Round 2 – St. Kilda v Western Bulldogs: Here’s To You Roo

If there was ever a movie quote I could use to sum up how I feel about St. Kilda’s captain Nick Riewoldt, It would be this line from the movie Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy:

“From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But goddammit, do I respect you”

That quote was from the sworn rival of Mr. Burgundy, Wes Mantooth, who came up with that line at the back-end of the movie. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it, because I’m not spoiling it here.


The Dogs and Saints have somewhat of a rivalry that I can date back to over a decade ago. I remember watching one game where they had a huge brawl at quarter time, and that was the year the Bulldogs finished bottom of the ladder, I have a feeling that was when the rivalry began. I was there when Daniel Giansiracusa laid a huge bump of Justin Koschitzke that rendered him unconscious, sparking a lot of fireworks in the process. There was of course the short period of time not so long ago, when both the Saints and the Dogs were two of the best sides of the competition to not win a premiership. The Saints made the Grand Final twice in 2009 and ’10. Beating us in the preliminary final both years. Another chapter in the rivalry was written last year when the Dogs gave up a 55-point lead to lose by seven to the Saints, they then exacted revenge later on in the year in a low-scoring affair, winning by a goal.


As a guy residing in Sandringham where every second person you meet is a St.Kilda supporter, I never really liked them, but those two preliminary finals has made me flat out hate them, and as good a career as Nick Riewoldt has had, I don’t think I can ever forgive him for staging that free kick at the start of the second half of the ’09 Prelim. That virtually cost us not just a game, but a chance of witnessing my side play in the Grand Final for the first time. I watched that replay the other night and it simply just made my blood boil.


I really wanted to go to this game, to see my Dogs play and hopefully get the win against those Saints in their champion’s milestone match. Of course I would’ve loved to have given him some lip in the process. The last time these two met. I went to the game and some guy a couple of seats next to me kept calling him ‘Scuba Steve’ whenever he got close to the ball. It made me laugh and relieved that I wasn’t the only guy that thought his actions in ’09 were despicable.


Unfortunately for me though work commitments got in the way, although fortunately for me though I got home from work and only a part of the first quarter had been played, and not much was missed. I grabbed an ice pack for my left knee – having played a game of footy earlier in the day – and took my place on the couch with my brother Leigh. Tom Liberatore got the first major of the night and it looked like we were going to be in for another big first quarter with all the play that the Dogs had. Unfortunately wasteful shots on goal were the theme of Rooey’s big night. ‘The Package’ and Matty Suckling among others couldn’t put it through the big sticks, until it took a Jack Newnes goal to get them up and running again. Toby ‘T-Mac’ McLean and ‘JJ’ (Jason Johannisen) kicked the final two goals of the quarter to find ourselves 17 points up at the first change. We really should’ve been up by more.


It was goal for goal early in the second, with Mitch Wallis coolly slotting one home, followed by young Jack Lonie for the Saints – One of the Saints I actually don’t mind watching – Lachie Hunter made it goal number five for the Dogs, before Josh ‘Get A Haircut Mate’ Bruce got his first and only goal of the night. Leigh and I discussed the idea of giving Brucey a girls name until he finally decides to chop that horrid man-bun off. Leigh opted to with the name ‘Lana’, named after one of his favourite divas in the WWE, I had a good chuckle at that.


Liam Picken nearly outdid Easton Wood in the Mark of the Year Stakes with a leap that could’ve challenged that of the Gary Moorcroft Specky of 2001. I would’ve lept up out of that couch if he’d taken that, some say he almost touched the roof of Etihad with that leap. JJ’s intercept and run down the wing to set up Jakey Stringer for his first was the play of the night for me. He read second-gamer Jade Gresham’s handpass like a book on the defensive 50, and his run on the wing showcased his elite pace and the composure to deliver to ‘The Package’ afterwards was first-class.


Nick Riewoldt was starting to get himself involved in the game, but missed a complete sitter and then missed another one shortly thereafter, to which my brother and I simply laughed and got stuck into him from the lounge room. Oh how I wish I was there in person. Rooey’s mate, Brucey couldn’t add anymore goals to his tally which was fine by us. It was half time and the Dogs extended the lead to 25 points.


I got off the couch and limped to the kitchen to grab a sausage on a roll just in time for the second half and I hoped the Dogs would continue on their fine second half in terms of accurate kicking, but that wasn’t to be. Nick Riewoldt finally kicked his first goal of the night and the Dogs responded by doing like they did in the first, continually wasting shots on goal.


Luke Dahlhaus missed one he should’ve gotten by dribbling one through instead of a drop punt, he didn’t have one of his best nights. Suckers worked hard to get into a good spot and he decided to dribble-kick it for a minor score. This was getting frustrating, Jake Stringer missed another shot and I almost couldn’t take anymore this disgraceful performance in front of the sticks.


“Fuck off Package” I mumble to myself, he hasn’t been at his best tonight, but that wasn’t all his fault. He was matched up on All-Australian defender Sean Dempster for most of the night, and to his credit Dempster did a very good job on him. Thankfully Tommy Boyd converted both his opportunities that quarter, and Marcus Adams – I can’t think of anyone having a greater opening fortnight to an AFL career than this man – He was amazing last week and was even better this week. The Dogs proceeded to kick away in the last quarter, getting up by as much as 63 points before Rooey again put one through the big sticks for the final goal of the game, quite fitting if you ask me. He’s been a prolific goal-kicker for years.


The Dogs have won their second game of the season by another big margin. It could easily have been more, but I’m quite content with a 57-point win over the arch-nemesis. Riewoldt got a guard of honour as well as a chairing off the Etihad Stadium turf post-game, and at this moment, I took some time to sweep my hatred of the Saints and Nick Riewoldt aside and raised my empty glass towards the TV towards a loyal servant of the St. Kilda Football Club and a hero to many of their supporters. Here’s to you Nick Riewoldt, No matter how much I may heckle and despise you, you’ll always have a lot of respect deep down from me.


Western Bulldogs     3.6    7.6    9.13    13.15.93
St. Kilda                        1.1    3.5     4.5       5.6.36


Western Bulldogs: T. Boyd 3, Stringer 2, Picken 2, Liberatore, McLean, Johannisen, Wallis, Hunter, Daniel
St. Kilda: Riewoldt 2, Newnes, Lonie, Bruce


Western Bulldogs: Hunter, Murphy, Johannisen, Adams, Picken, Liberatore, Macrae
St. Kilda: Montagna, Riewoldt, Dempster, Newnes, Steven, Armitage


Umpires: Hosking, Hay, McInerney

Crowd 37,353 at Etihad Stadium

Votes: 3: Hunter (Western Bulldogs) 2: Johannisen (Western Bulldogs) 1: Adams (Western Bulldogs)

About Alex Docherty

Alex is a diehard footy nut. He loves his Western Bulldogs and loves writing about them every week as much he loves running out and playing footy himself.

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