Round 6 to Round 8 – Catching up with Saints footy: Horrible Loss to Getting the Saints brand back to Only Playing Last Quarter

At first my apology to Almanac friends. I have been busy working in April when I had only two days off (I am having three part time jobs now), and then the restaurant went on its fourth closure since the pandemic had hit globally. It is really hard to adjust physically and mentally in changes of my life at the age of 48.

 

Therefore I missed opportunities to score goals on the Almanac in the last fortnight. Then here is a joint report between Round 6 and Round 8.

 

Round 6 – Port Adelaide vs St Kilda (Sunday 25 April, 6:10 pm, Adelaide Oval)

 

Essendon and Collingwood have been playing annual Anzac Day footy for years. Anzac Day falls Sunday this year, so St Kilda gets the fixture on Anzac Day as normal Sunday footy.

 

These days, Sundays have been my working days, so I think I will not be able to follow the Saints footy live, but as I finish working at 5 pm and the first bounce is at 5.40 pm, I find being able to watch the game on the train to Kyoto (I am working in Osaka on Sunday to Tuesday every week now).

 

Our key ruckman Rowan Marshall is back on the field, so I expect we are playing a good match, but we are under performing.

 

Hit outs are okay, centre clearances are good, thanks to Seb Ross and Jack Steele. But we still cannot win many contested marks in our forward line or back line. We missed many scoring opportunities.

 

Opposed to my Saints, my hated Port are more organised and hit right targets. They win contested marks and intercept marks.

 

It is another much disappointing game, and I admit that our skills don’t meet expectations or standards. However my furiousness on Sunday comes from bloody Port Adelaide supporters!

 

Why do they boo my boys unreasonably? We win contested marks and do set shots under the rule. Then why do my precious players have to be thrown verbal violence?

 

I strongly hate Port Adelaide, because of how their supporters treat their opponent players. It’s so rude and ridiculous! They only make others look down and complain about things they don’t like. They do whatever they want. Having made Gold Coast Suns and St Kilda giving up home games in order to play footy in China is the good reflection. Then I still remember their cheer squad booed Jade Gresham unreasonably in the Shanghai game.

 

Their behaviours are far out of Anzac Day spirit. Diggers who have fought for Australia and New Zealand must be angry in heaven. Some of them had played for St Kilda Football Club indeed.

 

Opposed to seeing such intolerant behaviours, I am so proud of supporting the mighty Saints. We have a far better fan community, and supporting St Kilda has created many new friendships.

 

St Kilda have bad records in Anzac Day clashes in recent years. I want to end these records in the near future.

 

Scoreboard

 

PORT ADELAIDE 4.1 8.3 11.8 14.9 (93)
ST KILDA 1.4 2.5 3.7 5.9 (39)

 

GOALS
Port Adelaide: Motlop 3, Fantasia 3, Georgiades 2, Rozee 2, Dixon 2, Boak, Gray
St Kilda: Higgins, Hill, Marshall, Carlisle, Membrey

 

BEST
Port Adelaide: Amon, Motlop, Fantasia, Wines, Houston
St Kilda: Ross, Steele, Higgins, Marshall, Crouch

 

INJURIES
Port Adelaide: Nil
St Kilda: Hill (ankle)

 

SUBSTITUTES
Port Adelaide: Sam Mayes (unused)
St Kilda: Jack Bytel (replaced Hill)

 

REPORTS
Port Adelaide: Nil
St Kilda: McKenzie (reported for rough conduct on Wines)

 

 

Round 7 – St Kilda vs Hawthorn (Saturday 1 May, 4:35 pm, Marvel Stadium in Melbourne)

 

St Kilda had not shown their fine form much this year. Centre clearances and ball deliveries were downgraded, compared with the good 2020 season.

 

One of their key ruckmen, Paddy Ryder finally got back to the field for the first time in 2021, the injured defender Jimmy Webster (one of my favourite Saints) was back, and Ryan made his second game.

