Round 2 – St Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Saints leading through traffic accurately and demonstrate improvement

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs
6:05 pm, Sunday June 14
Marvel Stadium






On March 22, St Kilda led well and were about to win, but couldn’t stop North kicking last minute goals and lost. Then coronavirus situation forced the AFL to shut down and players had to train independently and boys came back to the club on May 25. St Kilda had been predicted to improve this season and the shocking loss at Round 1 and the unexpected 12 week break brought a blank on predictions. When I watched the season re-opening game on Thursday night, more unclearness was added into predictions. What odds of the game that favoured the Bulldogs and where was the positive feedback for the Saints?



St Kilda started the game dominating the ball – Gresham took possession by foot and kicked and to the boys in  traffic. Bontempelli and Daniel tried hard to bring the ball along but Butler was awarded a free kick. It was a good angle but his shot hit the post.



Saints became dominant again after short time. Billings took a mark and kicked long along the boundary line. A two on two contest was held at the hot spot and Max King collected the flying ball and slid into the post. King scored the first goal of the match.



Then the Bulldogs demonstrated their sexy footy with handballs that they have been doing since Luke Beveridge took over the coaching job. Despite St Kilda’s big defender Carlisle blocking the Dogs attack, Wallis was awarded a free kick and scored a goal from 20 metres out. Then the Bulldogs turned the ball over and made good decisions with handball to end up with Macrae scoring another goal.



St Kilda’s error in handballing cost a turnover and the first game player Vandermeer was awarded a free kick, but he missed an opportunity. Two more behinds were scored by the Doggies.



Finally Saints found the traffic in the corridor with kicks, Billings took a mark from Steele’s kick. JB scored a goal from 48 metres out that narrowed the margin to two.



However the Bulldogs regained the ball after the bounce and St Kilda hardly stopped Bontempelli. That’s the argument point that Nick Dal Santo presented on Fox Footy’s Speed Round when it aired on Wednesday. Then the good goal kicker Sam Lloyd had an opportunity at last but missed.



Once again Saints worked hard. Their new recruits Jones and Hill got hard ball gets and Jones and Steele laid tackles with effort. Finally Carlisle kicked low and long towards the forward pocket and Lonie took a mark. He took a set shot at 41 metres out putting the Saints in front at 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.



After the first break, the Saints accelerated with speed and pace. Carlisle laid a good tackle and was awarded a free kick. A Bulldogs player crossed Clark’s mark afterwards and he was awarded a 50-metre penalty. Clark’s kick was delivered to a contest at the Saints’ goal square and the ball was dropped. Butler picked it up and seemed to score a goal, but Billings took a mark on the goal line. The improved and talented young midfielder/forward shot an easy goal.



Then Clark and Gresham kicked accordingly in the back to midfield and the ball was contested by Suckling and Billings. JB won the contest and kicked towards Hind. Hind’s mark was crossed and the second 50-metres penalty was awarded. Hind ended up kicking a goal. The Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge had a headache seeing his players giving away fifty-metre penalties.



Wilkie’s matured talents blossomed again at the back and Billings put on much pressure; however the Bulldogs found a way and Vandermeer got a good opportunity and kicked his first AFL goal.



The Saints hit out well, found a way through the traffic, and Steele took a high mark and answered quickly. Then fast ball movement was made and Hill took a mark inside 50. The former Hawk and Docker seemed to finish his job. But he seemed to read non verbal communication made by Bulldogs so instead handpassed to Butler who had kicked to him. The former Tiger scored. Bevo was confused in the coaches box.



At half time, Saints led by 23 points.



A collision between Howard and English and a Hill holding the ball free kicks to the Bulldogs made sure the first goal of the third quarter was kicked by the away side. Then Billings took a diving mark at 42 metres out  and reversed the result with a goal of his own.



Billings’ hard work ended up with him taking a mark. It didn’t bring his Saints six points but he handpassed on and further kicks rewarded the Saints with Bulter scoring an easy goal. Then good handpasses found an exit into open space and it was Jones’ turn to score a goal. His great efforts throughout the night were also rewarded.



