Round 18 – St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints end a Dog of a year with a win over the Dogs

By Braham Dabscheck
4.40 PM Sunday 21 July
Marvel Stadium

 

A tumultuous week for the Saints finished with a win against the Dogs. Throughout the season the Saints have struggled to kick more than ten goals a game. Even when competitive the Saints have found themselves being blown away by a burst of fine footy by opposition teams; if not being overwhelmed in the first quarter as recently against the Lions. After four losses in a row Alan Richardson tended his resignation as coach. He had done his best and felt the Saints needed someone else at the helm. Vale Richo, thank you and all the best for the future. Brett Ratten, a former Carlton coach and assistant to Alan Richardson was appointed caretaker coach for the rest of the year. The Saints are the third team to switch coaches mid season. And like both the Kangaroos and Blues before them the switch worked. The Saints put in a comprehensive team performance to overwhelm the Dogs. They had even kicked eleven goals by half time; a score they rarely managed to perform in a full game throughout the season.

 

The game stared badly for the Saints conceding a goal in the first minute of play. Oh no, here we go again. Things suddenly changed for the better; the Saints flicked a magic switch. Jack Billings kicked a neat goal running into the forward 50 to settle the nerves. Then the Saints kicked five in 5 minutes. The pick of the lot was the first during this period, a left foot banana on the boundary line by Jack Lonie. It’s brilliance seemed to clear the cobwebs and he kicked another two in the quarter and could have had a fourth with a left foot snap. As a small forward he was doing a Milney and set up the win, being best man on the ground. He was sorely missed when injured. Goals seemed to come easily with the Saints being in front by 35 points at the first break.

 

Things got better in the second quarter. The Dogs came back and traded goals. The Saints kicked the last three of the quarter, again in a five minute spell. Hunter Clark dominated the quarter and kicked his second for the day from a snap. First gamer Doulton Langlands kicked one from a snap and was nearly crushed to death by teammates rushing in to congratulate him. Happy days had returned. It was obvious that the Saints weren’t going to lose this one; up by 43 points at half time. Everyone was contributing and doing something when it needed to be done.

 

The Dogs came back in the third quarter. They did most of their damage in another five minute burst late in the quarter kicking three goals. They outscored the Saints 6 goals to 2 reducing the margin at three quarter time to 22 points. The Saints dominated the first half of the last quarter. The ball was camped in the forward 50 and Jack Lonie added his fourth for the game and Josh Bruce received a free after fine work by Nathan Brown on the wing. The Dogs came back again with four goals which in turn were countered by goals from Jack Billings and Tim Membrey, both from marks close to goal. It was Jack’s second for the day and Tim kicked four, one in each quarter.

 

The major problem which has confronted the Saints all season is their inability to kick goals. Even when they have dominated possession they have failed to convert this dominance to scoreboard pressure. This changed against the Dogs. The Saints scored 31 times from 46 forward 50 entries. The highlight was the second quarter kicking 5.1 from seven forward entries. Despite injuries the backline has held up well, with Callum Wilkie, Ben Paton and Nick Coffield and the injured Josh Battle all being finds. More pleasing is the number of young or new players who turned out for the Saints. Six of the team had played less than 20 games and/or were first year players – Callum Wilkie 17 games; Matt Parker 16; Nick Coffield 15; Ben Paton 13; Nick Hind 6 and first gamer Doulton Langlands. May we Sainters be excused for thinking that the portents for the future look promising? Hopefully, the Saints’ dog of a year has come to an end! Demons next week; hope springs eternal!!

 

St Kilda:   6.5   11.6   13.9   17.14 (116)

Western Bulldogs: 1.0   4.5   10.5    14.5 (89)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Lonie 4, Membrey 4, Billings 2, Clark 2, Parker, Gresham, Langlands, Newnes, Bruce.

Western Bulldogs: Dale 5, Dickson 4, Lloyd 2, English, Schache, R. Smith.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Lonie, Clark, Marshall, Billings, Gresham.

Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Dunkley, Dale, Dickson, English.

 

Umpires: Heffernan, Mollison, Ryan.

Official Crowd: 21,705.

 

Our Votes (Malarkey Medal): Lonie 3 (St. Kilda); Clark 2 (St. Kilda); Marshall 1 (St. Kilda).

 

 

For more writing from Braham, click here.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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