Round 1 – St. Kilda v Melbourne: Demons Put Saints Into Early Season Hell

 

By Braham Dabscheck

Saturday March 25, 4.35 PM

Etihad Stadium

The Saints and Demons have seemingly been in step march together in recent years as they have steadily moved up the ladder. Last year both had fairly good years, just missing out on the eight.

The Saints have had the wood on the Demons, winning the last fourteen encounters. Records are made to be broken, and guess what, it happened in the opening round of Season 2017.

The game stared slowly. Both sides struggled to find any rhythm with turnovers being the order of the day. The Saints gradually got on top, pressuring the Demons into mistakes. The Saints kicked five in a row during the first quarter; the last by Jade Gresham being something special and bringing back memories of Milney at his best. No wonder they gave him the celebrated number 4. The Saints went into the quarter time break 4 goals up.

Then the game turned. In the first quarter the Saints had used a spare man in the back half to repel Demon  forward moves and initiate attacks. In the second quarter the Demons stopped going long and used their spare man to spread the play.

The Saints spent the rest of the game chasing and when they turned over the ball the Demons chipped it here and there and with a long kick at the right time scored easy goals. The Saints brains trust were unable to work out a response.

Missing three set shots in the second quarter didn’t help matters, but would have only helped to reduce the extent of the loss. In the middle two quarters the Demons had 105 extra possessions and out scored the Saints 13 goals to three. They had a streak where they kicked 10 in a row. Statistical analysis reveals it is difficult to beat teams that do this.

Credit to the Demons, the Saints were simply outplayed. The Saints were beaten at the center bounce, the midfield was down and the big boys at the back were unable to keep up with the more mobile Demon big forwards. Jack Steele had a serviceable first game. Jade Gresham had an outstanding game for the Saints, kicking three and setting up three others. He should play as a permanent small forward.

The Saints best player, by miles, was Nick Riewoldt, kicking four. Late in the last quarter he fell to the ground clutching his knee after a marking contest. There was a hushed silence in the crowd. As he was carried from the ground the crowd rose to its feet, both Saint and Demon supporters, to give him a standing ovation. Well done Demons. The fear was/is that his glorious career may have come to an end. He was later seen walking in the dressing room. The news from the club is that his knee is not as bad as feared. We will see. At best, he won’t be playing for a few weeks.

The Saints have lost the first game of the season. They were not at their best. There is a long way to go. They are smarting and can play much better than this. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and may make a few changes to the team in taking on the West Coast away next week. Last year they performed terribly in interstate games. Turning this around will be a sign that the loss to the Demons was an aberration.

Go Saints!

St Kilda:   6.2  7.8  9.9  13.12 (90)

Melbourne:  2.3  9.4  15.7  18.12 (120)

 

Goals

St.Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Gresham 3, Billings, Armitage, Membrey, Lonie, Dunstan, Bruce.

Melbourne: Garlett 3, Hogan 3, Hannah 2, Petracca 2, Stretch, Watts, Weideman, Jetta, Vince, Neal-Bullen, Brayshaw, Jones.

 

Best

St. Kilda: Riewoldt, Gresham, Steven, Newnes, Geary.

Melbourne: Lewis, Vince, Jones, Oliver, Gawn.

 

Umpires: Chamberlain, Fleer, Ryan

Crowd: 36,249

 

Our VotesLewis 3 (Melbourne), Vince 2 (Melbourne), Jones 1 (Melbourne).

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Braham, very disappointing way to begin. It’s good therapy writing immediately. Have you seen the West Coast score from today. It will be another challenging road trip for sure.
    Excellent report as usual.

  2. Hi Braham,

    I’m very sad we lost the game we were supposed to win. And it was worse than our first game against Port Adelaide last year.

    I just hope it’s a wake up call and we stand together moving towards to win games. We need to show hungry spirits to our opponents. I agree with you that our boys learn from the mistakes and play hard to win next weekend in Perth.

    Go the mighty Saints!

    Yoshi

  3. Braham Dabscheck says

    Dear Double Ys,

    Thanks for your comments. We seem to be all on the same page. You have to be a Saint to be a Saint. Hopefully, they will go west and conquer!

    Braham

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