Round 21 – St. Kilda v Geelong: Chicago Cub Helps Saints Draw Cats’ Claws

by Braham Dabscheck
7.20 PM Saturday 22 August
Etihad Stadium



This was an enthralling game on a number of levels. First of all it resulted in a draw, the second of the season, excluding the cancellation of the Crows – Cats game following the death of the Crows’ coach Phil Walsh. It is in the nature of a draw and most encounters decided by the odd point or two, that either side could have won. A missed shot for goal, a clanger, an act of heroism and an umpire’s decision that not even Solomon could understand can change the result of the game one way or the other. This was a high tempo game with both teams doing their utmost in the quest for victory.


Second, the game was also significant in that the Saints fielded the first American born and raised player to play in the A/VFL in the person of Jason Holmes. He is a 203 cm ruckman who hails from Chicago. He has a basketball background and while there is no evidence to support the following statement I am 100 per cent sure that he follows the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball. I mean who would support the White Sox (they can’t even spell!)? Holmes had an impressive first game, dominating hitouts and having a major presence around packs. He has a high leap and quickly impressed Saints fans with his endeavor. It looks like the Saints have found another useful player; and a big man to boot (though his kicking looks a little clumsy).


Third, the game had a consistent rhythm. The Saints kicked the first goal of every quarter and the Cats kicked the last. The only minor qualification to this sequence was Shane Savage snapping a point for the draw with 14 seconds left on the clock.


The Saints put in a better game than they have in recent weeks. They were able to convert forward pressure into goals. They also scored from a number of long range shots; something they haven’t been able to do for most of the season. Sam Gilbert had his best game for the season, capped off by two long range goals; something which he is not noted for (he has only kicked 31 in 155 games). For most of the game Nick Riewoldt played on the wing, with big man forward responsibilities being shared between Josh Bruce, Tom Hickey and Tim Membrey. Between them they kicked six goals. Small forward Darren Michington started like a house on fire with two early goals. He disappeared for a period and then took a clever mark and converted another long bomb early in the last quarter.


In 2014 the Saints were blown away in most games. The major difference this year is that the Saints are able to maintain pressure on opponents for long periods, but experience problems converting this onto the scoreboard. Their skill levels have not yet matched their competitiveness on the field. In this game, the Saints scored most of their goals from pressure, whereas the Cats scored mainly from turnovers. The Cats were more skilled and assured going forward and scored easier goals. This is an area which the Saints will hopefully improve on next year as their young list acquires more experience and assuredness.


Both sides usually come away from a draw with feelings of disappointment. This was a draw which was a ‘win’ for the Saints in that they displayed that they could take it up to and compete with a talented opponent; plus their was the encouraging performance shown by the Saints’ Chicago Cub. Jason Holmes is the sixth first year player that the Saints have unearthed this year who look like real prospects for the future; joining Paddy McCartin, Hugh Goddard, Daniel McKenzie, Jack Lonie and Jack Sinclair. This was a draw which was a ‘loss’ for the Cats who needed to win to maintain their chances of finishing in the top eight. For Saints fans, it doesn’t make up for 2009, but it is still nice to exact some belated revenge.



St. Kilda    5.4   8.7   11.9   14.13 (97)

Geelong    5.1    9.2    13.4   15.7 (97)



St. Kilda: Michington 3, Bruce 3, Hickey 2, Gilbert 2, Membrey, Savage, Riewoldt, Newnes.

Geelong: Johnson 4, Hawkins 3, Vardy 2, Mackie, Taylor, Gregson, Guthrie, Motlop, Cockatoo.



St. Kilda: Gilbert, Steven, Riewoldt, Savage, Hickey.

Geelong: Motlop, Johnson, Guthrie, Enright, Taylor.


Umpires: Farmer, Mollison, Wallace.


Crowd: 25,245 at the Docklands.


Our Votes: Motlop 3 (Geel). Gilbert 2 (St.K), Johnson 1 (Geel).



  1. Nice one Braham. So we have swapped Jason Holmes for Jarrod Hayne. OK I know Ben Graham and others have played in the NFL but I am really surprised if Holmes is the first player born and raised in the USA to play at VFL/AFL level in Australia. But I bow to those who know these things. I just hope Hayne gets over the line and into the 49ers roster. Given the differences between the games and the fierce competition for spots over there and the imbalance in populations, it will be a tremendous feat if he does.

    Talking about populations but on a completely different matter. I’ve always argued that soccer rose when inward migration to this country was high. But I had never thought seriously about the obverse of this though it has been staring me in the face. In the 1850s, 313000 migrants arrived in Victoria (or the Port Phillip District). For the next twenty years the total net inward migration was a mere 28422. So for two decades nascent Melbourne/Victorian rules had virtually no foreigners with their funny games to upset the locals as they cobbled together ‘a code of their own’. This was a huge free kick for footy which got itself firmly established and imperialised any local dissidents out of existence. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the matter, mon vieux.

  2. The Saints are building a nice list. I like your coach. This was a terrible result for Geelong, but it really only brought forward the inevitable.

  3. I’m still getting over it.

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