Round 1 – North Melbourne v St Kilda: Open Roof for Kangaroos jumping on and not Saints marching in finally

Sunday 22 March 2020
1:05 pm
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne


Match Highlights


Marvel Stadium having to open its roof and having no crowd was a reflection on coronavirus crisis.


First game of the year started with perfect conditions, according to Fox Footy commentator, Nick Dal Santo.


Hannebery’s kick went into a goal kicking review and a touch by McDonald was called.


A free kick was awarded to Polec due to illegal touch on a one on one marking contest at goal square. But Polec only managed to score a behind.


Domino kicks being described later by Dal and Sarah Jones were done in the midfield.


Steele pushing back and winning a contested mark with a high jump at goal square, his set shot went through the posts easily.


Walker colliding with King and Membrey, his head  hit on the ground. He was suffering a concussion and carried out to the medical room.


Hill loving to move and kick long and nicely towards forward pocket.


A contest mark involved in Membrey and McDonald (I am not sure which North player it was though) was held off. A free kick was awarded to Max King.


His set shot was from several metres out, directly in front.


King’s childhood dream became a reality kicking his first AFL goal for his beloved Saints.


Max’s family met St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt on Saturday. Rooey mentioned it to Fox Footy viewers in his commentary, and clapped hands on scoring the goal.


A quick answer was made by strong Kangaroo forward Brown. He was running and dived into a chest mark. A 30-metre out set shot was easily done.


Steele, Dunstan and Jones showed good efforts laying tackles. Rooey commented Jones took marks in right direction and big risks.


But these positive attitudes didn’t bring us goals for a while.


A ball up after a hard tackle was done and Hunter picked footy and handpassed to Billings.


Billings kicked high over heads of players in St Kilda’s goal square. He scored Saints’ third goal.


Kent missed an opportunity to score six points at the beginning of second quarter and then Long twisting hamstring followed. He was carried out to the medical room with trainers.


Despite hardworking by Jones and Geary’s tackling and ball uses, North Melbourne got the first opportunity to be had in the second quarter.


Goldstein used a height advantage, winning a marking contest and scored a goal.


But Hill delivered a great kick to Membrey. The young forward ran into congestion and kicked accurately directly in front.


Rains hit Marvel Stadium’s deck that was unusual to see. Getting fresh air is essential to minimise coronavirus.


Umpires missed calling free kicks and I wonder if they were told to do social distance or not??


Ryder jumped high to take a mark and was hit on top. An infringement by a North player was done to another Saint. Being awarded a 50-metre penalty he got close to score a goal easily.


After missing some opportunities and giving McMillan a free kick after Hannebery’s intercept mark, Billings dived and took a mark just outside 50.


Billings has done his job with his second goal.


St Kilda had another opportunity but McMillan’s handpass ended up with Saints getting a minor score. He was commented doing a smart move by Fox Footy commentator Jason Dunstall.


Before going on a main break, Dunstan once again missed an opportunity kicking out of bounds.


Meanwhile Gresham was sent off to the medical room. One player each was out of action on Sunday afternoon.


Third quarter in other words Premiership quarter was all for Kangaroos.


St Kilda missed opportunities to get six points. Jones, Membrey, Butler and Lonie wasted chances to put their team ahead.


Hannebery’s kick went over Jones’ head. Good communication and accurate leading was needed.


On the other hand, Billing jumped and hit footy and Clark hit ball. Their efforts were positive.


Opposed to St Kilda, North Melbourne showed huge team plays. They found space, ran and kicked without panicking.


The margin narrowed to four points still led by St Kilda at the last break.


St Kilda went on the wing ball uses, but Lonie dropped the footy and a turn over was created for Kangaroos.


Then Cunnington’s goal put North Melbourne in front for the first time in the afternoon.


Jones handpassed despite being tackled and St Kilda got control back. Butler took a mark but holding a ball was called.


A free kick was awarded to the future star Saint, King. His second goal put Saints back in front.


But Cunnington answered and Kangaroos were in front again.


St Kilda had another opportunity. Marshall won a contested mark and was awarded a free kick, but missed.


They still had chances to score a goal. Long flew in, but 15 players each were at Saints’ goal square and North got footy and kicked towards open space.


Final siren sounded and North Melbourne won by two points.


My emotion during the match

I was so happy seeing St Kilda leading and at once the margin was 31 points up. But I was worried from the beginning when St Kilda were unable to control footy.


Witnessing wasting opportunities was painful as always. Recruiting Hill and Jones was to play attacking footy, but I saw sloppy kicking and handpasses again.


Despite laying tackles, Luke Dunstan’s inaccurate kicks angered me. How come he can wear Lenny Hayes’ number 7?


My thoughts came up that Billings should have been handed the legend’s number seven. He is more suited with number 7.


But maybe Billings wants to create his career and history with number 15?


Dunstan needs to do homework (kicking drills) to be on the field for next time. Even I would say Jack Newnes was better than Dunstan.


Why didn’t Brett Ratten come down to the bench after we got the game on the line?


On the Couch on Monday, Rhyce Shaw was awarded  coach of the week. He came down to the bench and communicated straight with players.


Ratts coached on the boundary line while he was in charge at Carlton. Then why not at St Kilda?


Before watching the game at Starbucks in Temmabashi, Osaka, I was reading Nick Riewoldt’s book and it was talking about St Kilda scandals. Sacking Malcolm Blight, schoolgirl scandal and Jake Carlisle taking drugs were among topics.


It was shocking to read through even if they were all over, but I admit I felt being cursed on the game by reading such a part.


