Round 3 – St. Kilda v Collingwood: Saints Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of 1966 Premiership With A Gutsy Win

By Braham Dabscheck

1.45 PM Saturday 9 April

Melbourne Cricket Ground


It was like the good old days: I played on a Saturday morning and then watched the Saints in the afternoon, and against Collingwood of all teams. In days long past it was footy for Melbourne High and we won the flag in an epic encounter against University High in 1965; whereas now it is a gentle game of doubles tennis, where you can’t get tackled! Today’s game against the Pies was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Saints premiership win in 1966: 10.14.74 to 10.13.73. An honour guard of current players was made for the haloed heroes of 1966, lead out by Cowboy Neale (5 goals) and Barry Breen of that magnificent point.

The pundits predicted the Pies to win following their one point fluke against the Tigers on April Fool’s Day and the Saints drubbing against the Bulldogs the day after. My feeling was that the Saints would bounce back and that the Pies are in the early stages of a long term slide. After the first few minutes of the game, panic set in with the Pies kicking two goals. The Saints then steadied and dominated the rest of the first quarter kicking six. They looked like a different team. They maintained pressure in the contest and spread and teamed well when they had the ball. Four of the goals were from well orchestrated team play, two of which were coast to coast. The Saints lead by 12 points at the first break.

They kicked the first of the second quarter resulting from another fine combination by the team. The Pies then started to get back into the game and kicked 5 of the next 7 goals. Nick Riewoldt received a knock in the head half way through the second quarter, and after kicking a goal from the resulting free took no further part in the game. Paddy McCartin concussed himself late in the quarter taking a spectacular Nick Riewoldt type grab forcing himself into a pack from behind the trajectory of the ball. He also saw the rest of the game from the bench. Two points up at the main break; things did not look good; curse me and my predictions!

Well, the undermanned Saints totally dominated the Pies in the third quarter, even when they lost Dylan Roberton with a leg injury and were down to one player on the bench. Every player lifted and did what was necessary, and in some cases something brilliant, piling on 6 goals to a late one in the quarter by the Pies. Two particular pieces of play will be highlighted. With two key forwards off the ground, Sam Gilbert was pushed forward to provide a bit of grunt. Following a fine passage of team play he snapped a brilliant goal on the run. The second involved Jack Newnes. He forced himself into the play to break up what had the hallmarks of likely calamity, somehow got the ball to Darren Michington who passed it to Maverick Weller, who marked and kicked a goal.

The Saints held on in the last quarter kicking 3 goals to 4. They also kicked 4 points from set shots, which were all gettable. In fact, if the Saints had kicked straight they probably would have won by 10 goals.

The key to the Saints’ win was their use of the ball. They teamed well and mixed and matched the short and the long game well. Fourteen of the goals resulted from fine team play, either criss-crossing the ground or a quick coast to coast goal. Nor did they concede any gift goals. The team seems to be jelling well. Next week against the Hawks in Tasmania will be a test. And once more, a salute to the Mighty Saints of 1966, thank you for what did half a century ago.

Go Saints.


St. Kilda     6.3   9.6   15.7   18.11 (119)

Collingwood   4.3   9.3   10.6   14.6 (90)



St. Kilda: Weller 3, Steven 3, Riewoldt 2, Bruce 2, Gilbert 2, Billings 2, Sinclair, McCartin, Lonie, Armitage.

Collingwood: Fasolo 2, Cloke 2, de Goey 2, Pendelbury 2, Howe, Aish, Crisp, Oxley, Langdon, Adams.



St. Kilda: Montagna, Steven, Ross, Newnes, Billings.

Collingwood: Pendelbury, Adams, Langdon, Oxley.


Umpires: Hay, Hosking, McInerney.


Crowd: 50,903.


Our Votes: Montagna 3 (St. Kilda), Steven 2 (St. Kilda), Ross 1 (St. Kilda).





  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Well said Braham. The feeling at the ground was like a Premiership win. The crowd were magnificent and the boys did us proud. I love how a win feels so much more for the Saints.

    It shows we can adjust, like Hawthorn, that when two, then three, good players go down, others just step in and step up. Love it.


  2. G’day Braham. Did you get a chance to watch the show on Fox Footy re the 50 years since / It was good viewing.


  3. Braham Dabscheck says

    Dear Glen,

    I did and found it most interesting. I was at Melbourne High at the same time as Alan Davis but never played in a game that he was in. I once played in a house match against Ross Dillon who was centre half forward for Melbourne (85 games). He more than anyone else proved that I didn’t have what it took. If not him it would have been someone else!! Sale la vie.



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