Round 9 – St. Kilda v Geelong: Saints puurfect against the Cats

 

 

St. Kilda v Geelong
4.35 PM 14 May 2022
Marvel Stadium

 

As half-time approaches the Saints looked like they were heading for their third loss on the trot. The Professor, Jack Higgins, had been subbed out early in the second quarter with his second concussion for the year. Superman, Jack Steele, had injured his shoulder just before the half-time break and disappeared down the dressing sheds for medical attention. The Saints were down by 16 points. More importantly they looked out of sorts. Their team play was off and when they got the ball forward they had trouble scoring. Nothing seemed to be working and they had coughed up two gift goals to the Cats. The only thing you could say they had going for them was that the Cats hadn’t capitalised on their chances. They could, or should, have been further ahead given their dominance.

 

The third quarter starts with Superman, with his shoulder strapped, playing as a forward. Medical substitute Marcus Windhager is put into the midfield and, as the quarter unfolds, has an increasing influence on the game. The quarter resumes with both teams involved in an arm wrestle trying to assert ascendancy. The Saints initiated a nice coast-to-coast goal with fine team play to narrow the margin. The Cats respond with two quick goals and run out to a 22 point lead. The situation is now worse than it was at half-time. How can this be happening?

 

And then everything changed. The Saints rucks got on top, set up the midfield and everything else fell into place. The Saints kicked five goals in five minutes of play. Two were from taps from throw ins, two from snaps after sustained forward pressure and one from a mark near the goal post by Cooper Sharman. The Cats tried desperately to get one back before the three-quarter time siren. With seconds to go the Saints pushed the ball forward to Tim Membrey who marked 30 meters out on a slight angle. He kicked truly after the siren for his second for the quarter. The Saints had turned a 22 point deficit into a 16 point lead going into the final quarter.

 

The Saints dominated the third quarter winning the possession count 128/76, inside 50s 20/9, clearances 16/9 and contested possessions 44/30. Everyone played well. Zak Jones looked more like the Zac of old following his first game for the season last week. Jack Billings, in his first game for the season following his hamstring strain, steadily worked his way into the game and kicked a nice roving goal in the third. Cooper Sharman was handy for his first game of the season. The Saints stopped the Cats short pass and running game out of the back half. They had more pace and energy than the Cats.

 

The Saints controlled most of the play in the final quarter, despite gift wrapping one for the Cats early in the quarter. Paddy Ryder steadied the ship with two goals, one from a pack mark and the second from wandering into the forward 50 on his lonesome. It is difficult to understand how this could happen; he seems to be a more than likeable and friendly guy. He and fellow bigman Rowan Marshall were instrumental in setting up the win. And, by the way, Brad Crouch put in a best-on-ground performance in the midfield.

 

In the past this is a game the Saints would have lost. They managed to turn things around and found their kicking boots when needed. This is the first time since 2016 that the Saints have beaten the Cats – 14.9.93 to 13.12.90. The Saints are now 6 and 3 and outside the Top 4 on percentage. The Crows in Adelaide next Saturday night. One can only hope that the powers that be will smile on the Saints in the City of Churches. If not there, where? Go Saints!

 

St. Kilda   2.2   4.4   11.8   13.12 (90)
Geelong    4.3   6.8   8.10   11.14 (80)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Ryder 3, King 2, Membrey 2, Marshall, Jones, Sharman, Billings, Wood, Long.
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Tuohy 2, Smith, Miers, Cam Guthrie, Stengle, Cameron.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Crouch, Sinclair, Ryder, Gresham, Billings.
Geelong: Tuohy, Stewart, Smith, Hawkins, Selwood.

 

Crowd: 32,517.

 

Malarkey Votes: Ryder 1 (StK), Sinclair 2 (StK), Crouch 3 (StK).

 

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