Round 14 – St. Kilda v Geelong: A Miracle on Grass

A Miracle on Grass

St. Kilda vs Geelong

7:20 P.M. June 25th 2016
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Andy Tuano


I was particularly confident leading up to this match. I’d planned for a group of friends to come watch this game with me, but they all dropped off at the last moment. So I was going along, possessions in my pocket, Saints flag in my left arm and Footy Record in my right.


I bought my ticket and as usual sat in the Saints Cheer Squad. The ramblings of football conversation over Richmond and Brisbane, and slightly less but still talk on the ongoing match between Carlton and GWS went on. Both sides came out finally after waiting about 30 minutes, and the Saints crowd were emphatic in their pre-game build up.


I’d grown accustomed to using the Etihad Stadium WIFI to snapchat pivotal moments in the game, but it had broken down almost as soon as the game started. The butterflies kicked in, as did Paddy McCartin after an excellent knock on from Rooey, which Steven got and kicked to the full forward. From the boundary line, he slotted the Saints first with an excellent checkside.


The game went St. Kilda’s way in the first half: goals to Nathan Wright and our forwards had us up by 24 points at half time. Memories of a 2010 game where Geelong failed to make a second half charge went all throughout the cheersquad, reassuring that the Saints would hold firm.


Alas, that was not the case. The Cats came storming back in the third, but would kick 6 goals to 4. 2 clutch goals from Maverick Weller brought the 3 quarter time lead to 11.


The last quarter was a classic. While only 5 goals were scored, the hard ruggedness, a symbolism of not only St. Kilda’s high pressure and intensity game but also of the AFL, was all for show. The Saints Cheersquad urged the Saints on, but a Cats goal put them in front, after an absolute shocker from Motlop in the goalsquare (ALMOST!) clattered into the post. After a Membrey miss from directly in front, the Cats would run it down the left wing and score, putting them 9 points in front. Looking around me, the disheartened Saints cheersquad thought we were dead. They were wrong.


A video that will be shown time and time again ensued in the next 20 seconds. At the centre bounce, Bruce got the ball and wobbled a kick forward. Running back was Jade Gresham, but the ball was too far from his fingertips. Juking Lonergan brilliantly, he sold the dummy, went under Lonergan’s shoulder and used absolute poise and precision to curl a sausage roll, much to a loud roar of the St. Kilda crowd. Now just 3 points down, the Saints spurred on again.


Fast forward about 2 minutes, and a Saints player was tackled in our forward half, forcing a ball up about 20 out from goal. Somehow, the ball was pushed forward, where Jack Steven sprinted to, sending his green fluorescent boot into it off the ground, which floated through for a goal. The Saints crowd erupted, as we were now 3 points ahead.


Despite no score being made in the last 3 minutes of the game, it was easily the most memorable of the game. The ball kept being pumped forward into the Geelong forward half, but the efforts of Roberton, Montagna, Riewoldt and a mark from Membrey all did their own.


At a ball up, a Saints fan started yelling out that there were only three seconds left. Sure enough, Acres got a grubby kick away and Etihad’s infamous siren blew, and an eruption not heard in years came from the Saints supporters.


Afterwards, I hopped into the first row, hoping to catch some glory. I didn’t get a selfie, nor a signature, but the sweaty yet perfect hands of about 9 Saints players, as we lacked up the glory. It was an upset that we would never look back on, and I think every Saints fan who was there will forever remember the joy that followed the final siren.


ST KILDA 4.2 8.6 12.8 14.9 (93)
GEELONG 1.4 4.6 10.9 13.12 (90)


St Kilda: Minchington 3, Wright 2, Newnes 2, Weller 2, McCartin, Bruce, Membrey, Gresham, Steven
Geelong: McCarthy 3, Hawkins 3, Kersten, Lonergan, Dangerfield, Menzel, Murdoch, Blicavs, Motlop


St. Kilda: Steven, Ross, Gresham, Riewoldt, Roberton, Weller, Newnes, Montagna.
Geelong: Dangerfield, Selwood.


Umpires: Farmer, Findlay, Fleer, Mollison


Official crowd: 28,745 at Etihad Stadium

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