Sarah Jones delivering a breaking news that Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was set to halt all footy matches, at last quarter.


I was sad but not surprised. I wanted St Kilda to win no matter if it would be the last game for 2020 or not.


But I have decided to head up and to do the best at the Dingoes’ training after the St Kilda game.


Player’s Note

Bradley Hill bent legs to run smoothly and to pick footy easily at second quarter. His actions were reminders of what my teammate Dom advised me at Dingoes’ training.


Osaka Dingoes’ training on Sunday


We had only Matt, Dom and myself on the day. As a week before to our match against R246 Lions, we focused on intensity.


Drills included handpasses, kicking as many as possible one minute (accuracy was essential), jumping and taking marks, and set shots (goal kicking).


We had a good training on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon.


A brand new Sherrin football as a prize of AFL Asia’s Facebook photo contest was handed to me at footy training by AFL Asia Advisory Board Member Matt Gale.


I am so happy with the prize.


NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 2.2 6.7 8.8 (56)
ST KILDA 3.3 6.7 6.11 7.12 (54)


North Melbourne: Brown, Larkey, Goldstein, Simpkin, Hall, Taylor, Cunnington 2
St Kilda: King 2, Billings 2, Steele, Membrey, Ryder


North Melbourne: Cunnington, Polec, Simpkin, Macmillan, Higgins, Dumont
St Kilda: Billings, Hannebery, Steele, Jones, Ross, Clark


3. Cunnington (NM); 2. Billings (STK); 1. Jones (STK)


Umpires: Chamberlain, Stephens, Brown


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.


  1. I didn’t see the game, Yoshi, but it was a very disappointing fade-out by the Saints.
    That said, the Kangaroos have long had the ability to win close games.
    Well done on winning the Sherrin footy.

  2. G’day FitzroyPete,

    Sadly Saints have lost many close games in recent years… If my boys kicked goals at third quarter, it was not a close game and we would win!

    Thanks for your congratulating on winning the Sherrin football.



  3. Hi Yoshi,

    Yes it was very disappointing to lose that game. Unfortunately, it has probably cost St Kilda a chance to play finals this year, assuming the AFL season can get back and finish the home and away season and all the finals by the end of December this year. St Kilda’s next 2 games are against the premiership favourites in Richmond and West Coast and of course with only 17 rounds, they don’t get to play any of the weaker teams twice. Let’s hope St Kilda start kicking straight.

    I hope you watched the replay last night on 7 mate of the round 14 classic match between St Kilda and Geelong from 2009, which the Mighty Saints won. If not, you can google St Kilda v Geelong round 14 2009 to get the full replay.

    Also, if you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read Peter Clark’s brilliant article of the 1966 premiership season for St Kilda, which gives a great summary of every round of football for that season, including all the finals, as well as other things that were happening that year. His website is

  4. G’day Mark,

    Thanks for your great comment!

    None of players can train properly currently, but I hope they get together when possible and then Saints show more and more accurate goals on the field.

    Actually I live in Japan so was unable to watch the replay of 2009 Round 14 against Geelong last night, but watched it on Watch AFL during the off season in November last year. It was a great game and I enjoyed watching.

    And cheers for the information of Peter’s article!

    All the best


  5. Yoshi,

    You will also be interested to know about the following, if you haven’t done so previously:

    1) If you type in the Google box 1966 Grand Final story, you then click on a YouTube video of The Final Story
    Collingwood v St Kilda – 1966 Grand Final which runs for 43 minutes.
    It is a very emotional documentary where there are several interviews with players, behind the scenes and naturally
    highlights of St Kilda’s only premiership win to date.

    2) On the same screen, you can also click on the YouTube video of 1966 VFL Grand Final Highlights in Colour, which runs for 27 minutes, and is a combination of all the 4 quarter highlights.

    3) On the same screen, you can also click on the YouTube video of Collingwood v St Kilda VFL Grand Final 1966, which runs for 2 hours and 4 minutes, and is the whole match in its entirety.

    I hope you can get some entertainment or enjoyment from any of those videos and let’s hope St Kilda can win their 2nd flag soon.

  6. Yoshi,

    It’s just been announced on the sports news on channel 7 in Melbourne that any AFL finals in Melbourne will be played at Marvel Stadium, not the MCG if the finals in Melbourne happen to be from mid October this year. This is because the Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup is needed to be played at the MCG from mid October for at least a month.

    Therefore, wouldn’t St Kilda have a good home ground finals advantage if they could make the finals against a Victorian club! That would be justice considering many MCG tenants have a home ground advantage playing finals at the MCG.

    However, the reality is that the AFL season may not recommence at all this season the way things have been going in Australia, as the social distancing rule has not been adhered to by many Australians, making the situation worse. These restrictions were meant to last for at least 6 months or longer but longer looks like to be a distinct possibility with most of the state borders closed unless it’s for essential travel.

    Even if the AFL season does resume, it’s still very hard to see 17 rounds and all finals completed by the end of December.

    The other problem is that St Kilda may not have enough wins anyway to play finals should the best case scenario of the home and away season is completed with enough time left for the finals.

  7. Good morning Mark,

    Thanks for further information of the 1966 Grand Final videos and news update.

    I don’t think further footy is played this year but as you suggest St Kilda would gain home stadium advantage if we play finals. We could have a fairytale year like did Western Bulldogs in 2016…

    To be like hotdogs, we need hardworking to gain speed on field though.

    Have a good day!


  8. Hi Mark,

    Can you please contact me about using various nom de plumes and email addresses: [email protected]


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