Round 16 – St.Kilda v Richmond: Maddie’s Match, Two Games of Two Halves

by Braham Dabscheck

4.40 PM Sunday 19 July

Etihad Stadium

 

Maddie Riewoldt, the sister of St. Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt and the cousin of Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt died of a rare bone marrow disease earlier this year. She had a vision of funding research into this condition to provide help for fellow sufferers. The two clubs decided to dedicate this match to help kick start this vision: Maddie’s Match.

Prior to the first bounce a video appeared where Nick and Jack spoke of Maddie’s plight and the need to raise funds to help eradicate this condition. Their emotion was raw, and brought more than a tear or two to both my eyes; as it does now as I type these words. The cousins come together at the center of the ground prior to the start of the game and embraced for the traditional coin toss. After the game all of the Tigers embraced, shook hands or said a kind word to Nick, as did the Saints with Jack. A special moment; with something equivalent having occurred in Adelaide a couple of hours earlier.

The Tigers, who are on a roll outclassed, or maybe outlasted the Saints. The Saints played well in the first quarter but wasted opportunities up front. They should have been a couple of goals up at the first quarter break, rather than a couple of measly points. Things then fell apart in the next two quarters. Passing to team mates went haywire with at least three goals gifted to the Tigers from misdirected kicks from players not under pressure. The Tigers then started to kick lucky goals. In these two middle quarters, the Saints were outscored 11 goals to 2 and were down by 52 points at three quarter time. It looked like a royal thumping was in the offing.

Things changed dramatically in the last quarter. The Saints were more adventurous going forward, played on and went down the corridor, rather than playing ring around the rosie which had played into the Tigers’ hands earlier in the game. Nick Riewoldt snapped an early goal on the left foot which brought the crowd to life. Shane Savage picked up a loose ball to kick another, followed by one from a Joey Montagna mark drifting into the forward line. Full forward, Paddy McCartin, in his third game kicked his first AFL goal from a mark following a pass from down the field. Josh Bruce then grabbed another from a free.

The best was yet to come. Maverick Weller seems to have turned his career around from a tagger to a potent force on the forward line. He had kicked 2 of the Saints 4 goals up until three quarter time. The ball was pushed forward near the space between half back and the center line. Maverick the magician somehow or other ended up with the ball in his hands and sprinted forward, bounced the ball twice and then kicked a long goal from outside the 50. The goal of the game. But this was not enough. The Tigers, who were held goalless in the last quarter, killed the clock and held on for a 16 point win.

While Paddy McCartin only had a few possessions he shows signs of being a talent. Hugh Goddard debuted in the back line and put in a handy game. Maverick Weller had his best game for the Saints. In the final analysis the Saints lost because of their poor disposal, and lack of adventure in the middle two quarters of the game. It was only in the last quarter that they managed to replicate the heady heights of the victory over the Bombers in what seems like two long weeks ago.

One of the apparent functions of sport is to distract those of us who follow it from the problems of life. We have seen this equation threatened by events associated with those involved in the production of football this year. The tragic deaths of Maddie Riewoldt and the #FightLikeMaddie campaign and of Phil Walsh have forced us to recognise that players (and coaches and other footy folk), other than for the fact that they are players, are no different from the rest of us; fragile beings attempting to navigate our way through the fog of life.

 

St. Kilda        2.5   3.8   4.10   10.13 (73)

Richmond    2.3   8.6   13.8   13.11 (89)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Weller 3, Dunstan, Armitage, Riewoldt, Savage, Montagna, McCartin, Bruce.

Richmond: Deledio 3, Lennon 3, Riewoldt 2, Vlaustuin, Newman, Maric, Lambert, Grigg.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Weller, Steven, Armitage, Montagna, Savage.

Richmond: Deledio, Martin, Grigg, Ellis, Riewoldt.

 

Umpires: Findlay, Mollison, O’Gorman.

Crowd: 45,722.

 

Our Votes: Deledio 3 (Rich), Martin 2 (Rich), Weller 1 (St K).

 

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