On Carlisle

by Tom Briglia

“I’d like to thank Hawthorn for their professionalism” – Adrian Dodoro

What should have been a simple, uninsightful trade period wrap is now a simple, uninsightful look at the worst of footy journalism and journalism when it comes to treating footballers, with attitudes towards rape thrown in for good measure. And then, of course, the operations of the AFLPA, and the power now wielded by players and their agents.

But let’s start vaguely from the start.

Also does anyone genuinely not think the timing of this video being released was suspect at best? A Current Affair would have been holding onto this for at least a number of days. And also if you’re going to take potshots at St Kilda for their culture and this being “another fuck-up” (which I wouldn’t agree with going by my stance of players and illicit drugs alone, but we’ll get to that) then surely you have a crack at Essendon for being responsible for providing the environment led him to that kind of thing? And this is before talking about Essendon running a pharmacologically experimental environment on its players, regardless of WADA finding the individual players guilty or not.

“Could this be one of the biggest footy scandals of the year?” Someone had to physically go into a recording booth at Channel 9 and actually say those words in a specific tone knowing it would be used for the ACA story that night. Let me guess – it was about the rape allegations against the Hawks players, yeah?

No of course it wasn’t, silly me. Hawthorn is a big team with a winning culture. That’s enough to sway what’s in the public interest when it comes to rape allegations against taking an illicit substance.

For good measure, Collingwood’s own version of this was swept under the rug ASAP in the aftermath of the 2010 premiership. Collingwood fans took on Mick Malthouse’s quarter time tirade directed at Milne in Round 3, 2010 for the remainder of his career but I’m pretty sure I never heard them booing Dane Swan for being convicted for bashing a cleaner with two other top blokes. But he won a Brownlow and plated in a premiership team so I guess he made amends.

Again, if you’re big enough and successful enough. If Jake had gone to Collingwood do you think ACA would have touched the story? Tracy Grimshaw might be a Saints supporter but that would mean fark all in this. Going back a day or so, if Jake and McConville had spoken to the AFLPA about this and he was going to Collingwood do you think they would have told them to keep it quiet and just wait until after the trade to spring the surprise? A perverse outcome is that whilst Carlisle is having his contract rewritten by the club (and will cede a strike next to his name under the new drug policy), McConville actually can’t be sanctioned by the AFLPA because he was acting on their advice. This actually does matter if reports are correct that we wouldn’t have completed the deal had the contents of the video been known to the club earlier. Incredibly perhaps, Eddie McGuire cracked the Ahmed Saads (it was brief, but thanks Ahmed) but still managed to speak sense on the issue and noted the power imbalance of the AFLPA and the individual players as opposed to the clubs. I don’t know if the AFLPA understands that supporters pay their memberships and go to games over decades to support a club, not chiefly the individuals running around.

Either way, for now Essendon has managed to get us again. Not just the Lovett deal, even when we’ve been good and they’ve been bad they’ve given us trouble on the field (see 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010), and otherwise we were scoreboard fodder for them for a century.

The older and more experienced I’ve become as a Saints fan alerts you to more and more bias throughout the media and footballing public against St Kilda as a whole. How would any club smaller than Essendon or Collingwood have fared in the media and in the public’s eye throughout the last couple of years?

Nowhere near well enough when you don’t have an entire newspaper going into bat for you. Sam Landsberger and Jay Clark at the Herald Sun in this case couldn’t wait for the Saints to mess something up. The spectre of Hawthorn loomed large and often led the online edition of the paper – for their faux-presence in the Carlisle trade, in case you were wondering – not for the rape allegations. That was somewhere further down the page.

Dodoro demanding Essendon wanted Billings before negotiations were done? Because he couldn’t gun hard enough for it himself, Jay Clark gets a “respected list chief” as well as Essendon mouthpiece Tim Watson on board to talk up how much sense it makes if St Kilda is “unprepared” to give up pick 5, as if the Saints were likely to turn up to negotiations have not given this whole thing much thought.

