Round 16 – Essendon v St. Kilda: Saints Learn How To Be In Between In Not Bombing Out Against The Bombers

By Braham Dabscheck

Sunday 10 July 2016, 4.40 PM

Etihad Stadium


The Saints are rebuilding. 2016 has been a strange year. When the Saints are good they are very good; and this goes for the heartbreaking losses against the Hawks and Kangaroos. And when they are bad, well they are unbelievably bad. They haven’t learnt how to be in between, in winning a game when they are not at their best. After the terrible time last week in the Queensland sun the Saints took on the Bombers in an away game at the Saints’ home ground at Etihad Stadium. The AFL is not exempt from oxymorons!


This was an odd game. There were mistakes galore by both teams. What saved it as a spectacle was the determination and courage of the players and the closeness of the score throughout the game. First one team would put on a few goals, to be reeled back by their opponents with the cycle repeating itself again and again.


The Bombers started like a house on fire and had the first 10 inside 50s, but had little impact on the scoreboard. The Saints got their act together and ended up winning the quarter 4 goals to 2. Then both sides found themselves alternating between doing something brilliant or something diabolical with a turnover or a gift goal to their opponents. That dreadful feeling was rearing its ugly head that this would be one of those games where the Saints would find a way to lose with the last kick of the game.


The Bombers were able to hold onto their grabs in the forward line and scored easily with some breakaway goals. Special mention should be made of the Bombers’ Anthony Mcdonald-Tipungwuti who ran the Saints’ defence ragged all day. He reminds me of Carlton’s Wayne Harms.


The Saints were most effective on the fast break or a kick to a one on one, especially if the one was Tim Membrey who kicked his third bag of 5 for the season. When kicking the ball long to a pack in the forward line, or anywhere for that matter, the Bombers relied on punching the ball away and their little guys picking up the crumbs and running the ball forward. And for most of the game the Saints had trouble clearing the ball out of the back 50, especially after a point had been scored.


Up by 9 points at the final break the Saints got an early goal following a mark by Tim Membrey in a one on one. For the next 15 minutes the Bombers got on top and scored 3 goals, to lead by 7 points. I was reaching for my heart attack pills. The Saints won the center bounce and Membrey scored from a free kick for holding. Marvelous Maverick Weller then kicked another from a crumb in the goal square. The Saints by 5 points.


Then came the pivotal moments of the game. The Bombers muffed a chance going forward with a series of poor disposals and miraculous efforts by the Saints’ backs. The ball was on the Saints’ half back flank with both sides strongly contesting for possession, with tackles, bumps and smothers; the game at its best. Jack Steven came to the fore, won possession for the ball to be kicked to Tim Membrey. He turned on his left and kicked it in to a vacant forward 50 for Marvelous Maverick to run onto and boot it through, also on his left. Jack Steven kicked another following good work down the ground by Tom Hickey and Josh Bruce. A late one from the Bombers saw the Saints home by 11 points; their first in between win for a long time.


Next week the Demons, with both sides locked on seven wins.


Go Saints!


Essendon:   2.3   6.7   10.10   14.14 (98)

St. Kilda:      4.3   8.5   12.7      17.7 (109)



Essendon:   Fantasia 3, Mcdonald-Tipungwuti 2, Daniher 2, Laverde 2, Parish, Dempsey, Hams, Merrett, Brown.

St. Kilda: Membrey 5, Weller 2, Steven, Ross, Newnes, Riewoldt, Armitage, Gresham, Dunstan, Bruce, Roberton, Minchington.



Essendon: Merrett, Cooney, Goddard, McDonald-Tipungwuti. Fantasia.

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


Umpires: Brown, Findlay, Fleer.


Crowd: 25,204.


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

Leave a Comment