Round 16 – Carlton v St. Kilda: Saints exorcise ‘dem’ Blues





Carlton v St. Kilda

7.50 PM Friday 1 July

Marvel Stadium


June had proved to be a rough month for the Saints. They hadn’t done anything wrong in the bye, but hadn’t picked up any premiership points either. They had been competitive against the Lions and were still in the game but were badly cruelled by injuries with the Lions getting a couple of late ones which flattered them on the scoreboard. Something went wrong against the Bombers and while they weren’t blown away by the Swans, the Saints couldn’t find any wind in their sales when going forward. A new month, a new financial year and rotten weather provided a chance for the Saints to exorcise ‘dem’ Blues against them Blues.


Exorcist Brett Ratten and his crew told the team that the curse of June was no more and despite the atrocious weather there would be some blue sky in July, even if they were playing under the roof at Marvel on a Friday night (the second loneliest night of the week). Whatever strange rites were applied it worked like magic. The Saints were like a team unpossessed. They moved the ball forward more quickly. The most pleasing part of the win was the number of goals they scored from relentless team pressure on the Blues with ‘against the run of play’ goals – 8 out of 14 for the match. This they combined with flurries of goals scored quickly – two in two minutes in the first quarter, three in three minutes in the second, two in half a minute late in the third and two in three minutes late in the last.


The Saints started like a team reborn and dominated most of the first quarter. They kicked the first three goals of the game and should have had more missing four very gettable goals from set shots. The Blues came back late in the quarter and kicked two late goals, one from a Saints turnover (euphemism for a gift). The Saints up by eight points at the end of the first quarter; the scoreboard didn’t do justice – not that justice has anything to do with footy- to the Saints dominance in the first stanza. The Blues got their act together in the second and kicked the next three goals. The Saints were camped in the back half of the ground and things were starting to look dicey. The exorcism finally worked its cleansing magic. The Saints then rattled on four goals in six minutes. Three were from team pressure, possibly the best being Paddy Ryder spoiling an across the backline pass, grabbing the ball and grubbing it through with a kick that managed to combine a leg break with an off break and a googly, to boot, but no flipper for a clutch goal. The other goal was from a strong pack mark by Max King. The Blues got one back. Dougal Howard did something to his knee late in the quarter and hobbled off. The Saints up by five points at the main break.


Dougal Howard took the field after halftime and lasted as long as it took him to put some pressure on his leg. Hopefully, the injury is minor. He was replaced by Tom Highmore who was solid in defence. The third quarter was an arm wrestle with both sides hotly contesting the ball. Like the second quarter most of the play was in the Blues forward half and they had the yips in front of goal. There only goal came from a second Saints turnover in the middle of the ground. The Blues succumbed to Saints’ pressure with a turnover of their own with Professor Higgins on the end of a chain of hand passes for a snap goal. Another Blues turnover resulted in Max King grabbing the ball 35 meters out and snapping a neat goal with his left foot. The ball was bounced in the center and within the twinkle of an eye Superman Jack Steele received a handpass and from 40 meters out kicked another. Saints ahead by two goals at three quarter time.


The last quarter starts and the  Blues get two early goals. Like the second and third quarters they are dominating field possession. Rowan Marshall fell heavily in contesting a mark and was forced to leave the field. It was feared that he had concussion. It looked like Paddy Ryder would need to ruck for the rest of the game. Big Rowan was only winded and resumed playing in the last minutes of the quarter. The Saints got the ball forward for Dan Butler to snap a goal. Tim Membrey kicked his third for the game following a free (the Saints lost the free kick count 21 to 9) at the half way mark of the quarter.


With less than seven minutes to go Hunter Clark and Dan Butler clashed heads in trying to tackle a Blue. Hunter was carried off on a stretcher (he has a broken nose and looked a mess after the game) and Dan was spilling blood all over the place. He apparently wasn’t concussed. Things looked bleak for the Saints. But the exorcism, as all good exorcisms should do, brought to the front of the mind the Club’s famous motto – ‘Fortius Quo Fidelius’ (Strength Through Loyalty) – and the Saints decided that this was a game that they were not going to lose. Despite their depleted ranks they controlled most of the play from this point on. Tim Membrey kicked a miracle goal with less than four minutes to go, when after contesting for a mark in the goal square, the ball landed in his lap, and with his back to the goal kicked it over his shoulder for as beautiful a six pointer as you could ever wish to see. But the best was yet to come. With 30 or so seconds left on the clock the ball was kicked forward high into the air, it bounced off Mason Wood’s head (wait for it, he is a heady player!), it hit the deck, Mason shepherded a Blue away from the action and Max King soccered it through for a percentage boosting goal – his third for the game.


As outstanding wins go this was an outstanding win. The Saints are back in town. One can only hope that there aren’t too many injuries and that the bountiful harvest of July will continue; even if a one-off event doesn’t indicate a trend. Straws in the wind are always beckoning to be clutched.


The Dockers next week. Hope burns eternal.


Go Saints!!


Carlton     2.4   6.7   7.13   10.18 (78)

St. Kilda   3.6   7.6   10.7   14.9 (93)



Carlton:   Motlop 3, McKay 2, Kennedy 2, Curnow, Cottrell, Fisher.

St. Kilda:   Membrey 4, King 3, Higgins 2, Ryder 2, Butler 2, Steele.



Carlton: Walsh, Cripps, Hewett, Saad, Kennedy.

St. Kilda: Sinclair, Ryder, Steele, Membrey, Marshall.


Crowd: 43,194 (including a posse of exorcists and assorted freelance mystics).


Malarkey Votes: Walsh 1 (Carlton), Ryder 2 (St. Kilda), Sinclair 3 (St. Kilda).



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  1. Peter Fuller says

    You’re entitled to be very pleased with this meritorious victory for the Saints. Given the injury toll, it was hard to envisage that you could get out of it. It was a dispiriting night for Blues supporters, as dumb mistakes and wretched kicking for goal allowed your mob an against-the-odds win. Well done your team (minor consolation for me is that Yvette would have enjoyed the performance).
    About the only saving grace for me personally is that because of post-Covid recovery phase, I watched in my lounge room (rather than theirs), so I didn’t have the trek home afterwards.

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