Landsberger really got in on the act when Essendon rejected St Kilda’s offer including Essendon’s picks 23 and 25:
“Frustrated Essendon ­officials spent the first week of trade talks waiting for an offer from St Kilda — and rejected it immediately…Despite the mooted deal ­delivering Essendon pick five which it desperately wants, the Dons were insulted and did not consider accepting it…A rival list manager told the Herald Sun the Saints should just get the deal done…’Good clubs find a way,’ he said.”

His excited tweet when the Essendon leaked the rejection to the Herald Sun (amongst literally everything else) simply, er…didn’t stack up given what the situation at the time (and ultimately) was seemed to imply there were literally no further negotiations possible, ever, in getting this specific trade and done and St Kilda had blown because good clubs find a way and I’ll see ya later.

I’m sure Sam would have loved throwing in that last particular quote. “Good clubs find a way”. Never mind that the Bombers requesting Billings from the outset is pathetic overs to begin with. Rather, Clark wrote about it as it as a bold and genius move on Dodoro’s part. St Kilda’s offer might have been overs in our favour but I’m pretty sure it was diluted in its sense of entitlement compared to Dodoro’s initial request. But no, Essendon are made to look reasonable, intelligent and strong-willed.

Do we remember how the Herald Sun reacted to the St Kilda schoolgirl story? I seem to remember the club logo stamped across the front page in the summer following the 2010 Grand Final Replay as the football world rejoiced that St Kilda were still St Kilda – a basketcase of a culture and the founding club with still only one premiership. Good luck telling anyone the actual facts of that saga without having to look anything up (and then trusting what you see enough to be your source). But what do you hear most amongst the standing room wisecracks? “Schoolgirls” and “rapists”.

It’s a slippery slope and the justice system here isn’t perfect (no shit). There’s a few a key issues here.

One is the attitudes and overriding naivety when it comes to footballers taking drugs – of the non performance-enhancing kind, which is a distinction we now have to make because of the Bombers. What is it about illicit drugs that garners such distaste from so many people? Increasingly a higher proportion of people throughout our society have taken these substances. Some a more dangerous than others, some are more addictive than others and this invites the relevant comparisons betweens what illicit drug use accounts for when it comes to public and private disruption as opposed to alcohol and cigarettes. But why are people so against players doing this as opposed to the occasional line done by many people you might know, or perhaps yourself. Yes, there is addiction but that’s on a different plane altogether, in the way alcoholism is to the many of us who drink without it taking over our lives. I’d certainly say the most questionable thing Jake did was film himself doing it and then sending it out to a whole bunch of people. Either way, there’s probably a disconnect between the public and what these illicit substances actually do, and there’s definitely a disconnect between the public and the way they measure footballers.

The uncomfortable thing for Saints fans is something that shouldn’t be uncomfortable to say just because they’re St Kilda supporters. I noted a few others (and myself) pointed out that ACA‘s promo ignored the Hawthorn rape allegations despite its shouting. These were exactly what Stephen Milne was under the most part of a decade but as mentioned it was only when Mick Malthouse – coach of the league’s biggest club and the one that would take out St Kilda on Grand Final (Replay) day – had a crack at him for it that people really decided to take notice and being having their shot at him on game day in a bigger way than the traditional distaste of an opposition small forward. It wasn’t the reporting of allegations that the case had been deliberately botched by police soon after an incident occurred. I dare say very few Saints supporters would have noted that Milne was cited on that night and against Collingwood again two seasons later for using homophobic slurs. Perhaps fewer might have loudly made observations that more recently he pled guilty to a lesser charge of indecent assault in that rape trial, and avoided conviction and was fined $15,000. Again, I didn’t hear Collingwood fans – or perhaps anyone – booing Dane Swan. The fact that one human plays for the club you support does not make them infallible, and nor should it make them or the club as a whole any more or less fallible for that person alone.

There’s one key kind of redemption when it comes to the wider footy world – that of winning. For the most part members and fans don’t genuinely know if a player is a top bloke or not; they’re measured by if they’re a premiership player or if they’re any good, and if they’re a GOP then if get talked up by teammates about what great people they are around the club.

