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Sam Mitchell (file photo)

The Saints mauled Hawthorn earlier in the season at the MCG as their midfield and forwards dominated the Hawks. Now late in the season the two teams are not so distant on the ladder at Round 20 and both were outside the top eight prior to this match. Early in the third quarter today the Saints looked poised to repeat the dose, but a late fightback by the Hawks saw them trail by just two goals at the final siren, but still enough to carry the Saints into the top eight.

Played under the closed roof at Marvel, the two teams took a good period to feel each other out.  After seven and a half minutes the Saints put the first serious score on the board when Mason Wood outmarked Jiath in the forward pocket and converted the free kick into a goal.  But they failed to capitalize on good work of the midfield as King, Membrey and Lienart all missed set shots. 

Gunston roved a dropped mark in the goal square to put the first on the board for the Hawks after they won the turnover in their defensive 50 and found open players down the field. But they continued to push the Saints hard and turn the ball over even when second to the ball. Hannaberry showed why the Saints wanted him back in action when luck went his way and his scrubbed kick at goal bounced high over the defenders arms for the Saints second goal.  

It was past the halfway mark of the second quarter when Crouch put the first goal on the board after four missed attempts by team mates.  His free kick coming from a great tackle of Sicily on the goal line.  This was quickly followed up by Dan Butler who crumbed and snapped truly from 25 meters out for goal.

The only other goal came after a prolonged battle in St Kilda's goal square and the ball came free from the pack and Seb Ross snapped the goal on his left foot.  And while they had not set the world on fire it was a comfortable 26 point lead to the Saints at half time.

A long snap from Membrey on the 50 meter arc early in the third quarter saw the Saints start to put a stamp on the game.  Mitch Owens had the quick follow up roving a Hawthorn spoil and rolling home his first goal for the day.  Hannabery drilled a bullet pass at the sternum of King and he split the big sticks from 45 meters out, his first goal for the day after some earlier misses.  It looked like a Saint Kilda rout of Hawthorn was underway.

Sam Butler evened up the score with his brother on the opposite team today when he marked 40m out straight in front and kicked Hawthorn's goal in almost 50 minutes.  It was however only one minute later that Scrimshaw was able to work the pack forward and take the mark at the back, and play on for his first goal of the day for the Hawks. 

Jack Higgins took a good mark running back near the point post and ran around to improve the angle and snapped the goal to halt the Hawks recovery. But the Hawks showed there was still fight left and it was Newcombe marking 30 meters out in the left forward pocket and snapping the goal around his body.  Even with the Hawks showing some fight, it was still the Saints would feel confident with a 34 point lead going into the last quarter. 

Max King kicked the first goal of the last term when Hardwick gave a away a 50 meter penalty which saw the shot taken from point blank range. Jai Newcombe sat under a high ball inside 50 and was infringed in the contest, he went back and kicked the goal as it once again looked like they might give the game away.  McEvoy kicked the Hawk's second for the quarter when he called for the ball at the top of the square and he took the pack mark.  And a third for the Hawks when Scrimshaw banana kicked a close range goal on the line after he marked a kick from Moore over the back of the pack.  

Then the Hawks suddenly woke up the game for real.  Rebounding from the back pocket a long kick inside 50 from the sub, Jeka bounced up for Moore who ran forward hard and kicked the goal. Despite St Kilda throwing an extra man back Breust found himself at the back of the pack as the ball spilled to him and he also goaled from close range. 

The final eight minutes of the game were a scramble and it looked like the Hawks were a chance as the margin dropped to less than two goals.  A late behind by Breust might have made things even more tense for Saints fans,  but In the End St Kilda did enough to hold on. Back in the top eight and finals footy is tantalizingly close for the club, but there's three more rounds of matches to negotiate yet.  

ST KILDA: 2.2 5.7 9.10 10.15 (75)
HAWTHORN: 1.2 1.5 4.6   9.9  (63) 

St Kilda: King 2, Wood, Hannebery, Crouch, Butler, Ross, Membrey, Owens, Higgins
Hawthorn: Newcombe 2, Scrimshaw 2, Gunston, Butler, McEvoy, Moore, Breust

St Kilda: Marshall, Crouch, Steele, Hannebery, Paton, Clark, Sharman, Ross
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Ward, Morrison, Macdonald, Blanck, Nash

St Kilda: Nil
Hawthorn: Morris (shoulder), Koschitzke (leg), Lewis (knee)

St Kilda: Mitch Owens (replaced Tom Campbell in selected side)
Hawthorn: Nil

St Kilda: Ryan Byrnes (unused)
Hawthorn: Emerson Jeka (replaced Josh Morris at halftime)

CROWD: 25,348 at Marvel Stadium

Article last changed on Tuesday, August 09, 2022 - 7:24 AM EDT

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