Round 18 – St. Kilda v GWS: Saints take a Giant step into the finals

 

 

By Braham Dabscheck

 

St. Kilda v Greater Western Sydney

7.50 PM Friday 18 September

The Gabba

 

Win this one and the Saints would make the eight; lose, and sweat on the results of other games. Well, the Saints won, and as it turned out easily – by more than 50 points, keeping the Giants to four points in the second half. In recent weeks the Saints had lost three close ones where they went off the boil. Zak Jones was unavailable due to hamstring soreness and was replaced by Dan Hannebery, who hadn’t played since Round 5. Down a gun midfielder, the Saints’ brains trust decided to move Hunter Clark from the back half, which saw the recall of Jake Carlisle.

 

Tension built as the first bounce approached. It was initially eased with Tim Membrey marking strongly and kicking truly within the first minute of play. The Giants then dominated proceedings and controlled most of the play in the first stanza. St Kilda’s switching of the play looked threatening; except in their forward 50 where they wasted opportunities – when they had them they couldn’t kick straight. After a contest outside the forward 50, Josh Battle gathered the ball and swerved around on his right and booted it through for a crucial goal. Jack Lonie was left by his lonesome (a trick he has apparently been schooled in by Jade Gresham) lying on the ground recovering from a tackle, and managed to push himself forward and mark the ball from an errant kick. He had trouble standing and as he hobbled from the ground Brad Hill took over kicking duties and converted from a tight angle. Even though the Giants had 30 more possessions and were clearly ahead on most match statistics the Saints were ahead by 10 points at the first break. The Saints’ position looked precarious; especially if the Giants could convert their dominance on the scoreboard.

 

The second quarter was more even with the Saints squaring the ledger on key match statistics. Jack Steele, following a quick handpass from Seb Ross, kicked one around the corner on his right early in the quarter. The play seesawed from one end of the ground to the other. The Giants kicked two in over a minute halfway through the quarter to be only a few points behind. Dan Butler settled the nerves when he gathered the ball at left half forward and used his pace to run around and kick a class goal on his right. At the main break the Saints were up by 9 points.

 

The second half started and the Saints received a lucky break. From a throw-in Jack Sinclair grabbed the ball, kicked it forward on his left with the ball falling as it worked its way to Rowan Marshall. The big man fell forward and grabbed the ball low to the ground and was paid the mark. Replays showed that he had dropped it on the ground, before regathering it. He kicked truly. The Saints then steadily got on top and countered whatever the Giants tried to do. Jack Lonie and Jack Billings both kicked crumbing goals from the goal square as the Saints steadily increased their lead. The highlight of the quarter was at the other end when Dougal Howard broke another short distance world record when he sprinted from several metres behind a Giant forward and punched the ball across the goal line in saving a certain goal. He decided to do a Jack Lonie and stayed lying on the ground. The Saints were up by 29 points at the last change.

 

For the fourth time in the game the Saints kicked a goal in the first minute or two of the quarter. This is a habit we Saint fans could get used to. The ball was kicked forward and a Giant, with his back to the play, pushed Max King in the chest and conceded a silly free kick. Big Max kicked it through and turned around with a big grin on his face. The rest was all the Saints. Paddy Ryder soccerred one off the ground after a Jack Lonie tackle had earned a free. Lonie crumbed another one followed by a similar effort by Jack Steele, who grubbed it through the big sticks and circled one arm and then both together in a victory salute as he confirmed that the Saints would make the eight for the first time since 2011. His was another best on the ground performance and he is more than a good chance for the Brownlow. You heard it here first.

 

This was an all round team performance. It is not that often that you can keep a side to only three goals. Everyone did something when it was needed. The finals are in a couple of weeks; it is not clear who we play yet. But happiness is!

 

Go Saints!

 

 

St. Kilda     3.3   5.5   8.9   12.10 (82)

Greater Western Sydney   1.5   3.8   3.10   3.12 (30)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Lonie 2, Steele 2, Membrey, Battle, Hill, Butler, Marshall, Billings, King, Ryder.

Greater Western Sydney: Lloyd, Riccardi, Toby Greene.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Steele, Marshall, Clark, Ross, Hill.

Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield, Coniglio, Taranto, Perryman, Lloyd.

 

Crowd: Boisterous in a restrained Saintly way expressing happiness.

 

Our Votes: Steele 3 (St. Kilda), Marshall 2 (St. Kilda), Clark 1 (St. Kilda)

 

 

To read more from Braham click HERE 

 

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Comments

  1. Great performance by the Saints, Braham.
    Being an “AFL neutral” since 1996, I’d love it if St Kilda could produce something like the Western Bulldogs did in 2016.

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