The Saints show they are the real deal after smashing Port

by Josh Barnstable

I remember the Preliminary Final in 2004 when these two teams played at this venue. The Power got home by 6 points, robbing St Kilda of a Grand Final place. That was a classic ‘finals match’. And tonight has that feel again. The Power, 3 wins and 1 loss so far in 2009 go into the match against St Kilda as favourites, despite the Saints having won by a combined margin of 180 points against the two Western Australian teams in the past two weeks and sitting atop the ladder with a percentage of 200. I look forward to this match, and with the rain and wind that has been falling all day, i also look forward to spending 3 hours in my warm room watching this match.

As we know, it is the ANZAC Round, today being Anzac Day Eve. The players are lined up and The Last Post is played followed by the Australian National Anthem and both teams look ready. The Power win the toss and kick to the left of screen, whatever end that is called at AAMI Stadium. It is slippery, wet, windy and cold over their, and after the game tonight we will see where St Kilda really stand. The first quarter starts and the first 5 minutes or so go by without a score. I’m hoping there will be at least 6 goals kicked by one of the teams tonight. Michael Pettigrew makes his first blunder of the night after kicking from the wing into the midfield where Nick Riewoldt runs on to the loose ball and rams home the first goal of the match. Andrew McQualter kicks another one after a free kick 15m from goal. The Power get their first goal after Brendon Lade receives a 50m penalty which takes him to the goalsquare for his 100th goal at AAMI Stadium. The Saints reply though, Stephen Milne marked and goaled from a tight angle, Jarryn Geary kicked an unsure kick inside 50 to Brendon Goddard who handballed to a pack of players. Geary is streaming through that pack and takes the ball before kicking the goal. Then Riewoldt takes a strong, juggling mark against Troy Chaplin and kicks his second goal, the Saints lead by 22 points. The final goal of the quarter comes from Milne after he marked on the boundary line, then did what he does best. He played on, ran around and snapped the goal to give the Saints a lead of 27 points at quarter time, 6.0.36 to 1.3.9. Sam Fisher and Lenny Hayes both have 11 touches while Chaplin and Domenic Cassisi have 6 disposals each.

The second quarter begins and the Power make a bundle of errors. Two of their defenders collide which allows Riewoldt to stroll in and kick his 3rd goal. Robert Eddy gets underneath the ball inside 50 and takes the mark before kicking the goal to take the margin out to 42 points. Hayes keeps his cool under pressure to squeeze a kick out to Adam Schneider who marks and goals from 50m before an absolute gem from Milne. He gathered the ball while running towards the boundary line before dropping the ball onto his right boot which, angled perfectly, bounced through for the goal of the night. The Saints had held their opponent goalless in a quarter for the 2nd week in a row, the Saints leading by a massive 56 points, 10.5.65 to 1.3.9. Hayes has 23 touches while Alipate Carlile is on 13 possessions.

The second half begins and I’m really starting to regret picking Port Adelaide to win. Especially after a long, running goal from 50m by Hayes from the toughest spot on the ground to get a goal. This was followed seconds later by a Luke Ball goal after a quick clearance saw the ball in Ball’s hands as he streamed towards goal. The Saints led by 68 points after just a minute played in the third quarter. The Power responded with their first score since the 28th minute mark of the first quarter after Daniel Motlop outpointed his opponent to snap a goal before Warren Tredrea’s hard running to mark a ball saw Port Adelaide’s 3rd goal kicked. Riewoldt finished the quarter with his 4th goal to take the margin out to 65 points at three quarter time, 13.9.87 to 3.4.22. Hayes has 26 touches for the Saints while Fisher is on 25 possessions. For Port, Travis Boak has 20 disposals.

As the final quarter starts, the Saints look well on their way for their first win against Port Adelaide at Footy Park since 1997. The Saints start strongly with the first two goals through Schneider and James Gwilt to take the margin out to a game-high 77 points. The Power responded with goals through Chad Cornes and Tredrea. They had a chance at a late goal through Boak after the siren but it was touched on the line. The Power had been given a massive thumping, losing by 66 points, 5.6.36 to 15.12.102. Hayes finished with 32 possessions while Jason Gram and Fisher ended on 30 and 28 disposals respectively. For the Power, Cassisi and Steven Salopek finished on 27 touches each. Hayes capped off the great night with the Peter Badcoe Medal, awarded to the player judged best on ground in the match between these two teams.

After tonight’s game, I think the Saints are the real deal. They will be the team to beat Geelong during the season. They will be the team Geelong will beat in the Grand Final.

Port Adelaide 1.3–1.3–3.4–5.6.36
St Kilda 6.0–10.5–13.9–15.12.102


Port Adelaide-Tredrea 2, C. Cornes, Lade, Motlop

St Kilda-Riewoldt 4, Milne 3, Schneider 2, Gwilt, Ball, Hayes, Geary, McQualter, Eddy


Port Adelaide-Cassisi, Salopek, Boak

St Kilda-Hayes, Fisher, Riewoldt, Gram, Milne, Geary, Dawson

Crowd: 25,426


3 Votes: Lenny Hayes (STK)
2 Votes: Sam Fisher (STK)
1 Vote: Nick Riewoldt (STK)

Leave a Comment