Round 6 – Melbourne v St. Kilda: Saints’ Halo Lassoes Demons For A Lucky 13th Time

By Braham Dabscheck

Saturday 30 April 1.45 PM

Etihad Stadium


Life, as we are told by those who know such things, is nothing more or less than a battle between good and evil.  While elsewhere evil seems to prevail, in the wonderful world of Australian Football goodness has won out time and time again with the Saints prevailing over the Demons in the round 6 (66 Devil’s Number) clash, now, for the thirteenth time in a row.

The Saints were not up to the mark against the Giants last week. They had tried to play a short inside game, running the ball into attack to no avail. After the game coach Alan Richardson said that the Saints had had more success with a longer kicking game. He and the coaching staff made significant changes to both the team and its style of play. They all worked. Sam Gilbert was moved to the back line to become the third tall and provided more dash out of the back half for the Saints. Nick Riewoldt spent most of the game ‘high up’ in the forward line and did less running. He dominated the first half, took 14 marks and looked more fresh and aggressive as a result. He faded in the second half but was crucial in setting up the Saints’ win.

Tim Membrey was brought into the forward line as a third tall. He had his best ever game kicking 5 for the match, including a purple patch in the third quarter where he booted 3 in a few minutes. The Saints also included Blake Acres, who for reasons which remain a mystery was dropped against the Giants. He had a breakout game where he dominated the second and third quarters where the Saints piled on 6 and 8 goals respectively. He kicked a clutch goal in the second quarter to put an end to a looming Demons’ fightback. The ball was tossed in on the left hand side of the Saints’ forward 50; the toss in was short, Acres ran in and caught the ball, wheeled away from the pack towards the boundary line and with a low kick on his left foot put it through for a 6 pointer.

The Saints looked like they were up for it at the start of the game. However, they conceded 2 goals within the first couple of minutes and the signs were ominous. They then steadied and traded goals with the Demons for the rest of the quarter. They also kicked 4 points; all of which could/should have been goals. Down by 11 points at the first break things had picked up.

Most of the Saints’ goals came from long kicks into the forward line or coast to coast chains along the boundary line. There was less use of lateral passes and kicking backwards. Getting the ball forward quickly caught the Demons out of position with either easy goals scored, uncontested marks and crumbing by even big guys. They did well in contested play with the tackle count improving on last week, with handballs being more astute and moving the ball forward quickly. In previous games the Saints have relied on David Armitage and Jack Steven racking up lots of possessions for a victory. While they both had fine games, the most pleasing aspect of this game is how the workload was shared by all of the team. Beside Blake Acres, Sebastian Ross, Luke Dunstan, and the three Jacks (Billings, Newnes and Sinclair) made major contributions throughout the game.

Next week, the Saints take on North Melbourne who are yet to drop a game. They are due for a loss; one can only hope.

Go Saints!


Melbourne   5.3   8.3   11.5   15.6 (96)

St. Kilda        3,4   9.9   17.11   20.15 (135)



Melbourne: Hogan 7, Watts 2, Frost 2, Bugg, Tyson, Jones, Kent.

St. Kilda: Membrey 5, Riewoldt 3, Bruce 3, Acres 2, Sinclair 2, Dunstan, Newnes, Gresham, Weller, Armitage.



Melbourne: Hogan, Viney, Jones, Vince, Gawn.

St. Kilda: Acres, Riewoldt, Membrey, Steven, Ross.


Umpires: Brown, Meredith, Findlay.


Crowd: 27,260


Our Votes: Acres 3 (St. Kilda), Riewoldt 2 (St. Kilda), Hogan 1 (Melbourne).


  1. Dr Rocket says

    A win for the true believers Comrade.

    This must be the longest run of wins by the Sainters over melbourner ever?

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Fabulous take as usual Braham, good v evil, Saints v Demons, and may the reign continue. Melbourne are improving and they will address their failings this week, so I expect a tougher game next time we meet. Heard a Melbourne supporter on the radio this morning bemoaning the fact that their home game is played in our home turf where we have an advantage. May it remain so for evermore.

  3. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks Braham,

    Reckon St Kilda never beat Melbourne in the 1950s??

    That fabulous win on the June long weekend in 1965 that undermined Norm Smith is most memorable.

    Rod Gillett

  4. Braham Dabscheck says

    Saints beat the Demons five times in the 1950s: 1951 Rounds 4 and 15 (15.8 to 14.7 and 9.6 to 6.12 at the MCG – the Dees only won one for the year); Round 11 1953 (11.7 to 8.21); Round 5 1954 (11.7 again to 5.5) and Round 6 1958 ( 12.7 to 11.12). I saw the 1965 game at the MCG when the Saints won 18.14 to 9.11. I remember Ian Cooper taking a phenomenal mark (I think it was in the second quarter) standing on the shoulders of a player in a pack. I recently tried to track it down on YouTube to no avail. If anyone knows its whereabouts please let me know.

  5. Dr Rocket says

    Thanks Braham,

    Looks like the Saints sneaked a few wins in before Norm Smith took over as coach in 1952.

    That win in 1958 was a bewdy given that it was a Melbourne premiership year.

    Ian Cooper was a ripper player, arguably best afield in the 1966 Grand Final win.
    Shame he got rheumatic fever (/) in 1967 and never really came good again for the Saints.
    But was a prolific goal-kicker for Sandringham in the VFA.

  6. Braham Dabscheck says

    Rocket Rod, I agree with you on Ian Cooper. A great player. You have erred when it comes to the 1958 Grand Final and fear for your life from attacks by flocks of angry Magpies: 1958 was the one that stopped the Demons winning four in a row; something about the Pies suckered the Dees into squaring up and forgetting about trying to win the game. Please, don a disguise and change your name by deed poll while you still can!!

  7. Dr Rocket says

    Oops! It was just that Melbourne were so dominant that year… guess the Saints proved they could be beaten!!!

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