Can this new St Kilda that Finnis, Summers, Bains and Richardson are building make itself great enough to be the Geelong that turned a drink driving Stevie J into a multi-premiership winning great of the club and game? Or the Collingwood that turned a cleaner-bashing (three on one) Dane Swan into a premiership hero and Brownlow medalist? Hawthorn’s won three flags in a row now so two players being investigated for rape, it seems, is no huge deal. No one will do a Craig Hutchison and be over-zealous in their reporting and name the wrong player as involved in the Milne incident. No one will name anyone for as long as possible.

For all of Finnis and co’s good work, for a long time we’ll still be hearing about how we are the old rabble of St Kilda that can never move beyond that one premiership, which we “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of next year. What does it take to move beyond that image? In a game filled with boorish and narrow attitudes, Carlisle playing in a St Kilda premiership seems to be the only thing that will make people reconsider in the foreseeable future.

The RWB 2015 Season Review podcast

by Tom Briglia

It’s that vague time of year again in which Rich and myself break some copyright laws in an attempt to enliven the inane chat that makes up most of our podcasts. In this case, it’s our 2015 Season Review and that rubbish chat is sadly maximised as this one is another feature-length presentation from RWB HQ (this time the Brunswick West one). Who’s in Tom’s Top 5 Hair at the club and who threw up next to Rich in the back of the taxi?

Toothless and tired

by Richard Lee

Round 23, 2015
West Coast 4.4, 7.7, 13.14, 18.17 (125)
St Kilda 2.1, 3.5, 4.5, 4.6 (30)

The faux feature point highlighted by St Kilda and the general footy media in the lead up to the Round 23 clash was about the dual between the “two best Athletes to have played the game”, Nic Nat and Jason Holmes. The Eagles big man stepped up to that errr…plate, dobbing his side’s fourth straight with a speculative left foot snap only nine minutes in. Holmes hadn’t fired a shot at this stage and spent most of the night scrambling to play along.

It was just that sort of the night for all the Aussie Saints out there too though, not just Jason.

But for a slight detour through the second quarter, there was no looking back for the Eagles from that Nic Nat snap. That goal – their fourth – came from only their fifth inside 50. Like Freo had done against us back in round 19, the home side wanted this game sorted by quarter time. At that particular moment it seemed like they had succeeded, yet the Saints chipped away and despite Joey fluffing an open goal – with some help from an errant Maverick Weller pass under no pressure – they got two majors on the board before the first change to give the few supporters in attendance a flicker of something.

Indeed, what seemed like a stemming of the flow actually materialized as a shift in momentum in the second quarter. The Saints pressure game had finally started to heat up; Lonie and Bruce in particular had found renewed vigor up forward and with good reason, seeing as the engine room was starting to claw it’s way into the game. Armitage, Steven and Montagna, and even Ross to a lesser extent, started getting their hands on it and gave the side a chance to set itself up in the forward a little more often.

What actually came of it is indicative of the second half of the season. The side managed one goal and four behinds, despite getting a foothold on the game which drew them alongside the Eagles for inside 50s come half time. All night long, the Eagles power and effectiveness in using the expanses of Domain Stadium was brutal and so, they were able to sucker punch the Saints a couple of times in the second term against the run of play. One counter attack in particular saw a brilliant surge which involved Nic Nat intercepting a handball, getting off a handball of his own – whilst getting tackled by Goddard – which was knockled along by a herd of Eagles and found it’s way to Yeo, then finished off point blank by Cripps via a handball from Josh Hill. A goal that emphatic in its power after a prolonged period of Saints territorial advantage, was a TKO even though the margin was only restored to four goals. It was the epitome of the Eagles ability to overwhelm the Saints with brute force, running and systematic play.

Hugh Goddard – in probably the nights first Hail Mary move – had already been thrown forward in a bid to pep up the Saints forward structure a little, and it worked to a degree, with the young man from Geelong Falcons snagging his first career goal with a fine drop punt on the run.