 

Moreover it was the new recruit, Brad Crouch’s 100th AFL match. Saints had been always bad at playing on footballer’s milestones, so I was worried a bit of losing the Blue Ribbon Match.

 

But the game started against my worries. Even though centre clearances were done well by the Hawks at the beginning, Saints played hard to get their brand back. Unlikely the previous weekend, defenders didn’t allow the opponents to get jobs done. Brad Hill had been criticised with his poor performances, but he accelerated when he found the right space and delivered to midfield and forward (he played the half back). Finally footy was on Marshall’s hand, and he did a set shot beautifully.

 

Hardwick was changing direction and kicking towards Shiels, but Coffield ran into the right spot. Our defender’s set shot ended kicking a goal. Then the tall forward Membrey seemed to finish his job with a long kick from the left wing, but Butler got a possession in the goal line and played on.

 

In the 19th minute, Jones handpassed to Membrey and he was running to find the right angle and space, but was tackled and instead handpassed. Clark and back to Jones, Sinclair ran from the defence, picked and kicked a goal. What a multitask player he is! At last King won a contested mark with big hands and scored a goal.

 

Finally boys’ efforts and the Saints Brand were back at our favourite Marvel Stadium. St Kilda scored five goals and four behinds, to Hawthorn yet to score, at first quarter.

 

Hawthorn dominated first at the second quarter and finally broke the scoring draught. Their young and talented tall forward Jacob Koschitzke (Former Saint Justin’s cousin) was in the right spot winning a marking contest against Battle and Webster.

 

Jones answered, and Butler followed by using the advantages of a small forward by running in small space and picking footy.

 

Koschitzke scored his second goal of the day. And Hawthorn showed skills in their defensive zone. But our multi skilled Hunter Clark was super. Hardwick kicked to deliver toward midfield, but Clark jumped and hit the ball. Grabbing it and running, he tricked by pretending to handpass to Higgins. But he kept running and shooting a goal.

 

Then fast midfielder Jones scored his second with demonstrating his speed and skills. But the Hawks scored two goals in a row (Shiels and Hanrahan). The visitors found more space and used opportunities in the second term.

 

Early in the third quarter, Steele’s long kick was on Membrey’s strong hands in a marking contest. His good set shot as usual brought his side the first goal in the term.

 

King dropped footy in a one on two marking contest later, but Marshall was in the right spot to back the young forward. He handpassed to Sinclair and then to Higgins. The former Tiger kicked into the open space for a goal.

 

Hill got his favourite open space in order to run with speed and kick long. Higgins took a chest mark inside 50 and scored his second one for the third quarter. Hill showed great and strong efforts in kicking and defensive play that turned into offensive.

 

Higgins had a great goal kicking quarter as he later scored another one with a 60-degree right set shot.

 

Hawthorn tried to hit the scoreboard, but St Kilda defence turned over well. At the late term, Lewis won a marking contest and scored a goal. Then their key forward Breust has taken a mark after good ball uses in the open space, and finished his job. But their late two goals didn’t match Saints’ four goals at the third quarter.

 

Saints made a big turn over and a tap and handpasses followed. Higgins had a key role kicking long in the midfield. King was in the deep forward pocket and easily won a one on one marking contest. He needs more experiences and gains confidence. Young Max scored his second goal of the afternoon.

 

Hawthorn’s veteran ruckman McEvoy showed a smart play. He was in the right spot to take an uncontested mark and the distance of the set shot was no worries.

 

The firing up Hill and Higgins were a good duo on the field. The former kicked long as his usual business and the latter is a gun in the deep forward. Then Butler’s good long kick delivered towards Membrey to finish up the top job.

 

Hardwick was in the half forward winning a centre clearance while Crouch and Jones swapped positions. He kicked long and hit the target. Moore found open space and bagged a goal.

 

At last minutes, numbers were quite high in our goal square. Contests in marking and possessions were hard to win. Clark ran into the right spot at the right timing, handpassed King and got a handpass back, and kicked an incredible goal.

