Round 13 – Gold Coast v St. Kilda: After being shanghaied in Shanghai, Saints go to town against Suns in Sunny Townsville; well, it wasn’t quite like that!


1.45 PM Saturday, 15 June

Riverway Stadium, Townsville


What are we to make of the Saints? After putting on one of the worst displays imaginable in the first two-and-a-half quarters they then found their rhythm and managed to get over the Suns and win by four points. Amongst a litany of woes their major problem is their kicking, especially in front of goal and from set shots. At a minimum they missed at least 8 gettable goals. On top of this there were a number of muffed chances from errant kicks, uncontested dropped marks and ineffective team play.


The first half for the Saints was a comedy of errors; or more correctly it had the dimensions of a sad Shakespearean tragedy. The Suns dominated first-half possessions. All that can really be said for the Saints is that most of their errors occurred in the front half of the field and did not translate into easy goals for the Suns. Better teams won’t let off the Saints so easily. The backline held firm, only conceding 5 goals in the first half. This is usually viewed as a good result; the problem being that the Saints only managed 2 goals themselves! Jack Billings and Luke Dunstan were standouts during this period. The second quarter contained one highlight for the Saints. First-gamer Nick Hind (note that his first name does not start with a J!; does this signal a new recruiting strategy?) kicked truly with the first kick of his career and was mobbed by teammates. Well done, Nick. The camera focused on his father wiping away tears. Was he shedding tears of joy or relief that at least one Saint knew how to score a goal?


At half time I am convinced the Saints are about to embrace a hiding and will be deported back to Shanghai rather than return to Melbourne after such an inept display. The start of the third quarter confirms this expectation. The Suns kick the first two goals of the third quarter and jump to a 31-point lead. History has shown that 31 is a devil’s number for the Suns. They are at their most vulnerable when they are 31 points to the good. Against the Saints in Round One they were ahead by 31 points at three quarter time to be overrun in the last quarter to lose by one point. Jack Lonie kicked the winning point from a set shot in front of goal! Get well soon Jack, your smarts in the forward half are most needed.


Somehow or other the Saints got their game together and kicked 9 of the next 13 goals. They kicked 4 in a row in the third quarter. Rather than bombing the ball into the forward 50 they used the ball more cleverly. Tim Membrey and Dean Kent rediscovered their kicking boots. The standout goals were Josh Battle’s running long-range bomb in the third and Jack Billings’ bomb from a standing start in the final stanza. Veteran David Armitage, who was playing his first game for the year, combined class and steadiness in the back half during this period of Saints ascendancy. Special mention should be made of Brandon White, who played the second half with an injury. He was placed in the goal square so as not to compromise rotations in the heat of the mid-afternoon Townsville sun. And he could have had two goals if he had kicked straight.


This was the Saints’ third-highest score for the year, surpassed by their 95 points against the Demons and 85 points against the Suns in Round One. They are now 6 and 6, an improvement on last year. It is conceivable that they could climb up the ladder and give the eight a shake, though their low percentage is a problem. The backline is generally solid and has held firm most of the year, despite a turnover of players caused by injuries. The problem is up front. Who knows what would happen if the Saints could kick straight. Can someone please find a kicking coach?!


Gold Coast   3.5   5.6   8.9   11.10 (76)

St. Kilda        0.2   2.5   7.8   11.14 (80)



Gold Coast: King 2, Wright 2, Holman 2, Powell, Martin, Day, Sexton, Miles

St. Kilda: Membrey 3, Billings 2, Kent 2, Dunstan, Hind, Gresham, Battle



Gold Coast: Miles, Swallow, Weller, Martin, Fiorini

St. Kilda: Billings, Dunstan, Marshall, Membrey, Ross


Umpires: Foot, Harris, Power, Whetton

Official crowd: 7,243


  1. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks Braham.

    How good was it see AFL footy in Townsville!!!
    Saw most of the game on TV.
    The sunshine was so bright.

    Good initiative, presumably from the Suns.

    Did you also see the Cowboys on Friday night?
    Good double.

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