Two things about this goal: One, it had the conviction about it that reminded me of Jack Billings’ game winner against the Dogs (as well as his searing goal against the Dons last year), whereby Hugh had laser focus on the big sticks despite Roo peeling off into space on his left. Secondly, Hugh received it in space (he actually had time and space to spill the mark first) courtesy of a lovely side step and swift pass from Maverick Weller. This was one of barely a handful of times for the night when a Saints midfielder was able to evade a tackle or break a line with some purpose, and in this instance it was the key the unlocked an open forward line for us.

And ultimately, this lack of cutting edge seriously hampered the side ability to break the Eagles systematic defense and to give the forward line many clear opportunities. Richo has been on record a number of times in stating the Club’s lack of resources in the run-and-carry department and that was underlined again on this occasion.

With the game having effectively been taking away from them, the Saints started to roll the dice at every opportunity in the third term with excessive play-on and handball. Joey (33 disposals) was the lead man in this approach, and despite being made to look toothless at times, his gut running really stood out. Armitage and Steven both tried hard too, but succeeded mainly in skirting the packs and running into dead-ends. Armo’, whether forced through an injury of sorts I don’t know, ended up spending the majority of the night up forward. In the first half he actually had a few decent marking opportunities but he dukes went missing.

Overall, there weren’t many winners for the Saints across the park. Holmes was Nic Nat’s personal doormat; Riewoldt couldn’t impose himself on the game; Fisher just kept eating Josh Kennedy’s dust; and McGovern gave Josh Bruce a bath.

Just on Bruce: whilst he remains the year’s most remarkable story for the Saints and one of their true finds, he does frustrate. His efforts on Saturday night lacked a lot of maturity; his inability to just compete and at least make McGovern and co. earn the marks they were lining up to take was exasperating. The territory game is of utmost importance against the good sides – the Saints actually showed in the second term that when they had the chance to set up their press high up the ground they caused the Eagles trouble and were rewarded with repeat entries. Too often though, when trying to regain this sort of field position, Bruce was caught out of position or lacked the nous to punch when he needed to, to give the likes of Lonie a sniff at ground level. Over and over we saw the Eagles able to reload and get forward because they were able to mark too easily.

It’s great that Bruce has shown how damaging he can be close to goal, but the AFL doesn’t really have any place for players that stick to one position anymore. He’s going to have to work on being smarter in a positional sense and more adept at being that link man. To date Tom Hickey hasn’t exactly shone in that role either, so between him, Bruce and McCartin they’re going to have to get that party started somehow.


The Eagles piled on another 5 goals in the final term. The Saints didn’t manage 5 for the game – they had only 2 scoring shots in the second half. Scoring hasn’t come easily at all against the elite sides of the competition. Tallies of 78, 69, 59, 38 and 30 against the competition’s top four tells a tale.

That second half against the Eagles though felt like a slow motion car crash. It was a really meek and frustrating way to see out the year. As I was mentioning to @Tom_Briglia after the game though: the last two losses against the Swans and Eagles were essentially what most people predicted the majority of the year would be like. That is, the older players looking unable and the younger players simply not being able to step up to their roles as yet. It was just a shame that this was how the curtain was closed on what by and large was a positive year. Positive is a very generic term to slap on the team’s performance, I know. It’s apt though. Six and a half wins is indeed six and a half more than I and many a pundit had chalked for the Club. And Richo would have legitimate reason to be cheesed at not walking away with 9. Losses to Essendon and (to a lesser extent) the Giants in round 1, as well as the Geelong draw, were down to ineffective goal-kicking more than anything.

“Playing to win” was one of Richo’s favourite mottos through the first half of the year, and the fact that The Club had some serious soul-searching chats after back-to-back losses against the Pies and Carlton (in Wellington) in regards to righting the season tells you a lot about how serious the side was about following through on that. I mean, this, after all, is a team that’s not meant to be that concerned with winning for another couple of years.

That’s not to say that scrutiny won’t arrive before then. Like Richo correctly pointed out post-game in Perth, the Club needs to be both patient and impatient in regards to the team’s growth. Of course there will be growing pains when inexperienced talent is asked to fill in big boots; three years in the Giants are still coming to terms with that. All in all the St Kilda Football Club has won 15 and a half games from it’s last 69, since Watters and the Club drew a line through the Thomas/Lyon team. That’s not a scenario that a Club can simply live with without a sense of urgency – particularly one financially strained like the Saints.

