The Saints’ best win in a decade is their big dream, and the Tigers are back



Twelve years and 10 months ago, St. Kilda defeated Gillan under the roof at Duckland in one of the best matches per game.

Facing them this time was not as good as the classic; But in terms of what it means for Building Saints, it could be their best home and away win since Michael Gardiner engraved himself in history.

At sea against clinical cats in the first half, a messy settlement and lack of pressure contributed to a 22-point deficit early in the second quarter, followed by some of the best offensive football we’ve seen by either side this year.

Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall’s tap work is impressive and Jade Gresham enjoys his already great quarter of the year and is heavily out of the middle, scoring six goals in a row to take the match to the Saints’ throat. It was ruthless, it was relentless, and it was an absolute joy to watch.

Where in the first half, the cats were able to chip around for the unrivaled mark with as much ease as they wished, and cut through the corridors whenever their temper flared, now that they’ve been captured, they’ve run into a swarm of red, black and white. Repeatedly, the short kick was trapped by a desperate loot, or a pathway pass caused by perceived stress. And once the saints won it, they ran away.

Most of the headlines generated about the game centered on that word and deservedly so. But their stubbornness to exploit everything the cats threw at them in the final quarter was just as impressive.

Tom Hawkins scored two goals in the first six minutes to reduce the gap to three points, a relatively small team would have been shocked. The Saints of 2021 must have – and probably the 2020 team too, and while we’re at it we’ll go for every Saints team in the previous decade. But these are not saints.

With the ball moving forward, Paddy Ryder found a place to mark twice within 50 minutes, really hitting the ship in both cases to keep it steady. It was a fitting reward for the man who, more than Gresham, brought the Saints back into the match in the second half.

St Kilder’s reliance on the Rock Rider-Marshall combination has been used as a point of criticism in the past, with the Cents seemingly unable to win both without fit and firing. They have already proved that untruth this year, and it is now clearly a point of strength: with both of them, the sky is the limit. Just look at this tap!

40-34 advantage in clearance, and only 12-11 from the center, it does not do justice; When the saints won it, they had to keep it.

The pair scored four goals (three from Ryder), as well as two from long-range goalkeepers Max King and Tim Membre, and had enough rewards on the scoreboard for further work. If the Saints could put together four quarters like their second half against the Cats, they might be the ones to challenge Melbourne’s possession in the Premiership Cup.

Jack Jones of the Saints is celebrating a goal.

Jack Jones of the Saints is celebrating a goal.

On the other end of town, at the MCG, there was less concern about catching an elastic hawthorn in the bay after Richmond’s initial fears.

Shy Bolton’s talent, Dustin Martin’s return to his best guess and stealing seven goal shots between Jack Reeldt and Tom Lynch, was equally interesting for the Tigers’ continued use of an old-school tactic, which had a tremendous impact. – Twin Rookman.

The Tigers, the team that famously used Shawn Grigg as a backup rack in their 2017 Premiership race, has regularly used both Toby Nankarvis and Evan Soldo to share the load this year. It didn’t always work out, but at least today, and especially in the final quarter, it became clear why the strategy was right.

With inexperienced Max Lynch and Jacob Koschitz going against a forward, the Tigers naturally put the heatouts at 60-22, but it took time to translate the final dominance into clearance. Then, it came in a flood, leaving the Tigers in doubt, winning six of the first seven releases in the final. Tired of Lynch and Koschitz, the Tigers proved to be crucial in winning the day with a larger body.

Both Nankarvis and Soldo had the effect of moving the ball forward, hitting one and two goals respectively, and provided another big body for the Hawks, along with Lynch and Rioldt, to think. But it also helped the Tigers, whose midfield had their weakest link this year, to shade the Hawks, admitting that 2022 was not the toughest test.

If the Tigers take on the challenge in the deep final, then their midfield is key. If the 2017-2020 level is not enough, their backline remains tight and they are at risk of a surge, as the Hawks showed when they threatened to bounce back with a last-minute pile of goals. Their forward line, too, is going to provide a better team than the Hawthorn headaches for the rest of this year.

If the Midras can get their fair share of the ball – and they have 41 more settlements than the Hawks on Saturday afternoon – the Tigers still have the weapon somewhere else to trouble anyone.

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