Round 10 – St. Kilda v Hawthorn: Saints out pecked by the Hawks at the Dome

by Braham Dabscheck

4.40 PM Sunday 7 June

Etihad Stadium

This was an intriguing game. Last year the Hawks beat the Saints by 145 points (27 goals to 4) on their way to a premiership, with the Saints heading in the opposite direction for a wooden spoon. The Saints lost this one by 63 points (20 goals to 10.) Despite the improvement of the Saints a comprehensive win for the Hawks.

Having said this, there were periods when the Saints not so matched the Hawks as controlled the play. Jack Steven, in his 100th game for the Saints was outstanding, amassing 38 possessions. Blake Acres, after a slow start, had a good second half, took a great mark in the last quarter and was involved in three goal assists. The mighty midget, Jack Lonie had an inspirational few minutes in the third quarter, and Jack Sinclair has a great sense of where to be. Nick Riewoldt kicked a miracle goal over the shoulder when he beat three Hawks after a marking contest in the goal square. Josh Bruce continues to perform well. He is so close to pulling down more marks; one day the umps will start to pay them. Billy Longer never gives up in ruck contests and had an out of world experience when he was awarded a free kick in the forward line to kick one of his rare goals. Everyone did something that showed promise, the problem being the ability to string these sequences together for longer periods of time.

The Saints encountered two major problems during the game. The first was hesitance going forward. This was particularly acute in the second quarter when the Hawks looked ripe for plucking. Rather than go forward the ball was kicked backwards with the merry go round of passing in the back 50. Eventually, something would go wrong and the Hawks would respond with a soft goal. The second was when the Saints were going forward, or appeared to be setting up a goal scoring opportunity, a hand pass or kick would go astray, with a quick rebound down the other end. It was these moments which were the most interesting of the game. Compared with last year, the Saints looked to be on the verge of accomplishment, for the fickle finger of fate to intervene and be thwarted at the last moment. There will be a game when everything comes together, and it will be soon.

The game at times was scrappy. Both teams had attacks of the fumbles with kicks and handballs disappearing into opponents clutches, if only they could control the ball. The Hawks kicked easy goals in flurries, especially after half time. The Saints never gave in and kicked late goals in both quarters of the second half. The Saints have a problem with a third tall in the forward line and may need to try Plan B. The back line performed relatively well, despite the number of goals conceded. Many of these resulted from problems up field. The Saints only gave away one gift goal, from a kick out, and, as the better teams always seem to do, the Hawks scored a number from lucky bounces or flukes.

St. Kilda:     2.3   3.5   7.8   10.9 (69)

Hawthorn:   4.5   8.10   14.11   20.12 (132)

Goals

St. Kilda: Bruce 2, Sinclair 2, Savage 2, Riewoldt, Montagna, Longer, Shenton.

Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Roughead 3, Hodge 3, Shoenmakers 2, Shiels 2, Hill 2, Hartung, Lewis, Rioli, Bruest, Duryea, Smith.

Best

St. Kilda: Steven, Roberton, Montagna, Ray, Webster.

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Hodge, Hartung, Gunston, Roughead.

Umpires: Armstrong, Dalgleish, Donlon.

Crowd: 33,866

Our Votes: Mitchell 3 (Haw), Steven 2 (StK), Hodge 1 (Haw).

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