There are still considerable question marks too in regards to both the players that are at Seaford (those hyped and un-hyped) as well as how or where the remaining pieces of the puzzle will come from. Elder statesmen like Montagna, Riewoldt and Dempster again were central to any Saints victories this year. You may argue that that only underscores their greatness; their enduring ability to produce. And of course that’s true, but this side needs to create it’s own identity and that means that those veterans need to recede to the background. Just like Boyd and Murphy have become stabilizers for the resurgent Dogs.

Jake Niall’s piece (prior to round 11) stating that the Dees were better placed list-wise than us drew much ire from certain sections of the Saints faithful, most of whom felt vindicated when we got over them by 2 points in that game. The crux of Niall’s argument though rings true and loudly now in the immediate wake of the Rising Star Award. Jesse Hogan took the chocolates, with teammate Angus Brayshaw rounding out the top 5. That’s two more (near) guaranteed stars that the Dees have than the Saints right now.

Billings is the one that comes close but he hasn’t had the continuity to solidify any claims. Dunstan, McCartin, Goddard, Sinclair, and to a degree Lonie, have had their moments. Whilst debates over Hickey, Lee, Ross, and Wright amongst others, still land you with a lot of questions rather than answers. Spencer White will almost definitely not be at the Club next year.

Now, the kicker there is that, most of those players weren’t exactly taken at the top end of the Draft pool. Dunstan, Billings, Acres, McCartin, and Goddard (and Lee/Hickey technically too) will be viewed in a different light though as they’ve been acquired with the types of picks by which “rebuilding teams” are banking on acquiring bonafide stars. You don’t surrender yourself to bottom of the ladder years on end in order to get fillers.


And that’s where the positivity of this year sits. 6 and a half wins is definitely noteworthy, but it’s still just a stepping stone in the process; the (still) big losses at the hands of the Top Four reinforce this. With the oldies being a year older next year, and the drums for the youngsters to step-up getting a bit louder, perhaps the step ahead of the group next year will be a much more treacherous and revealing one – but ultimately a needed one.



Eagles 125 Saints 30

by Richard Lee

You might be wondering where in the hell the last match report for the year is. The answer: it’s coming. It will be up Wednesday night. Being such a god awful game – as well as the last game of the year – it deserves a bit more love. We’ve been trying to hold off unveiling our overall thoughts on what the year actually was like and what it said about where the team’s at. But now it’s time to delve into that – starting Wednesday night.

Stay tuned!

Without a fight

by Tom Briglia

Round 22, 2015
St Kilda 1.5, 3.9, 4.12, 4.14 (38)
Sydney Swans 4.3, 10.6, 15.10, 20.15 (135)
Crowd: 27,856 at Etihad Stadium, Sunday, August 30th at 3.20pm

In the character-based comedy stylings of the St Kilda Football Club Adam Schneider was farewelled today with the opposition supporters having infinitely more reason to be thankful for his services.

He was not just a part of the history-making Swans outfit that broke the longest VFL/AFL premiership drought in 2005, but he was also pivotal the week before in which the Swans won their first final at the MCG for 69 years. Of Course, who else would it be against? (Just as a further tease, the same number of years the Saints took to win out first and still only flag).

That 2005 season would go down as one of the most tumultuous in St Kilda history, and one that for a brief fortnight appeared could be the one that delivered its second flag. Instead the unfancied Swans – whilst they’d finished above us on the ladder in third spot, they were lucky to be there due to Nick Davis’ heroics – ran away with the Preliminary Final in the final quarter. Schneider finished with three straight as the Swans kicked 7.0 to 0.4 in the final term.

I’ve only ever seen one highlight from that game, one day being daring enough to bring myself to watch some footage from it (a YouTube that has since been taken down, but a couple of more in-depth highlights videos of that night have been posted). That on passage is Schneider’s third goal halfway through in the final term to seal the deal once and for all. Tim Lane’s commentary befits the mood and context of that moment wonderfully.

