NAB Cup, Round 1: Saints and Pies worth the wait

After getting my first dose of football for 2010, I eagerly await my next fix. It seems to be the longest week of my life from the final siren of Western Bulldogs v Brisbane from last Sunday to the opening bounce of this match, yet it was a very quick and enjoyable week. The week included me catching up with Anthony Stevens for a chat, filling out my work experience forms and attending the schools swimming sports on the day of this game.

I hear the ground of Etihad Stadium is in terrible condition after the AC/DC concerts and the recent Soccer match, the Coventry End is not up to AFL standards, yet is cleared by the folks controlling the league. A snake scare threatened, but was quickly taken care of, and finally the teams run out, the Pies in their clash strip and the Saints in some sort of horizontal paneled jumper. Finally, the home team does not wear a clash strip, even if the Saints aren’t wearing the traditional number.

Obviously the spotlight is on the new Collingwood recruits Luke Ball and Darren Jolly, while the Saints’ new addition Brett Peake will be looking to impose himself after a couple of wasted seasons at Fremantle.  The siren sounds, both teams are ready, the abnormally large crowd is cheering, and Melbourne is having its first dosage of football since that special day late last September.

The first quarter begins and, with Channel 7 delaying the match (as per usual), I check on the Internet for the scores at quarter time. Armed with this knowledge, I anticipate what I’ll see in the first 20-odd minutes. Leigh Brown kicks the first goal, but Andrew McQualter replies to draw scores level. Nick Riewoldt is on the end of a good pass from Nick Heyne, Riewoldt slots the goal from a tight angle. Straight out of the middle after that goal, Riewoldt marks on the lead and kicks his second. Adam Schneider provides some party tricks and kicks a long nine-pointer to take the margin out to 21 points. Paul Medhurst takes an easy mark in between a few Saints’ defenders, he slots the goal but Ben McEvoy splits a small pack of players to take a terrific mark. Justin Koschitzke, who McEvoy marked against, is a little bit worse for wear, especially after copping a boot to the head from Nathan Brown on his way down. McEvoy slots the goal, and Schneider dummies around an opponent and goals from just inside 50 to give the Saints a commanding 26 point lead at quarter time, 1.5.1 to 0.2.2.

The second quarter begins and Leigh Brown gathers and kicks a goal on the run, but Leigh Montagna replies after gathering and slotting the goal from a scramble in the goalsquare. Riewoldt marks on the lead again and boots his third, but the Pies improve in the last half of the quarter. Goals come from Leigh Brown and Tarkyn Lockyer, and at half time the Saints lead by 18 points, 1.7.1 to 0.5.4.

The second half began and the Koschitzke took a good grab in the goalsquare, booting the goal. Jason Blake gets on the end of a nine-pointer, followed by goals to Riewoldt and Rhys Stanley. The margin was out to a whopping 43 points, but the Magpies showed resilience. Dane Swan gathered and goaled, Travis Cloke kicked a terrific goal from the boundary line, Darren Jolly kicked his first goal in the black and white, a nine-pointer it was, and final goals to Cloke and Jolly to finish off the quarter saw the margin slashed to just 10 points at the last break, 2.10.3 to 1.9.8.

The final quarter starts and everyone anticipates a big finish. Luke Ball takes an uncontested mark and kicks his first goal for Collingwood, but Stephen Milne ran into an open goal from a handball receive. Leigh Brown kicked his fourth goal, but Sam Fisher drifted forward and took the margin back out to eight points. A funny moment then occurred, with the St Kilda runner being taken out by Ben Johnson. The runner fell to the turf and took a while to get back up, and still almost managed to mess things up again. Dayne Beams kicks a good goal from a free kick and Paul Medhurst lines up from just inside 50 and slots it home, putting the Magpies in front for the first time since early in the first term. The Pies start playing keepings off, until Ben Reid (go figure) messes it up and St Kilda regains possession. David Armitage receives a free kick 50m out, he lines up and at the last moment pops the ball over the top of Harry O’Brien to an unmanned Schneider, 30m out from goal, something I wouldn’t even expect from the Waaia Under Seventeen’s. He drills the goal, putting the Saints back in front, and they stay ahead for the last 30 seconds, winning by a solitary point, to

The reception after the game was what you would expect from a match for premiership points, it just shows how much of a good game this was between two quality sides. The Saints were terrific, getting out to a great lead without their stars in Lenny Hayes, Michael Gardiner and of course Ball, but the Pies were equally outstanding with their ability to turn the contest. Ball was great for the Pies with 22 disposals, six tackles and four free kicks, while Jolly was the most impressive player in the ruck. Heath Shaw finished on a match-high 30 possessions, while Armitage was impressive with 26 touches. Youngsters Alastair Smith was brilliant, collecting 18 possessions and looks likely to be able to get a game some time this year. But the Pies, they must travel north to Alice Springs, while the Saints will meet either the Swans or the Blues. For the sake of a good match, I hope the Blues beat Sydney. No one likes St Kilda v Sydney.

St Kilda 1.5.1—1.7.1—2.10.3—

Collingwood 0.2.2—0.5.4—1.9.8—


Supergoals: Blake, Schneider, Jolly

St Kilda-Riewoldt 4, Schneider 2, Stanley, Montagna, Milne, McQualter, McEvoy, Koschitzke, S. Fisher

Collingwood-L. Brown 4, Cloke 2, Medhurst 2, Jolly, Ball, Beams, Swan, Lockyer


St Kilda-Schneider, Armitage, Riewoldt, Montagna, A. Smith, Goddard

Collingwood-Cloke, L. Brown, Shaw, Ball, Jolly, Swan


3: Adam Schneider (STK)

2: David Armitage (STK)

1: Travis Cloke (COLL)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

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