Round 4 – Hawthorn v St. Kilda: For The Saints, This Is One That Got Away

By Braham Dabscheck

2.10 PM Saturday 16 April

Aurora Stadium


What could have been. This is a game that the Saints lost rather than the Hawks won; discounting for the best on ground performance of Hawk center-man Sam Mitchell with his 44 possessions. And this is a pretty big discount! The Hawks looked flat after their hard game the week before against the Doggies. Many of their stars were down and below their best. The first quarter was particularly scrappy. But the Saints were even worse in the first stanza, and despite some howling umpiring decisions in the last quarter and a miss from a set shot at goal with a few minutes to go at the end, it was in this quarter that the game was won and lost.

The Saints kicking and disposal of the ball was below standard. There were turnovers galore, with gift goals served up on a platter for the Hawks. All up, five of the Hawks goals were from Saints turnovers, two in the first quarter, two in the second and one in the third. All of the Saints goals resulted from combinations of team play and pressure on the Hawks. There was a miraculous piece of play in the second when Blake Acres burst into the play in the center from seemingly nowhere, headed down the ground and kicked a long bomb which Nick Riewoldt marked in the square and turned around and put it through for a six pointer.

After the first quarter, the Saints regrouped and dominated most of the second quarter. They were on a roll, hit the front, and then conceded two late goals from turnovers. The Hawks kicked the first two of the third and were up by three. The Saints pegged them back with three goals, with Josh Bruce kicking two in a couple of minutes. The scores were tied at the last break.

The Saints kicked the first two of the last quarter. The first was from a Jack Steven bomb marked by Paddy McCartin and the second by Maverick Weller from a free resulting from team pressure. Now for the umpiring blue. The Hawks scored a point. From the resulting short kick out, which looked like it had traveled more than 15 meters, the umpire said not 15 and from a second short kick which looked longer than the first the umpire again said not 15; a resulting tackle saw the ball spill out and the Hawks snapped a goal to swing the momentum of the match.

Despite this and a free kick count in the last quarter that went the Hawks way 7-3, the Saints could have still won the match. Paddy McCartin took another great pack mark, like the one last week against the Pies (boy, can he take a grab), with three minutes to go. Unfortunately, he allowed for the wind which decided to take a holiday to New Zealand, to steer the ball through, and he missed. The last few minutes were helter skelter and the Hawks did enough to hang on. What could have been.

This was not one of the Hawks’ best performances. Many of their players were down. But like champion sides they still managed to find a way to win. The Saints, despite the loss, showed once again that they are improving. Other than for the first quarter and a few other moments in the game, 2016 looks like being a more successful year than those of recent years. If there is a problem it is kicking straight from set shots at goal (something that I have been commenting on since 1961!). Their pressure is good and teamwork is more assured. The recruits of recent years are finding their way. Next week they take on the Giants; this is one they need to win.


Hawthorn  5.2   8.2   10.4   13.9 (87)

St. Kilda      2.2   7.3   10.4   13.6 (84)



Hawthorn: Bruest 2, Sicily 2, O’Brien 2, Puopolo 2, Ceglar 2, Smith, Rioli, Lewis.

St. Kilda: Riewoldt 2, Bruce 2, McCartin 2, Minchington 2, Lonie, Armitage, Weller, Gilbert, Templeton.



Hawthorn: Mitchell, Lewis, Hartung, Gunston, Hodge.

St. Kilda: Armitage, Ross, Savage, Riewoldt, Billings.


Umpires: Fisher, Pannell, Stephens.


Crowd: 15,173.


Our Votes: Mitchell 3, (Haw), Armitage 2 (St. Kilda), Lewis 1 (Haw).


  1. Rick Kane says

    Good report Braham. I posted on FB at half-time that the stats were almost identical. On a ground like York Park, which the Hawks have made their own over the last 20 odd games, that was very concerning. The Saints were playing that well. They had broken the York Park key. They continued to dominate in the Third but I reckon they ran out of leags and poise in the end. Only just. We’ll take the 4 points but we have now been put on notice in three out of our first 4 games. I look forward to the Saints having a good year!

  2. G’day Braham,

    The mighty Saints performed better than I had thought, so I am proud of supporting St Kilda.

    We had a slow start, but showed good ball works especially in the midfield. It’s really sad to miss the opportunity to get four points. I hope my boys keep in mind how they and fans feel on Saturday and transform into more efforts into the next match. St Kilda needs to win over GWS.

    Indeed our year will be good and I do hope to see my boys get into the final series campaign.

    Go Saints!!


  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Braham,

    great report as always, good therapy isn’t it, the write up after the game. Agree with your analysis of where the game was lost, and I hope that the boys take time our to improve their skills. I am just enjoying the footy so much this year, I am loving the run and attacking football (except when the run goes the wrong way.) The one other mistake which always has me pulling my hair out is the uncertain kicking backwards to smaller and smaller spaces that most often leads to turn-overs. When we confidently pass it back for a better option, it often works out well and comes spinning out the other side of the ground. But there was one in this game that everyone, even BLIND FREDDY, could see was going to be our undoing.

    Be well

  4. Yeah, this game was out there for the Saints to win. But there will come a time when the near-misses fade and again we will expect them to win the close ones. What thrills me is that they’ll play their fast-breaking, quick-transition style regardless of opponent, and it’s starting to trouble more talented sides. The next two weeks will be good benchmarks. And as they get a little older and wiser and more cohesive down the road, they’ll be back in the contending mix. Very encouraging even in defeat.

  5. Braham Dabscheck says

    Rick, Yoshi, Yvette and GlenB thanks for your comments. The Saints are looking competetive and a team on the rise. Like you Yvette I am enjoying having the Footy back and the changes in the high scoring of the game. I also concur on the dangers of kicking backwards. I am finding that writing up match reports is resulting in me thinking more deeply about the game. Before it used to be a simple we won or lost, or we should have won; but now I find myself delving more into the how and why. An old dog (sorry I meant to say Saint) can be taught new tricks!

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Hi Braham,
    Loved the way the Saints moved the ball against the Pies last week. Exciting times ahead for your Sainters. Could be even better if not for some dodgy umpiring by a confirmed Hawthorn fan.

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