Obviously not the best way to ingratiate yourself to an opposing club’s fans but it was a very popular trade indeed that brought him and Dempster to the club. Curiously (as pointed out in Herald Sun yesterday), the only three players remaining from that match are Goodes and the St Kilda duo.

Schneider brought a slickness to the side that we really needed more of; a goalsneak foil to Milne but one that could play higher up the ground and use pinpoint disposal going into attack.

But so it will be that the 2009 Grand Final will be the defining point of his St Kilda career. Going into the day he’d already banked a premiership as a 21 year-old in just his third season, and for all intents and purposes he should have had a second. He wasn’t the only villain on the day the Saints kicked themselves out of a premiership – Milne, McQualter, Gram and Dempster all wasted multiple gettable chances – but he was the ringleader.

His return of 2.3 doesn’t tell you that his first chance at goal was a snap from directly in front to give us our first major but, as we saw close-up from the Punt Road end pocket he tried kicking the proverbial off the Sherrin and missed. Nor does it tell you about the moment that will be branded painfully, searingly into my memory will be his miss in the last quarter that would have set the tone and put breathing space between ourselves and the Cats. At the time it was another miss we feared might come back to hurt us in the worst possible way, and now it hurts immensely.

I’ve never seen footage from the game; I still turn away when a highlight appears on TV and I know it’s from the game (including when watching the 2009 Season Highlights DVD). And so I’ve seen Scarlett in the seconds before “the toepoke” but I still don’t exactly know what it looks like (likewise Chapman’s goal). But this Schneider moment is still clear in my mind, from the viewpoint of our seats at the other end of the ground. It’s as much the feeling I had at the time as well as the visual memory itself. When he broke clear into space, well inside range, the first instinct was that he would kick it. But in the wider context of what the kick meant this was a completely foreign position to be in. When he broke clear, I remember thinking…well, I don’t know if I want to say I felt “this is it”, because the goal in itself wasn’t going to win it at that point, rather, that if he kicked it we would be very difficult to shake from there. But for that brief moment before he physically kicked it we were going to be in that incredible position in the last quarter of a Grand Final. His getting the ball and heading for goal on his own seemed to represent the situation we were in: there were no obstacles; no thunderbolts from the footy gods, no personal hang-ups. It was only space; I guess “weightless” is the best way to describe how I felt. The only thing standing in our way from this point would be ourselves. And within seconds, so it proved to be. The kick curled to the right and missed.

Maybe it was the 21 year-old frame of mind I was in at the time, but in writing this even now I can feel myself getting worked up about how I felt. There are few singular moments in St Kilda’s history I personally feel so pained about; so simply sad about. For a few seconds I thought we were on our way. But we gave it up and ultimately lost it. That’s a long way down.

From that point on his key contribution was set in stone, officially so after the Grand Final Replay and the team was psychologically ruined. Time would run out for him well before he would make it anywhere near another Grand Final in which he could atone for that day. It raised its head again this year against the Bombers early in the season. A missed set shot from directly in front to put us up by over a goal with several minutes left; the resulting kick-out was taken straight up the other end for what proved to be Travis Colyer’s winning goal. It didn’t prove to be as much until after Schneider missed from 15 metres out directly in front.

Every player from the 2004-2010 era who retires feels like a victory for everyone that enjoyed seeing the Saints fail to win a premiership throughout it, and for those who thoroughly enjoyed the St Kilda schoolgirl saga to bookend it (as an entree to the dour awful 2011 season). We’re that far away from those Grand Finals now that we’re more prone to thanking Schneider for his work with Lonie (surely he takes #13?), Sinclair and Minchington in the immediate sense of what we’re losing. Unfortunately, as a St Kilda supporter, his career will be defined by that moment on that amazing, awful, defeating day. In a wider context, his career’s peak will have come with the Sydney Swans as part of their 2005 premiership, with him personally disposing of St Kilda en route.

