Round 9 – Brisbane Lions v St. Kilda: Saints out claw Lions in sunny Brisbane

by Braham Dabscheck

1.10 PM Sunday 31 May

The Gabba

Both the Saints and Lions were sitting on two wins for the season. The Saints welcomed back captain Nick Riewoldt after his sickening concussion against the Crows. Jack Lonie also returned after his concussion in the same game, as did Jarryn Geary and Luke Delaney from niggling injuries. In the end, Nick Riewoldt was the major difference between the two teams and the key to the Saints’ eventual success; kicking 4 goals and taking 10 marks. He plays with such poise and assuredness and is one of the game’s all time champions. Hopefully he will be able to play long enough to chalk up 300 games and crack 700 goals in his career.

The first quarter can only be described as a disaster. The Lions didn’t so much as run all over the Saints as chipped the ball this way and that, and kicked the first 5 goals of the game. They were all so easy. It was as if the Saints were still trying to tie up their shoe laces before the game had started. Entries into the forward 50 were simply embarrassing, passes and handballs going astray and setting up quick counter attacks for the Lions. Nick Riewoldt steadied things with a couple of goals, one from a mark, the other from team play in the forward pocket. The Lions kicked another 2 with the Saints down by 28 at the first break. The game had the hallmarks of another disaster.

From then on the Saints dominated play. The midfield took over with David Armitage and Jack Steven being outstanding and continuing their great form of the season. In fact, all of the medium to small brigade did well. The Saints tackled the Lions into submission winning the tackle count 56 to 40, as well as the free kick count 23 to 16. The Saints scored the first six goals of the second quarter, with Armitage and Luke Dunstan getting two each. The Lions kicked a late one, answered by a third goal by Riewoldt. The Saints lead at the main break by 10 points.

The third quarter was hard fought and evenly matched. Adam Schneider kicked the first two for the quarter for the Saints; one from broken play and the other from a free following a pass from who else but Riewoldt. The Lions then steadied and kicked the next three to be trailing by a few points. Blake Acres and Dunstan crashed into each other on the wing, with Dunstan worse for wear and losing a tooth to boot. There were times where both sides found it difficult to get any rhythm into their play. The Saints steadied with a late goal to Riewoldt. He just does the basics so well.

The game was over after the first couple of minutes of the last quarter. Patrick Weller scored one from a soccer style goal on the line (robbing Jack Billings) and a crumb in the goal mouth a few seconds later. Then it was simply a matter of playing out time. Both sides wilted in the heat with players going down with cramp and/or recovering from bumps. The preparedness of both teams to play it out to the end is a testament to the courage and professionalism of all concerned. The Lions suffered more injuries than the Saints, reversing what had happened to the Saints in the last two games.

Putting aside the first quarter, the Saints kicked 14 goals to 6. Other than for a desperate attempt, which fortunately failed in the last quarter, the Saints did not concede any gift goals. After the first quarter they used longer kicks up forward and looked more assured in the forward 50. Most significantly, the strategy of maintaining pressure and tackling oppositions into submission is bearing fruit. Things are on the up.

Brisbane Lions:   7.1   8.2   11.6   13.8 (86)

St. Kilda:                2.3   9.6   12.9   16.12 (108)


Brisbane Lions: Lester 4, Rich 2, Green, Robinson, Bewick, Zorko, Rockliff, Robertson, Christensen.

St. Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Armitage 2, Dunstan 2, Schneider 2, Weller 2, Lonie, Steven, Bruce, Roberton.


Brisbane Lions: D. Beams, Taylor, Lester, Martin, Rich.

St. Kilda: Armitage, Riewoldt, Steven, Montagna, Newnes.

Umpires: Ryan, Hosking, Ryan.

Crowd: 16,898.

Our Votes: Armitage 3 (StK), Riewoldt 2 (StK), D. Beams 1 (Bris).



  1. I thought Patrick was a Maverick? Not sure what happened after 1/4 time, but everything changed. I had the pleasure of watching the game next to the sublime Yvette Wroby, who even after the first quarter, while enjoying a sandwich was able to ‘shake it off’. The comeback in against the Bulldogs had inspired a serene confidence. The nervousness from the Suns comeback a couple of months earlier was completely gone. And how right was she?

    I thought Paparone was doing alright on Riewoldt, but he couldn’t go with him as he linked the back to the front and then ran to become a forward option. Brisbane had a few winners, Beams, D., Martin, S., and Rich, D. spring to mind, but not enough across the team. Moments of flair, enterprise and grunt from too few. Christensen would do better if he put as much effort into getting the ball as he niggles.
    Saints worked harder. Inspired by Armitage, young Stevens and the outside run of Montagna, they created more options. They’ve given themselves some hope of winning eight games for the season. Brisbane will be lucky to win five, despite having a better list than that.

  2. Braham Dabscheck says

    Dear Gus,

    I plead guilty as charged. I know of a Patrick Weller and I operated on automatic pilot. I hope Maverick, number 44, the same as the number of my house, will accept my apology. I am glad that you meet the wonderful Yvette. She is one of the nicest persons in the world and boy, can she write. In my view, she is the gem in the Footy Almanac stable of writers. She has even adopted Yoshi; go Yoshi!! I agree with your observations on the game and predictions concerning the Lions. Re the Saints, one always hopes for a miracle! Why then were we so badly forsaken in 2009 and 2010?

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