Round 8 – St. Kilda v West Coast Eagles: Saints clobbered by high flying Eagles

by Braham Dabscheck

1.45 PM Saturday 23 May

Etihad Stadium

 

In the end the Saints lost by 53 points. The Eagles dominated the first quarter, kicking 7 goals to 1. The Saints came back in the second, outscored the Eagles 5 goals to 1, to be down by only two goals at the main break. Twice in the third quarter the Saints trailed by a mere 7 points ; to be dominated by the Eagles for the rest of the game. The Eagles kicked the last four goals of the game, which converted what would have been an honourable loss for the Saints to a nine goal defeat.

How should we interpret this result in light of the evolition of the new look Saints. At variuos points the Saints kicking efficiency let them down, there was a slightly higher number of dropped marks in the forward line that resulted in turnover goals at the other end, and crucial fumbles in the mid field and the backline and gift goals for the Eagles. This might suggest that the Saints were simply not good enough. Irrespective of how the game is analysed, these are areas that need to be worked on and improved.

There is, however, another way to analyse the result which is more charitable to the Saints. The key events occurred either side of half-time. The Saints got back into the game in the second quarter. They dominated possessions 109 to 82 and out tackled the Eagles 34 to 11. Then late on in the quarter Jimmy Webster was hit in the head by an Eagle, left the field with a blood nose and concussion, which resulted in him being subbed out of the game. He had had 13 possesions up to that point, is a dasher and his subsequent warming of the bench resulted in the Saints losing drive out of defence. The Eagle who clobbered him went on to kick 3 goals.

Early in the third quarter, Sam Fisher was forced out of the game because of a hamstring injury. He is an important part of the spine of the defence. Both players will probably miss next week, with Fisher’s absence probably being longer. So, early in the third quarter the backline lost two players and more significantly the Saints were down a rotation. This more than anything explains the Saints being overrun in the second half and the leakage of goals late in the game.

Jack Steven, Leigh Montagna and David Armitage were the best players for the Saints, accumulating many possesions. Jack Sinclair, who during the week was dropped to and then resurrcted from the rookie list, was lively on the forward line. While not as mecurial as Milney, he looks like the best bet to play a long term role as a small forward. He kicked two, it could have been four. Dylan Roberton has found his form of old and Tim Membrey had a few fine moments and is worthy of more games.

There will probably be some new faces in the team next week. Nick Riewoldt may return, but don’t be surprised if the decision is made to not select him for an interstate game. Jarryn Geary will probably return and Hugh Goddard may be selected for his first game. The problem will be to find someone to replace the dash of Jimmy Webster out of the backline. There is still a problem on the forward line; the coaching staff are yet to find the right balance of personnel. But get 22 fit players on the field for the full four quarters and the Saints will give any side a run for its money. Despite the loss, the signs for the future are pointing upwards.

St. Kilda:        1.2   6.4   10.5   12.6 (78)

West Coast:   7.3   8.4   15.6   20.11 (131)

Goals

St. Kilda: Sinclair 2, Bruce 2, Weller 2, Newnes, Templeton, Roberton, Savage, Membrey, Schneider.

West Coast: Kennedy 4, Hill 4, Yeo 3, Cripps 3, LeCras, Sinclair, Shuey, Pridis, McInnes, Sheppard.

Best

St. Kilda: Steven, Armitage, Montagna, Weller, Sinclair.

West Coast: Pridis, Gaff, Duggan, Kennedy, Shuey.

Umpires: Armstrong, Foot, Kamolins.

Crowd: 23,598.

Our Votes: Pridis 3 (WC), Gaff 2 (WC), Steven 1 (StK).

Comments

  1. Fair summary Braham. I certainly think that there is a ‘critical mass’ thing with football teams. Progress and performance is not linear. You need ‘just enough’ of strength and experience to produce results. Losing the 2 players either side of half time probably meant the Saints went from “just enough” to “not coping” over the 4 quarters. You ran out of contest.
    I checked and Saints have the 14th youngest list and the Eagles 11th with only 0.5years in age between us. I suspect we just have that critical mass in players with 40-50 games where yours are more 20-30. So improvement can come quickly.
    I do take issue with your comment about Webster being ‘clobbered’ by an Eagle. Play it in real time, not slo mo, and it is clear that its a genuine spoiling attempt by Yeo in a split second. Not a Jordan Lewis ‘make him earn it’.

Leave a Comment

*