Round 11 – St Kilda v North Melbourne: Two As


Saturday 29 May 2021
4:35 pm
Marvel Stadium, Docklands


A Number One: Watching Saints Footy in Amagasaki, Hyogo


Melbourne went on a seven-day lockdown at midnight on Friday morning. NT, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania closed the border with Victoria because of COVID outbreak in the footy state. The AFL relocated the Suns-Hawks game from Darwin to Giants Stadium, and the Tigers-Crows match from MCG to SCG, on Thursday. Also the time of the Port Adelaide vs Fremantle match has been reset. Hours after the footy amendment announcement, something came up on Saturday arvo in Amagasaki, so my watching schedule has been set to the away town.


A Number Two: Saints Footy was Average


To be honest, I admit that I had not been  confident in winning because 1) Saints barely win a game on players’ milestones (it was Seb Ross’ 150th game), and 2) North Melbourne beat us recently and we lost the game we should have won last year.


But I tried to calm down in the A-town. Listening to The Hack and Hero podcast and watching Luke Beveridge’s funny presser videos (uploaded on The Front Bar‘s Facebook) might have relaxed me. My business in Amagasaki went well too.


Settling down at a cafe, I tuned in the Watch AFL App and watched the Brisbane-GWS game a bit, before my footy came up.


The ball was bounced and the veteran ruckmen contested. Goldstein won over Ryder, and kicked to his forward counterparts. Two throw ins and Dunstan kicking short and Ziebell winning a marking contest against his former teammate Wood made me anxious in my away watching venue. But Membrey running with bounces and kicking to the pocket delivered to Billings. Tall forward’s trick and the middle sized midfielder’s right decision matched well. Billings kicked the first goal of the match.


Meanwhile Dunstan showed his hunger in the midfield with his specialising tackle. I normally don’t rate him much, but was impressed with his efforts.


Our co-captain Steele found the right corridor and hit the target (Wood). Our number 32 kicked a goal in front of his former side. Then Membrey won a two on one marking contest with his big hands. He got on a rhythm and did a set shot correctly.


North Melbourne’s only score at the first term was a goal kicked by Ziebell and it was his first goal of the season. Zurhaar won a contested possession against Hill and handpassed to Scott and then to the Kangaroo skipper before his kicking a goal.


St Kilda’s inaccuracies in goal kicking continued. Butler had two occasions at first quarter but his shots were missed. I wonder where his skills are in 2021. Higher scoring inside 50, but goal kicking accuracy in 30 percent was the average football. It was good to watch footy in Amagasaki but I didn’t want to watch the average game (maybe I should have expected from previous weeks’ poor performances and ongoing injuries?).


Second quarter was similar to the first term, but both teams kicked more goals. Geary’s defensive forward worked when he gained a turnover in the first minutes. His kick targeted Billings and the left footer’s set shot from the right had no problem.


St Kilda supporters Facebook pages had had many negative posts sadly, and one was about regretting not drafting Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) or Petracca (Melbourne Demons). Then what? JB was doing well. What’s the point of comparing our number 15 to the top Dog? Just see how Jack is improving!


Higgins using advantages of the small forward in goal kicking, Battle’s battle in a contest mark backed by the 150th gamer for a goal, and Membrey contributing an opportunity from a free kick were good, but I wanted more because we played against the bottom side.


Meanwhile Larkey won a contested mark in the hot spot and scored a goal. Zurhaar kicked another goal for the Kangaroos.


Saints and Kangaroos going on the main break, I changed the venue to watch the game in respect of the business and as needed to charge the iPhone. The burger giant in Amagasaki was the premise to follow the third and last quarters.


North Melbourne had a good minute or two, early in the third term (Larkey and Zurhaar). Zurhaar led well to Cunningham and got a chest mark.


Saints needing a quick and desperate answer, Ryder hit out and Steele collected and did a centre clearance. Battle gained a possession after the co-captain’s kick but play on was called. Short kick was handed to Crouch and he charged the speed and kicked a goal.


Then a big marking contest at the goal square was going on after Howard’s long kick. Membrey picked dropped footy and started a sea of handpasses. It was delivered to former Kangaroo. Wood did a set shot easily as directly in front.


Higgins attempted to kick for a goal assist, but Kangaroos played hard and tried to make a turn over. Then a hungry boy Luke Dunstan laid a big and important tackle on Manadue. Dropped footy was picked by Wood and just ran in for a goal scoring.


Butler has been quiet in his second year at the Saints, but found a target and disposed the ball well when the distance was too far for number 16. Byrnes just bagged a goal in the open space. It was his first AFL goal. Well done!


Scoring four goals was good, but the bottom placed opponents kicking two made me think the game was average. But at least I didn’t feel grumpy at away from home (however I am not sure if Kyoto is my home or not).


Winning the premiership quarter didn’t last in the last term. Battle’s attempt just only brought a minor score and Ziebell scored a goal.


The solid midfielder Dunstan took an advantage from holding a man at the ruck contest. Then after two handpasses, Hill kicked long and Geary got on a contest. He grabbed footy and then was hit by McKay and fell down. The co-captain was awarded a 50-metre penalty and scored a goal.


And that’s it for the Saints in the last term. Fourth quarter was below average for St Kilda, allowing the bottom placed Kangaroos five goals. Two goals by Thomas and Garner and Taylor kicked each.


In the first two minute of the term, Saints led by 44 points but the margin was narrowed to 20 when the final siren sounded.


At least I was happy, but didn’t hear the club song. What the hell? Could I listen to it in Amagasaki?


But finally ‘Oh when the Saints go marching in’ was played and I sang in the A-town. Nick Dal Santo interviewing Paddy Ryder was great too.


Watching the average game in Amagasaki was far better than the huge loss (Round 3, 2020 against Collingwood), at least.


ST KILDA 3.6 7.11 11.14 12.16 (88)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 3.4 5.7 10.8 (68)


St Kilda: Wood 3, Billings 2, Membrey 2, Higgins, Ross, Crouch, Byrnes, Geary
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 2, Larkey 2, Ziebell 2, Thomas 2, Garner, Taylor


St Kilda: Dunstan, Crouch, Steele, Wood, Billings
North Melbourne: Hall, Simpkin, Ziebell, Cunnington, Thomas


3. Dunstan (STK); 2. Thomas (NM); 1. Crouch (STK)


St Kilda: Nil
North Melbourne: McKay (hamstring)


St Kilda: Jack Lonie (unused)
North Melbourne: Charlie Lazzaro (unused)



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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. Darren White says

    Not the win we hoped for Yoshi, but at least it was a win. Always good to hear the song, and like you, I loved Paddy Ryder’s interview. He is a good man.
    And sorry to hear that you and the rest of the Osaka Dingoes have been forced to put their games on hold. Really hope you can be back out there soon mate.
    All the best – and go Saints.

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