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saints v giants
Finals Warning (Kim Densham/AFANA)

An overcast spring day greeted the 68,465 supporters at the MCG. The Saints started the first quarter strong with an early mark at top of the goal square by Sharman and he made no mistake with the simple set shot. GWS were quick to respond with an entry to the forward 50. Hard running from Toby Greene saw them rewarded with a goal when he ran onto the ball just outside the goal square. A long ball inside 50 almost saw King with an easy roller off the ground for a goal, but the ball trickled away from his boot. Marshall had better luck though when he added the Saints second goal, able to mark the ball at the top of the square. 

GWS again responded, this time through Hogan who marked in the pack seven meters out from goal. His kick around the corner was a goal.  The Giants took the lead for the first time in the game when Toby Bedford kicked long and straight from 49 meters out. His goal was the first kicked for the day from any significant distance. Callum Brown and Daniels added goals to put the Giants three goal up just before quarter time. Sharman could have ended the quarter as he began it with a goal but his kick from the pocket went wide of the big sticks resulting in a behind to the Saints.

The Giants dominated early, but consecutive behinds from wayward set shots kept the Saints in touch. Ross did no favors for St Kilda when he hit the post. A free kick to Butler in the pocket fell short and Callaghan kicked it long. Hogan used his experience to beat the defender and mark 20 meters out, straight in front, and kicked a goal. Riccardi with assistance from Toby Greene added the sixth goal in a row when he kicked off the outside of the boot and put the ball through the middle of the goal posts. Daniel Lloyd, in contested play in the Giants forward pocket, picked up the ball and snapped optimistically and the ball once again went straight and true. Some very clever work by Daniels on the boundary line brought the next goal when he chipped inside to Kelly who kicked the Giants fourth for the quarter.

Sharman finally was able to provide an answer for the Saints as he used his height to mark 30 meters out straight in front and kicked the goal from the set shot. The late in the quarter comeback looked on when Butler hit King 10 meters out from goal, but he missed the set shot. A minute later, the ball was back in his hands and this time he made no mistake from 35 meters out.  Another minute later he had a third set shot and goalled when Taylor was penalized for holding King off the ball. St Kilda fan's celebrations were short live though, as Kelly snapped a long goal from the pocket for the Giants. The rollercoaster continued for them as Brad Hill kicked the next goal just before the half time siren.

The Saints started the second half 23 points down, early behinds to Hill and Crouch could have reduced that further if they were more accurate, but behinds from Toby Green, and Callum Brown also saw the Giants squandering chances. Brown made amends when he marked 20 meters out on end of a lead to Green and kicked the first goal of the second half. 

Just when it looked like the Saints would keep in touch Bedford broke the game open with hard running through the middle of the ground and hit Riccardi, who won the one-on-one contest 25 meters out straight in front. The Giants quickly backed it up when Cumming hit Bedford inside 50, and Bedford's clean skill and silky finish saw the Giants kick their third goal for the quarter.

Owens finally put the Saints first goal of the quarter on the board when he calmly roved the back of the forward pack and kicked a goal from 12 meters out. The Saints were able to get back to back goals as Hill marked and goalled from the forward pocket. Somehow a third goal was had as Wanganeen-Milera snapped a goal just before the 3/4 time siren to reduce the margin to just 25 points.  A review to see if the ball was touched concluded that the score was indeed a goal.

Butler pulled back a point with the first score of the quarter from a set shot. The Giants cleared but the ball came back in and Higgins marked and goalled to bring the margin back to just 18 points. That was the last of the serious threat by the Saints. Tom Green won the next center clearance, and his long kick was marked by Riccardi who marked and went back to goal from a set shot.

The next inside 50 saw Lloyd get the ball to Riccardi but this time his set shot from close range missed. Callaghan from 20 meters out (with the assistance of 50 meter penalty) kicked the Giants fifteenth for the match and put the Giants close to victory. King marked 20 meters out straight in front for the Saints and kicked his third goal for the day to reduce the margin to 25 points, and a rushed behind seeing the final margin a win by 24 points to the mighty Giants.

Ross Lyon may have turned around the Saint's fortunes this season, but his team were not able to put together a winning style of football today. The Giants will now play Port Adelaide in Adelaide next weekend in an attempt to make a Preliminary Final. For the Saints, the season ends with unrealized expectations. 

St Kilda:               2.3  6.6  9.8 11.11  (77)
Greater Western Sydney: 5.3 10.5 13.9 15.11 (101)

GOALS
St Kilda:               King 3, Sharman 2, Hill 2, Higgins, Marshall, Owens, Wanganeen-Milera
Greater Western Sydney: Riccardi 3, Bedford 2, Brown 2, Hogan 2, Kelly 2, Callaghan, Greene, Daniels, Lloyd

BEST
St Kilda:               Steele, Sharman, Marshall, Wanganeen-Milera, Hill
Greater Western Sydney: Greene, Kelly, Whitfield, Ash, Briggs, Bedford, Idun  

INJURIES
St Kilda:               Wood (eye)
Greater Western Sydney: Nil

LATE CHANGES
St Kilda:               Nil
Greater Western Sydney: Stephen Coniglio (eye) replaced in the selected side by Xavier O'Halloran

SUBSTITUTES
St Kilda:               Liam Stocker (replaced Anthony Caminiti at half time)
Greater Western Sydney: Nick Haynes (replaced Isaac Cumming in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 68,465 at the MCG

Article last changed on Sunday, September 10, 2023 - 3:13 PM EDT


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