Round 12 – St. Kilda v Carlton: On A Sunny Sunday Winter’s Day The Saints Overcome Their Travelling Blues

By Braham Dabscheck

Sunday 12 June 1.10 PM

Etihad Stadium

 

The Saints don’t travel well when they head off in a westerly direction. It has something to do with going backwards in time. They are a much better team than last week’s loss to the Crows, especially if we take account of the injuries which occurred during the game. The Saints made six changes for the match against the Blues. The Blues have overcome the blues of last year and would be a good test to see whether or not the Saints’ westward ventures were an aberration or an indicator of doom.

 

The game was played at Etihad with the roof open and the ground bathed in sunlight. A big crowd was in, or trying to be in, attendance. The game started and the first 15 minutes or so were a shining example of turnover city. It was as if the AFL was presenting Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Both sides had difficulty going forward with the Saints unable to pinpoint a 15 meter pass, especially in the forward 50. For their part the Blues were intent on playing ring around the rosie in their back 50. We were witnessing the absurdist situation with the Saints being credited with entries into the forward 50 when they weren’t actually in control of the ball. As Pirandello might say, six players in search of a possession!

 

Something had to give. Someone would either kick the ball long to a fellow player or a team would make two mistakes in a row and concede a goal to the opposition. The Saints broke the deadlock when misplaced hand passes went astray and coughed up a gift to the Blues. This was followed by a version of demolition derby in the Saints’ forward 50 which resulted in a nicely snapped goal by Jade Gresham. The Saints then conceded a goal from a 50 meter penalty. From the center bounce the Blues had another, to be two goals up. With two and a half minutes of the first quarter to go, I had that terrible feeling of spending the rest of my life Waiting for Godot.

 

And then the sun shone more brightly. From the next two center bounces Tom Hickey palmed it one way and then the other for David Armitage and Jack Steven to boot it forward for marks in the forward 50 by Tim Membrey and Blake Acres, respectively who both kicked truly. At the next center bounce the Blues pushed it forward for the Saints to repel their attack and drive it down the ground for Membrey to mark in the pocket and kick another six pointer. In less than three minutes the Saints had converted a two goal deficit into an eight point lead. The Saints had done to the Blues what other teams had been doing to the Saints! It was a beautiful sunny winter’s day.

 

From then on the Saints dominated the game. Hickey was exceptional in the ruck, especially at center bounces. There were three other occasions he set up goals from a center bonce with palms to Jack Steven. Hickey also kicked a goal from a tight angle in the second quarter and set up another when he grabbed the ball on the half forward flank, pivoted on his left foot and kicked it to the forward square for ruckman Lewis Pierce, with his giraffe running style, to kick a goal with his first kick in his first game of AFL football. Well done Lewis. May there be many more.

 

Jack Steven had an outstanding game. He kicked three goals, one a beautiful bomb from wide on the 50, was involved in 14 of the Saints 25 score involvements and laid nine tackles. Tim Membrey, in the absence of Nick Riewoldt and Paddy McCartin, was a focal point up forward and kicked five for the game. He has been a big plus to the forward line. The rest of the team performed well. The most pleasing feature of the win was the combination of goals from marks inside the forward 50 and long bombs and goals from team play down the field. And Jade Gresham kicked a nice one at the end, which had a touch of the Stevie Milne’s about it. Even if his only half as good (and he does wear number 22!) he looks like more than a valuable addition.

 

After the bye, the Saints take on the Cats. Given it is a night game let us hope for a clearly lit moon winter’s night.

 

Go Saints.

 

St. Kilda:   4.2   8.3   14.8   17.8 (110)

Carlton:     3.0   5.2   8.3    12.6 (78)

 

Goals

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.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Steven, Hickey, Membrey, Ross, Webster.

Carlton: Simpson, Thomas, Docherty, Wright, Kerridge.

 

Umpires: Bannister, Dalgeish, Foot.

 

Crowd: 47,945.

 

Our Votes: Steven 3 (St. Kilda), Hickey 2 (St. Kilda), Membrey 1 (St. Kilda).

 

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Interesting theory that Westerly direction one Braham. Does this mean the Saints sweet spot is actually the ‘G, which is east of Docklands?

    Wherever this game was to be played, it seemed like the Saints had the Blues’ measure on the day.

    Cheers

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