The Dogs bounced back for a while and even ex-Saint Bruce had an opportunity but missed. Then one more behind and Williams’s great banana kick from 45 metres out finishing up a goal followed.



St Kilda’s mature and talented ruckman Rowan Marshall was leading up well in the hot spot and scored a goal. Beforehand, Ross and Jones had kicked brilliantly. Taking on a big contest, Wilkie challenged Bont and Clark’s exit was impressive. Then Bulter played hard to collect the footy and Hannerbery scored another goal. The final break went with Saints’ 40-point lead and Beveridge’s headache continued.



Coast to coast ball use at the beginning of the last quarter was turned over by the Dogs with Lin Jong taking an intercept mark. Jack Billings and Ben Long held balls when being tackled. The latter gave Aaron Naughton (one of best mates of the Bali Geckos) a free kick and he scored a goal.



The Saints then answered with good handpasses around the 50 metre arc. Bulter’s kick was marked by Tim Membrey 24 metres out. The Saints’ key forward kicked his first goal of the night. Dunkley scored a quick answer.



Afterwards Clark was impressive in the back pocket, taking intercept marks and Wilkie demonstrated his matured skills as well. Having been awarded a third 50-metre penalty and Marshall contesting with efforts didn’t bring us any points at that stage, unfortunately.



St Kilda’s great and strong on-field performances were reflected by Nick Riewoldt’s comments on the live coverage –  recruits Clark, Coffield and King and Billings played good games.



The final score was created by Max King’s second goal. Steele targeted King and the young talented forward took a mark inside 50. Then he celebrated his first AFL win, following his twin’s brother’s first win the previous night.



Saints face Collingwood on Saturday at MCG as an away game. St Kilda are challenging a strong side in Round 3, but their attacking footy can break their pressure as shown by Sunday night’s footy. Meanwhile the Bulldogs host a game on Friday against GWS. Despite the loss to North on Sunday afternoon, Giants showed fast footy and put much pressure on the opponents, therefore Doggies have a lot of homework to do.





Thanks to no work (apart from freelance blog writing jobs), wifi at home (installed for the freelance work) and cancelled Dingoes training (due to rain), I watched in full or part all games in Round 2 (I switched from the showdown to the Gold Coast game on Saturday night because I couldn’t stand Port Adelaide leading). Even though I was tired on Saturday afternoon before the Lions-Dockers match, I managed.



As my game was the last one at the round, I put all of my energy into the Saints-Bulldogs match. Such attitude could be like having a separate stomach for desserts, but the St Kilda game is the main dish for me.



I have never relaxed while watching the St Kilda game and it applied even with a 40-point lead at the last quarter. Instead I wanted Saints to widen the margin so that my club could go up on the ladder.



At the end of the day, St Kilda are sitting at the sixth on the ladder. I am happy with the result and efforts my boys made during the game. Moving through traffic well and kicking accurately satisfies me very much. I really hope it is not just one time but my boys continue performing.



It was great watching the game at home for the first time and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t need to worry about others at a cafe that I have done times before. But the next match will be our away game and I will be watching. Please bring home four premiership points next week too! Together we rise.



Go the mighty Saints!





ST KILDA                                3.1    7.3    12.4    14.4 (88)
WESTERN BULLDOGS      2.4    3.4    5.6     7.7 (49)


St Kilda: Billings 3, Butler 2, King 2, Lonie, Hind, Steele, Jones, Marshall, Hannebery, Membrey
Western Bulldogs: Wallis, Macrae, Vandermeer, Richards, Williams, Naughton, Dunkley


St Kilda: Billings, Butler, Jones, Ross, Steele, Hannebery
Western Bulldogs: Dunkley, Smith, Lipinski, Macrae


3. Billings (STK); 2. Jones (STK); 1. Macrae (WBD)




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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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.

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