Round 7 – St. Kilda v North Melbourne: Saints Lose In An Arm Wrestle On Mothers’ Day

By Braham Dabscheck

Sunday 8 May 3.20 PM

Etihad Stadium


This was a hard fought game; a game which could have gone either way with the Footy gods turning on the Saints with 90 seconds to go. The defenses of both teams were on top, with the scores pretty tight for most of the match. The Kangaroos jumped out to a two goal lead in the last few minutes of the first quarter. At different times they extended it and the Saints then set about reeling them back in. The Saints were, in fact, at their best when they looked dead and buried in the last quarter, being 26 points down, staging an enthralling come back to be pipped at the end.

The Kangaroos, who have now won seven on the trot, employ a different style to other top teams. Last week the Saints had over powered the Demons by quickly moving the ball to an uncluttered forward line. North countered this by keeping their backs back to remove this line of attack. It as if they were saying to the Saints let’s see if you are good enough to work your way through the maze. The Kangaroos relied on scoring goals from quick breaks, contested play and the odd bit of luck. Of the goals they scored only one came from a Saints turnover, their fourth in the last quarter when the Saints could not get it out of the back 50 (could not someone have just sank their boot into the ball?). Of the remaining ten, three were from superior pressure around the contest, two from lucky bounces, two from coast to coast team play, one from a mark following a center break, one from a ticky ticky touch wood free and another free after the siren from an incorrect disposal.

Ten of the Saints eleven goals came from marks; only one was from team play by Tim Membrey in the second quarter.

The Kangaroos had the better of the first quarter in terms of clearances and contested possessions. With three minutes to go the Saints were up by a goal and then conceded three to end the quarter to be down by two at the first change. The Saints came back in the second but couldn’t convert this into goals. At the main change they had only kicked three goals and were down by 19 points.

The Saints rallied in the third quarter kicking four, with Nick Riewoldt leading the charge with two; he could have had a third when after a mark relatively close in, he skewed a kick out on the full. The Kangaroos, however, still managed three for the quarter to lead by 17 points at the final break.

The Kangaroos dominated the first 10 minutes of the last quarter, kicked another goal and a few points to lead by 26 points. Then the game changed. The Saints were more direct going forward and learnt how to slice their way through the Kangaroos’ defensive maze . Four goals, all from marks and a couple of points and the scores were level with a few minutes to go. The pressure was on with both sides nullifying each other. Then the Footy gods intervened. With 90 seconds to go there was a ball up on the Saints’ defensive 50 and a free kick awarded to North’s Todd Goldstein. As everyone knows, and it really goes without saying, I am an impartial observer of the game and harbor no biases, but what was it for? Well Goldstein kicked a point and it was all over red rover. The goal after the siren was just icing on the cake; a mothers’ day gift for Kangaroo supporters.

Consistent with the practice that has developed to acknowledge milestones achieved by players, the Kangaroos’ Drew Petrie, having played his 300th game, was chaired off by his team mates through an honour guard of both teams. Well done Drew, a true champion of the game.

A top game with a sad result for the Saints. The Saints have now lost two nail biters against top teams. The signs are good; if only these signs could be converted into results. The West Coast away next week; watch out Eagles!


St. Kilda                      2.3   3.7   7.7   11.9 (75)

North Melbourne   4.5   6.8   9.12   11.16 (82)



St. Kilda: Riewoldt 3, Membrey 3, Bruce 2, Savage, Weller, Billings.

North Melbourne: Brown 2, Petrie 2, Higgins 2, Wood 2, Cunnington, Harvey, Waite.



St. Kilda: Riewoldt, Montagna, Gilbert, Newnes, Savage.

North Melbourne: Goldstein, Ziebell, Cunnington, Harvey, Swallow.


Umpires: Hay, Kamolins, Stevic.


Crowd: 27,254.


Our Votes: Riewoldt 3 (St. Kilda), Goldstein 2 (North Melbourne), Montagna 1 (St. Kilda).


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  1. Peter_B says

    I really enjoyed watching the last quarter of this game, but like Braham I am still bemused by the deciding free kick to Goldstein. I watched a few replays, and as a neutral I am none the wiser into what the offence was by the Saints ruckman?? Can anyone enlighten me.
    What happened to putting the whistle away in the last 10 minutes of a tight game to let the players decide the result, unless the offence is blatant and interferes with the run of play???
    Big egos or small man’s syndrome?
    Sad way to end a wonderful contest. My Eagles will want to tidy up their disposal efficiency or the emerging Saints will take their finals slot. Looking forward to a tight game next Sunday.

  2. Peter, from the pocket on level 3 – an angle that wasn’t quite captured by any of the cameras – it looked pretty clear. Hickey went straight past where the ball was going to drop without his eyes on the footy to push Goldstein away from the ruck contest. Maybe inconsistently applied but not a particularly technical free.

    As it happened, North were running the ball away from that clearance when the whistle went so blazing away for a point at worst was a highly possible result anyway. At worst we would have had another contest and stoppage inside the 50, So that free _probably_ didn’t actually change much.

  3. G’day Braham,

    Passing balls was not working with tall Kangaroos, I reckon.

    When Josh Bruce was in the midfield, he missed taking marks.

    The Saints needed faster ball plays to create more space to score goals, I think.

    I hope boys learn from the mistakes and we will win the next match against Eagles. We must win!

    What Richo can do I think is coming down to the boundary line when the score is tight to encourage boys. The bench should have a reserved seat for him.

    Go Saints!!


  4. Michael Viljoen says

    I don’t think it’s as simple as saying Hickey ran past the ball when he succeeded in getting a full hand onto it. How did he succeed in palming the ball down if his eyes weren’t watching it?

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