Round 18 – St Kilda v GWS: Saints are finals bound after nine years and my first finals experience



Friday, 18 September 2020
7:40 pm
The Gabba



Finally we have done! We are finals bound and it will be my first experience to witness Saints playing finals in my enjoyable Australian Rules Football life.


“It’s the joy, it’s the relief”, says St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt on the post match Fox Footy Show. Yes, I have waited eight long years to get here. I started following the Saints  seeing them go downhill for the first three seasons and then improvements but didn’t get the job done under Alan Richardson.


Earlier this week, injured players Jade Gresham and Dan Hannerbery rejoined the main group as well as Jarryd Roughead who had gone back to Victoria for his newborn baby.


It’s a good sign because Hannerbery’s great ball use is much valued, Gresh’s good mobility brings us more attacking footy and Roughead’s mentoring helps the young side improve on-field performances.


On Tuesday morning, I go on a 59-kilomere bike ride – leave home at 7:05 towards Kuzuha Station on the Keihan Railway, and then to Arashiyama in Kyoto and lastly back to home. I have breaks at Kuzuha and Arashiyama as well as brief stops in between. The bike journey takes three and half hours in total, excluding breaks.


It is a good exercise and takes my mind off as well as brings me some new views of scenery that I would not see on train trips while travelling with the Keihan Railway. I am not sure if my efforts are delivered to my boys and it’s just something positive to tell you.


At a Saints training during the week, Ratts asks Seb Ross and Jack Billings if they have played finals before or not. Obviously the answer is no and from how they respond, they are hungry for the final footy.


Even though I have predicted the Saints to win the last home and away game, I am nervous about the game and get two cans of Japanese cocktails on Friday evening.


Saints demonstrate quick attacking footy in the first minute. Steele is awarded a free kick under a holding man. His accurate kick hits the right target of Membrey. His set shot is done beautifully and St Kilda scores the first goal of the match.


But in the next few minutes, Ross takes too long to act and kicks long; however it allows the Giants a turn over. The young Giants show good speed and Riccardi takes a mark inside 50. But this good opportunity ends up only the minor score.


Battle hits the target after being awarded a free kick. King takes a mark, but misses a good opportunity.


The first quarter is more like how we played in the previous few weeks. Saints can’t break the opponents’ back line and opponents put much pressures on us.


St Kilda’s disorganised defence said by the AFLW player and CH 7 commentator Daisy Pierce costs a goal kicked by Lloyd at 9:44.


Geary not being able to hit the target, Hill’s slow action and Membrey inability to take a mark slow down the important game and frustrate me. But Battle wins a contested possession 50 metres out, kicks a goal and is impressive.


Then Taranto wins a contested mark against our skipper but his set shot hits the post. GWS’ inaccurate kicks save us.


Lonie takes a good mark but gets injured. A transferred free kick is given to Hill and he kicks a goal beautifully.


St Kilda lead by 10 points at the first break, but are behind in possessions, so it’s hard for me to feel relaxed.


Forward 50’s contested possessions – St Kilda: 2, GWS: 11
Contested possessions – St Kilda : 21, GWS: 30
Uncontested possessions – St Kilda: 25, GWS: 48


At the first minute of the second quarter, King takes a mark and has a good opportunity. His set shot is hit out by Kelly. It’s bad luck. Then Kelly’s kick is pushed outside the boundary line and Long kicks towards the hot spot. Ross handpasses quickly and Steele quickly finds the spot to kick. His goal is magnificent.


GWS play hard with changing the direction at their back line. Cameron has an opportunity directly in front but only is awarded a minor score.


Riccardi and Greene kick GWS’ goals two in a row. Giants’ kicking efficiency in half forward increases from 25 percent in the first quarter to 80 percent in the second term. Then I get nervous and my body gets tight.


And then Saints start firing up. A contested possession (hit out inside 50) between Marshall and Idul is picked by Butler. The small forward does the rest kicking a goal.


Shaw scores a behind later and we go on the main break with a nine-point lead.


After the long break, GWS gain a clearance and are about to score a goal, but the defenders chase footy hard and Coffield gains a turnover. It is passed to Carlisle and then Membrey hits out to the boundary line. Throw in is hit out and Sinclair kicks and hits the target. Marshall marks but drops footy, however a high tackle by Idul is paid. The multiposition forward/ruckman who plays his 50th game scores a goal.


Another quick entry to forward 50 is made, but King only scores a behind. Coming back from an injury, midfielder Hannerbery also misses.


Saints dominate footy as time in half forward at 86 percent in the third quarter as of 6:20, but the Giants fight hard back awarding two minor scores. On the other hand, the visitor win uncontested possessions at 32 to 19.


Despite the numbers of possessions, Saints play harder to stop GWS in our defence line. Howard, Coffield and Wilkie are hard nuts in the back.


Unlikely to the previous weeks, St Kilda’s next two goals (Lonie and Billings) are scored after winning contested possessions in the hot spot. Winning contests at the forward pocket and accurate kicks are what St Kilda demonstrate on Friday night as well as overcome fewer numbers in possessions.


The last quarter is another Saints term. King takes a high mark (paid due to a high tackle) and scores his 20th goal in the 2020 season.


Lonie is awarded a free kick with a holding ball. And advantage is paid and Ryder finishes up his top job.


Other winning contests in the hot spot bring Saints two more goals. The first one is picked up by Lonie, and he runs into the spot and kicks a goal. Following Steele’s opportunity is created by a handball in a packed hot spot and the best midfielder rolls the ball towards the goal posts.


Saints do the jobs when we get opportunities in the goal square and win contested marks and possessions. Our back line stop goal opportunities for the GWS.


Our attacking footy and quiet Giants widen margins much in the last half and St Kilda win by 52 points at the end of the day. Saints go marching in towards the final series!


Melbourne win over Essendon on Saturday, the Western Bulldogs beat Fremantle on Sunday and Collingwood are defeated on Monday. We finish the home and away season at the sixth and face the Western Bulldogs on Saturday 3 October at Gabba.


It is still a week away to the exciting final footy and I cannot wait watching the first Saints final match live. I will cheer my boys loud and really hope we are beating my soft spot.


Go the mighty Saints!!


ST KILDA 3.3 5.5 8.9 12.10 (82)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.5 3.8 3.10 3.12 (30)


St Kilda: Lonie 2, Steele 2, Membrey, Battle, Hill, Butler, Marshall, Billings, King, Ryder
Greater Western Sydney: Lloyd, Riccardi, Greene


St Kilda: Steele, Marshall, Clark, Hannebery, Butler, Hill, Billings
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Whitfield, Lloyd, Hopper, Perryman


3. Marshall (STK); 2. Steele (STK); 1. Coniglio (GWS)



To return to the  home page 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.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.

Leave a Comment