Round 23 – St. Kilda v North Melbourne: The Saints’ season from hell finally comes to an end against high jumping Kangaroos

By Braham Dabscheck

4.40 PM Sunday 26 August

Etihad Stadium

 

The best thing that can be said about this game is that even though the Saints lost, they never gave up against the Kangaroos, who put in a classy game. After last weeks close loss to the Hawks, there were indications that the Saints could finish 2018 on a high note. Not to be. The Kangaroos simply blew away the Saints in the first quarter. It wasn’t so much that the Saints played poorly, with only one gift goal being coughed up, it was that the Kangaroos were just too good. They were on song. Once they had the ball they moved it effortlessly down the ground and scored at will. The only thing that they did wrong was have the yips in front of goal; a six goal quarter could have easily been ten.

 

The first quarter contained two other moments worth noting. The first was that 200 plus game veteran Sam Gilbert kicked one of his rare goals which briefly put the Saints in the lead in the early stages of the quarter. He was mobbed by his teammates. The second was more dramatic. There was a loose ball in the centre of the ground where diminutive Jack Lonie, he who showers in thermometers, rushed towards the ball with the Kangaroos’ giant Majak Daw coming like a steam train from the opposite direction. Majak lined up Jack for a big hit; but Jack managed to get so low to the ground and slightly veer away for Majak to not to do any harm. To Majak’s credit he displayed his concern to Jack, but failed to escape a fine by the Match Review panel. The umpires failed to give Jack a free kick!

 

In the second quarter the Saints regrouped and were able to match it with the Kangaroos. Captain Jarryn Geary, like Sam Gilbert before him, kicked a rare goal for the Saints. From a set shot he put helicopter spin on the ball as it somehow or other managed to float through the big sticks. The Kangaroos then rallied and kicked three in five minutes; the first from a gift following a dropped mark. The Saints came back with two goals, one from a 50 meter penalty after Jack Steele received a punch to the back of his head following a mark. The Saints seemed to be back in the game when the Kangaroos kicked two late goals; the Saints down by 35 points at the main break.

 

Early in the third quarter the Kangaroos jumped out to a seven goal lead. The Saints rallied and took command scoring the next four goals. The highlight was a monster set shot from outside the 50 by big man Rowan Marshall. He is improving with every game and could be a force next year. A banana on the right foot by Jade Gresham hit the post. If it had gone through the difference would have only been down by twelve points. The Kangaroos kicked a late goal which arrested the Saints dominance. In the last quarter both sides traded goals with the Kangaroos winning by 23 points. The game was more hotly contested in the second half; but this was after the game had been well and truly lost.

 

The Saints’ season from hell has finally come to an end. The major problem has been field kicking and scoring from set shots for goal. It is a season which has witnessed the retirement of Koby Stevens (concussion) and the possible end to Dylan Roberton’s career (heart). It is conceivable that both Sam Gilbert and David Armitage have played their last games for the Saints. A bad run of injuries destabilised the side. Jack Steele moved to a higher level in the latter stages of the season. Jack Steven and Seb Ross, together with Jimmy Webster before his injury, were the most consistent players for the Saints. The best thing about the year is that a large number of younger players were able to strut their stuff and gain some experience for next year. The sad fact is that the Saints have gone backwards to where they were in 2014.

 

St. Kilda:   3.3   6.4   11.6   14.10 (94)

North Melbourne:   6.7   11.8   14.11   17.15 (117)

 

Goals

St, Kilda: Steven 2, Steele 2, Membrey 2, Gilbert, Billings, Paton, Geary, Sinclair, Marshall, Lonie, Newnes.

North Melbourne: Ziebell 3, Brown 3, Waite 3, Goldstein 2, Wood, Simpkin, Higgins, Daw, Dumont, Hrovat.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Steele, Steven, Ross, Marshall, Gilbert.

North Melbourne: Dumont, Goldstein, Higgins, Wright, Waite.

 

Umpires: Deboy, McInerney, Whetton.

Crowd: 19,866.

 

Our Votes: Dumont 3 (North Melbourne), Goldstein 2 (North Melbourne), Steele 1 (St. Kilda).

 

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