Saints too strong for young Demons

Is Sunday Twilight football a friend or a foe? It’s certainly worse when you’re following it from your own home, especially since the games are on Foxtel and I don’t get to watch them. However, in saying that, these matches aren’t that bad to attend, giving myself more time earlier in the day to do others things, especially with the school holiday trend of waking up past or close to midday.

I went off to Etihad Stadium searching for a competitive effort from the red and blue. OK, it’s safe to say that we were never going to win the match, as St.Kilda’s recent record and our record at Docklands suggests. I arrived into the stadium an hour and a bit before the match started; it felt great to be early. The final teams were released- Koschitzke out, Dawson in. Is having Justin Koschitzke out of the side a good thing? Probably, since we left Warnock out of the team today, who happened to be having set shots on goal before the game’s commencing.

The Demons burst through the banner in white attire, celebrating Jared Rivers’ 100th game, who went out to toss the coin, and won and pointed to the Lockett sign. With Koschitzke out, the Saints were fielding a questionable line up. Stanley, Pattison, Gardiner and McEvoy were all in the team- three ruckman and one capable ruckman- three of whom are young, inexperienced players. The lack of forwards for the Saints was highlighted- Goddard started out of the square, but Schneider started at the bounce. Frawley went to Milne. The Saints’ stamped their authority right from the word go- and it was painful to watch. Yes, Jamie Bennell kicked the first behind, but that was nothing. It was the ball getting of Montagna, Hayes and Dal Santo, and even Michael Gardiner, along with the space in the St.Kilda forward line that set up the first goal to young Jack Steven. Goals from Milne and Dal Santo followed. 3.3 to 0.1. Jake Spencer came on the field, and dropped an uncontested mark over the boundary line. One real positive was Jack Trengove- 9 possessions in the first quarter, all with class. Jetta replied quickly, but Dunn missed from point blank range. However, something clicked that brought Melbourne back in to the game. Perhaps it was Brendon Goddard, who gifted Spencer with a set up a goal on the run from Green. We were one point behind at the break and I was actually feeling confident.

The second quarter didn’t start well. Cheney smashed Goddard in the ribs as he marked it, giving him a fifty which ended up with a strong mark and goal to Rhys Stanley in the goal square. The Saints kicked ahead- the margin was back out to 17. Needing a spark, it came from Brad Green. Davey set him up for a goal on the run which squeezed home from just inside the arc. Jack Watts was playing quite easily the best game of his short career. When he marked and put the ball through the sticks, it was back to four points. Milne , kicked his second, and gave off another one to Stanley, who misjudged the ball in the goal square and missed it completely as it smashed in the post, which gave the crowd something to laugh about. Green was playing well in the middle of the ground, as were McKenzie and Moloney, but we just couldn’t stamp our authority. Cheney again hit Goddard and gave away another fifty, giving Goddard an easy goal. Half Time, Saints by 16.

This game was beginning to sum up Melbourne- a heap of missed chances. Jones, playing one of his best games of his career, partly due to the fact he was running free, kicked a goal, as did Milne, who kicked his third and final goal of the day (it was an up and down day for the St.Kilda forward). A couple of chances went wide of the mark for the Saints, including an easy one from Milne, which received a chorus of approval from the Melbourne cheer squad. We lifted. A couple of unlikely sources got us back into the match: Bennell, who kicked a ripper from the boundary line, and Dunn, a long bomb from 55. Goddard, who starred, set up Schneider, who kicked another. Bennell almost repeated his feat but hit the post, and Dunn kicked another, albeit untidily along the ground when it wasn’t necessary. The margin was back to 16 as the three quarter time siren blew.

Unfortunately, the last term was a nightmare. The Demons didn’t even get the ball into their fifty until more than halfway through! Lenny Hayes kicked two (acting) Captain’s goals, the second a classy left foot snap. Schneider kicked another. Montagna kicked another. The margin was soon extended to 43 points. Jamar, who tried all day (with a bit of help from Spencer) missed a set shot, but Trengove kicked a classy goal on the run. The Saints spent the last few minutes playing kick-to-kick, which, obviously, is what you can tell that Fisher, Blake, Dawson and Gilbert drool over. Game over- 15.10 100 to 9.11 65.

As I walked to Southern Cross Station amongst a plethora of supporters I realised that there were positives for the Demons- McKenzie, Green, Moloney and Trengove were all good. But I thought Watts was very impressive. 18 possessions, nine marks and a goal. He has the fitness to run up the ground and take marks on the wing, which he did tonight. He kicks the ball very well, and can mark well. It’s probably just his decision making that needs to be improved. It would be a hard task to pick best on ground; about 10 St.Kilda players could have been chosen. Lynden Dunn has gained my vote of approval over the last two weeks; he’s exceeded my expectations and played well in two losing sides. Wonaeamirri has suffered a shoulder setback, but Jurrah could well be back next week after an impressive performance in the VFL. To lighten up the day I spot Jordan Gysberts on the train platform, wearing a suit. We need him back, too.

St.Kilda 3.4—8.5—11.7—15.10 (100)

Melbourne 3.3—5.7—8.9—9.11 (65)


St.Kilda: Milne 3, Montagna 2, Hayes 2, Schneider 2, Goddard, Jones, Dal Santo, Steven, Fisher, Stanley.

Melbourne: Green 2, Dunn 2, Trengove, Bennell, Moloney, Watts, Jetta.


St.Kilda: Montagna, Hayes, Schneider, Goddard, Jones, Gilbert, Dal Santo, Fisher.

Melbourne: Green, Trengove, Dunn, Jamar, McKenzie, Moloney.

Umpires: Kennedy, Jeffery, Keating.         Crowd: 31,993 at Etihad Stadium.

My Votes: 3. Leigh Montagna (STK), 2. Lenny Hayes (STK), 1. Adam Schneider (STK).

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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