.2 0.8.3 0.15.5 0.18.9 (117)

St Kilda: Billings

St Kilda: Bruce 2, Saunders, Acres, Savage, Lee, Sinclair, Shenton, Curren
North Melbourne: Petrie 4, Wood 4, Thomas 3, Waite 3, Higgins 2, Anderson, Harvey

Official Crowd: 6,216

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. Neil Anderson says

    I love your passion and your optimism Yoshi.
    There has been the usual discussion recently about the value of the pre-season matches. The cynics say it is a waste of time, there is no winner’s cup and they sneer at the various country venues etc. In the meantime people like you and I can’t wait to see our teams run out for the first time. We’re not worried about winning so much, it’s more the opportunity to see how the new recruits perform to give us hope for the future.
    Of course we cross our fingers that there are no injuries before the main season starts. Last year we lost Tom Liberatore our 2014 best and fairest with a knee injury in the very first practice-match.
    I was starting to think I was the only one who was counting down the hours until my team was due to run out in 2016 before I read your article. Although there is a Bulldog supporter’s group that have been posting messages on facebook since last December, with a few of them even keener than me, if that’s possible, and counting down the days to see the Bulldogs play.
    Of course we’re keen because of the great year the Bulldogs had last year which you have acknowledged and are hoping your Saints can have the same sort of resurgence this year.
    Can’t wait for 7pm Eastern Standard Time tonight!

  2. Thanks for your compliment, Neil! A few days ago, there was a discussion of renaming of NAB Challenge on SEN’s Run Home program. I can’t remember what names came up though. Probably strong teams like Hawthorn may not need, but I agree with you that clubs who are improving need NAB Challenge Cup to see who are fit, competitive and performing well. However on the other hand, clubs may lose key players due to injuries. I’m surprised Fremantle’s Hayden Ballantyne played the preseason game and got injured.

    You must be very excited now as it is only less than 20 minutes to the first bounce. Are you watching or listening to the radio? Good luck with your Bulldogs tonight!

    Cheers – Yoshi

  3. Neil Anderson says

    Just glad the team got through unscathed Yoshi. I think both teams were playing about half-pace and GWS were missing more of their star-players than the Bulldogs.
    It was hard to believe the Dogs were so rusty at the start missing all those shots on goal. We need Tom Boyd in front of goal especially late in a game. Their tall players were very effective in the last quarter out-marking the Dogs and kicking goals. It’s been our weakness for a long time.
    It was also very hot in Canberra and probably why players like Bob Murphy sat out the last half.
    Our recruits did well and I can’t wait for the next match against Melbourne.
    Cheers- Neil.

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