Round 12 – St Kilda v Carlton: Saints Show Blues About Rebuilds

The Live Pass edition


So this is the future of football spectating? At least as the AFL sees it. Though they’d appreciate it if you don’t mention that too loudly around the folks from Channel 7 and Foxtel. They still need their money, at least until they’ve paid for the Suns and Giants. And probably the Lions.


I’m not entirely convinced about my post match-day experience. It certainly lacks atmosphere. Although, if the catering is deficient you only have yourself to blame (pour me another red, please). And the iPad shares the same limitations as the TV: the abbreviated and selective framing gives you a poor idea of what’s happening downfield, making it hard to understand many player decisions.


Actually, my coverage of the first quarter had really begun on my trannie, as I stood in the match day queue, watching Etihad’s state of the art customer service mechanisms collapse in the face of spontaneous consumer behaviours. BT was lead shouter on Bogan Radio. It was a typical BT call: he’d developed one theme for the day and was pounding it like he was trying to make diamonds. Today’s theme was the inferior skills of this game, as opposed to last night’s. Apparently, it was easy to tell the Saints and Blues weren’t top eight sides. Thanks, BT. Mightn’t have figured that out for myself.


When I actually got to see that quarter, things looked a little different. There were certainly plenty of mistakes, but they were largely the result of the pressure the Saints were bringing. Having been the hunters in previous weeks, the Blues were now the hunted. Time and again we were forced backwards into ring-a-rosy possession chains that posed little threat. The Saints didn’t take much scoreboard toll early, then gifted us our first couple of goals through error. But warning signs rang on the cusp of ¼ time when they charged out of the centre twice to take the lead.


From there the Saints called the shots. Hickey was all over Kruezer, who may not have been 100 percent. Tim Membrey gave Weitering his first real towelling, taking him deep, out of the intercept marking zone, then leading sharply and unpredictably. Jack Steven had much the better of Ed Curnow, charging through the centre and getting involved in many scoring chains, as well as kicking 3 himself. The collective running and pressure of Ross, Newnes, Webster and Montagna subdued the effect of Gibbs and Cripps. Docherty and Simpson were left to try and hold the Blues’ defensive fort.


Carlton’s recent surprising run has been built around structure, discipline and effort. If any of those wane, our lack of talent is exposed. Today, the flatness that had crept into the performance against Brisbane manifested. With our effort and discipline down, our structure didn’t hold. At times, the Saints ran through us as easily as any team this season. What they occasionally lacked in polish, they covered with sustained and aggressive defensive effort.


Considering the absence of Riewoldt, McCartin, Fisher and Dempster, the Saints have reason to be pleased. A couple of recent interstate floggings have served to cloud an otherwise pretty solid form line. They reach the break only a win-and-a-half shy of their 2015 haul. They are a team on the rise, doing it within the limitations of the compromised drafts of recent years


The bye probably comes at a good time for Carlton. Bolton spent much of the last term on the boundary, collecting feedback on what had gone wrong. He’ll have plenty of ammunition. As we next visit the Spotless Fortress, he’ll need it.


The iPad has it’s conveniences, but it lacks a lot. On the day, some Sainter friends had escaped the queues with me and headed to a nearby pub. Though we tried to focus on the TV screens, the chatter and beer soon took over. That never happens when we’re at the ground. Screen culture is essentially a passive culture. Cinema crowds are not footy crowds. At any half decent game, the crowd is a participant. This is something the AFL, and all its ‘match day experience’ hooey, continually fails to trust. This dinosaur still likes  going to the game.


St Kilda    4.2    8.3    14.8    17.8 (110)
Carlton    3.0    5.2    8.3    12.6 (78)

St Kilda:
 Membrey 5, Steven 3, Gresham 2, Acres, Montagna, Hickey, Pierce, Newnes, Ross, Weller
Carlton: Casboult 3, Walker 3, Wright 2, Simpson, Lamb, Gibbs, Everitt

St Kilda: 
Steven, Hickey, Membrey, Ross, Webster, Newnes, Montagna
Carlton: Docherty, Simpson, Wright, Thomas, Lamb

Official crowd: 47,945 at Etihad Stadium (not counting those thousands left outside)

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Liveable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has passed his 40th year as a Carlton member.


  1. “Poor me – another red”. (Did I get that right?) BT “pounding it like he was trying to make diamonds”. I have always loved eloquent writing (eg George Will and Theodore Dalrymple) even when I don’t understand or agree with the argument.
    I’m a prose/metaphor whore. You seduced me.
    I’m forsaking both TV and IPad for the golf course this Saturday. Win or lose the Lions at the Gabba promises to be a desultory affair. Win well and my Eagles are still beating up on the crippled kids. Lose and Les Everett and the Avenging Eagle will both be unbearable.
    Poor me – another round.

  2. John Butler says

    Oh for First World problems, PB.

    A query on correct usage: I said trannie, you said tranny. Do you definitely know which is appropriate? I wasn’t trying to describe the former bouncers at the old Prince of Wales, in St Kilda’s (pre yuppie) heyday (though, on reflection, that doesn’t seem completely out of context for BT).

    I seduced you? I had you figured for a cheap date.


  3. In the end, a good game for a Blues supporter to be locked out of!

  4. John Butler says

    Yeah Smoke, I probably was better off at the pub.

    Maybe the AFL could use that as their next promo campaign.

  5. E.regnans says

    Love it JB.
    A passive culture of screens and “devices” is huge and growing in the world of affluent children.
    And adults, too, judging by the prevalence of walking pedestrian hazards along any shopping strip footpath.

    “At any half decent game, the crowd is a participant.”
    Hear hear.

  6. Malby Dangles says

    Writing to you as a Blues supporter who made it into the ground (late!) your summary was pretty much exactly how I felt and was what I observed of the game. You have put it far more eloquently and clearly than I ever could though! Thanks for this :)

  7. John Butler says

    E Reg, I think we’re being pacified by affluence. Just listen to what passes for public discourse now.

    Malby, thanks for the encouragement. Hopefully the Blues can regroup. We’ll need to against the Giants.

  8. G’day John,

    Watching a game at the stadium cannot be replaced by technology devices. Having watched rugby games at the venues and on the screen are different. I wish I could have been at Docklands Stadium on 12 June 2016!

    I think AFL couldn’t predict such a big number of spectators due to last year’s performances for both your Blues and my Saints. But they should have expected as both clubs used to play post Mother’s Day clashes and St Kilda’s big number of members.

    As for rebuilds, we are a young team and young blokes gain more experiences in playing senior games. Then Jack Steven showed great leadership as well as playing good footy. Maybe Steven’s such nice skills brought us a win.

    But your Blues are doing well and I admire they beat Collingwood and Geelong.



  9. John Butler says

    G’day Yoshi,

    Steven has turned himself into one of the dynamic midfielders in the competition. Great burst running, great endurance. Ed Curnow has been terrific for the Blues this year, but he won’t remember his 100th game too fondly chasing Steven.


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