Round 9 – St. Kilda v Sydney: Back Wheels Falling Off Saints’ Cart

By Braham Dabscheck

Saturday 20 May, 1.45 PM

Etihad Stadium

 

For the second week in a row the Saints lost a player to injury early in the first quarter. Last week it was Jimmy Webster with a hand injury. Against the Swans it was Jack Newnes, who was playing his 100th game, in a sickening head clash which left him concussed. In the game against the Blues Jack Newnes was one of the Saints’ best with 30 touches. With both he and Jimmy Webster out the Saints were robbed of two players who provide the team with much of its cohesion, especially transferring the ball forward from the back half. Whereas the Saints were able to prevail over the Blues in a gutsy win with a rotation down, lightning did not strike twice in the sunlight under a roofless dome against the Swans. Last year’s Grand Finalists are a superior team, and despite their poor start to the season have found their mojo, and are the most likely team in the lower rungs of the ladder to put fear into teams above them. Their season is back on track. Down a rotation, it was not surprising the Saints were scored against more easily in the second half, especially the last quarter.

The injury to jack Newnes wasn’t the major reason for the loss. The Saints had their worst game for the season. The problem was their disposal. In the words of coach Alan Richardson ‘they just butchered the ball’. From the start of the game the Saints looked clumsy. As the game progressed things got worse. They couldn’t get the ball out of the back half, handballs went astray, and worse, short kicks resulted in turnovers, marks in the defensive 50 and easy shots for goal for the Swans. If the Swans had kicked straight the loss could have been worse.

The Saints persisted with the short, switching style game, reluctant to kick down the line and rely on contested ball. Contested ball was an area in which they were on top in the first half; which inevitably turned around as the game progressed.

The Saints bought back Paddy McCartin after some good form in the twos. It is difficult to know how to evaluate his game given the more generic problems experienced by the team. Marvelous Maverick Weller injured his ankle and Nick Riewoldt looks proppy, even though he managed to kick three. Jarryn Geary played his 150th game for the Saints, in what is an eleven year career. He has been a great servant for the club and it is a pity he couldn’t celebrate this milestone with a win. Sam Gilbert impressed, as he always does, with his fearless competitiveness. Jack Carlisle seems to be getting better with every game and Nathan Brown competed well against Buddy Franklin who kicked most of his goals late when the game was done and dusted.

Maybe the Saints were due for a bad game. They are not the only team this season to find themselves on the wrong end of a form yo-yo. They will probably be changes to the team next week. Jack Newnes should be given the week off, with a bye to follow to enhance his recovery. I like the Saints winning, but not at the expense of the health of players – and this is something I advocate for players of every team. Josh Bruce may regain his place and depending on Marvelous Maverick’s ankle there may be a need for another change.

The Bulldogs next week again at Etihad. This will be a good game to win. Hopefully, the roof can be closed to stop Saints being forced from the game with injuries early in the first quarter.

Go Saints!!

 

St. Kilda   3.2   5.4   7.5   10.8 (68)

Sydney      4.2   7.3   12.8   18.10 (118)

 

Goals

St. Kilda: Riewoldt 3, Gresham 2, Membrey 2, Acres, McCartin, Roberton.

Sydney: Franklin 4, Hannebery 2, Paley 2, Cunningham 2, Towers, Reid, Kennedy, Tippett, Hayward, Newman, Hewett, Rohan.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Roberton, Ross, Acres, Billings, Steele.

Sydney: Hannebery, Lloyd, Kennedy, Newman, Papley.

 

Umpires: Mitchell, Mollison, Stevic.

Crowd: 29,778.

Our Votes: Hennebery 3 (Sydney), Lloyd 2 (Sydney), Kennedy 1 (Sydney).

Leave a Comment

*