 

Saint got back the brand of footy with a huge win. But I watched the full replay on Wednesday the following week because of a busy work schedule while I managed to watch most of the first quarter live before the restaurant work (filling in another premise in the same chain).

 

Scoreboard

 

ST KILDA 5.4 10.9 14.11 19.14 (128)
HAWTHORN 0.0 4.2 6.3 9.5 (59)

 

GOALS
St Kilda: Higgins 4, Butler 3, Jones 2, King 2, Membrey 2, Marshall 2, Clark 2, Coffield, Sinclair
Hawthorn: Koschitzke 2, Breust 2, Hanrahan, Lewis, Shiels, McEvoy, Moore

 

BEST
St Kilda: Jones, Clark, Hill, Crouch, Butler, Ross
Hawthorn: Worpel, Scrimshaw, Hardwick, Mitchell

 

INJURIES
St Kilda: Nil
Hawthorn: Nil

 

SUBSTITUTES
St Kilda: Mason Wood (unused)
Hawthorn: Damon Greaves (unused)

 

 

Round 8 – Gold Coast vs St Kilda (Saturday 8 May, 1:45 pm, Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast)

 

Our brand of footy came back a week before as in the above, but boys had left in Melbourne or were triggered with warm Queensland weather?

 

Saints let Suns use space to deliver the ball towards the forward line, and wasted opportunities. Even we had a goalless quarter in the first term.

 

St Kilda managed to get score level at half time and had an opportunity to lead the game. And my boys should have fought hard on the field in response to scuffles having occurred around the main break. But wasting opportunities, unable to win contested marks inside 50, and poor handpasses and kicks kept me away from hoping a win.

 

Our on field performances went back a few years ago. Our talented midfielder and defence Hunter Clark said that there were setbacks in an interview on Where Do We Begin? podcast last year, but it was a too rapid time trip.

 

At the last break, the scoreboard was Gold Coast 7.9 (51) to St Kilda 4.14 (35). Saints were down by 15 points. It could be bounced back, but I gave up, sort of.

 

However the last term was all for the Saints.

 

In the first three minutes, Butler made a turn over putting a huge pressure. Marshall was gang tackled but managed to handpass to Max King, and Billings collected his handball and scored a goal.

 

Webster and Hill kicked long and Marshall took a contest. He tapped footy inside 50, Jones picked and turned back and kicked to hit the target. Another Jack (Higgins) took a mark 30 metres out. He snapped a set shot as the second goal in the final term.

 

Ryder took a high contested mark as if saying he has missed playing footy. That action didn’t result in scoring a goal, but later he collected footy in a contest that he and his ruck partner Marshall challenged. Paddy ran and kicked a winning goal. He saved the Saints!

 

Clark’s class handpass was picked by skilled recruit Crouch and he kicked a long goal from 50 metre out.

 

We hanged in and brought back four premiership points to Melbourne. Bob Murphy talked about our hero Paddy on Monday while he co-hosted the SEN Drive.

 

What a win and a relief. Good on you!

 

Scoreboard

 

GOLD COAST 1.4 3.7 7.9 7.12 (54)
ST KILDA 0.3 3.7 4.12 8.15 (63)

 

GOALS
Gold Coast: King 3, Corbett, Holman, Rankine, Weller
St Kilda: Billings 2, Steele 2, Crouch, Higgins, King, Ryder

 

BEST
Gold Coast: Miller, Swallow, Powell, Greenwood, Collins, Markov
St Kilda: Steele, Billings, Jones, Clark, Ryder, Wilkie, Marshall

 

INJURIES
Gold Coast: Holman (concussion)
St Kilda: Nil

 

LATE CHANGES
Gold Coast: Nil
St Kilda: Seb Ross replaced in selected side by Mason Wood

 

SUBSTITUTES
Gold Coast: Alex Sexton
St Kilda: Jack Lonie

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE

 

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About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.

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