Hard to review a (non-retiring) player’s game at this stage of the year without turning it into a faux-season review, or “Where are they at?” BigFooty-style irrationality convention. It’s hard to review anything with this one in that light because I went to the Savoy for lunch and drinks with RWB cohort Rich, Dad, Lewis and family friend Jim, but we already know the Savoy will have to echo it’s comeback act from the time that construction begins on the 68-floor tower on its site.

I keep coming back to this but I always will – Mum and Dad returning to the country gave a welcome expanded dynamic to gameday. The problem was that they so late in the season and only now I was getting used to the pre- and post- match drinks, burgers and chats, let alone the games themselves. And just like that, with next week a meaningless match over in Perth, the season is essentially over for the supporters.

The takeaway from last week was the performance of J Holmes; big leaps, good hit-out numbers and some tapwork that gave our midfield its best service for years. Holmes opened up early with a big leap and healthy tap, Armo winded from hit, Schneider caught immediately

Holmes looked quite lost for much of the game, with Mike Pyke the beneficiary. Pyke floating forward on his own was a dreaded but predictable outcome, and Tippett helped himself at the right time of year to plenty of the action as the ruck foil and up forward.

The signs weren’t that good whichever way you looked at it. Even our better passages were wasted. Holmes out of the ruck to Armo, to Ross, to Murdoch and then to dicking around should simply have been a straightforward entry to the advantage of a moving forward in 50. Instead, the Swans forced a stoppage and went straight to the other end and a chance to reset at a throw in next to their own goals.

Tom Hickey obviously either got comfortable or injured after signing a two-year deal last week, doing fark all and subbed out just after half-time with leaner numbers than J Holmes. Playing as a forward he kicked one behind and elsewhere he was disappointing, punctuated by weak efforts in a marking contest against Grundy in front of the members and then a weak tackle on Pyke, which ended with Riewoldt flying back into a marking contest and Tippett goaling immediately.

Novelty team line-ups mean novelty passages of play. Anything featuring Murdoch (like the above) probably qualifies, but he and the poorly-haired Seb Ross were busy across the ground early, linking up for Ross to hit the post. Other behinds registered at quarter-time were barely decent opportunities (e.g. Gilbert off the ground from 12 rows back behind the goals), but such was Sydney’s pressure and our ability to execute, pressured or not.

Armo didn’t kick a great chance for goal on the run after some good work from a Schneider and Sav double team, and the footy went straight up for Mike Pyke running into goal with Holmes nowhere near it. What could have been a three-point margin was now 15, and moments later 21, despite the Swans leading the scoring shots count 9 to 8 at that point.

Things were looking really droll when Dempster came out of defence and just vaguely kicked it out of play. No tact, no cunning, no plan from the wider team to give him something further down the ground. But we plummeted further with some more St Kilda comedy gold as Armo strolled in to goal and missed, Webster dropped an easy mark in defence and Tippett and Goodes goaled immediately afterwards. Murdoch’s nice kick after goal the half-time siren was barely sugar coating.

As far as those booing Goodes goes, several points to make. Firstly, a few are jumping to their own defence or that of others that they’re booing him because he’s a “thug”, “diver”, “cheat”, etc. They would then have to argue that people have begun booing him en masse in recent times for all of those things specifically, and just purely coincidentally after he called out someone making a racist comment directed at him and then after performing an indigenous culture-themed war dance on field. Because no crowd ever booed him in the past unless after he’d done something specific during a game, as all players are susceptible to (and you’ll be hard-pressed to find too many of those games). I can guarantee you no St Kilda crowd has ever booed him like that before any on-field incident involving Goodes and race (and I invite anyone to prove otherwise). Goodes was clearly booed the first time he went near the ball, with muted boos the following couple of instances. But it was back in the second half, particularly after a free kick decision in front of the members wing went against St Kilda, as if he made the decision himself. Rather, this was about a number of people feeling they had been justified booing because in their mind this was loosely linked to the “diver” theory, even though he actually hadn’t played for the free (and didn’t for the entirety of the game). This carried on clearly to the end of the game (see Goodes’s touch in the final seconds), and people were still trying to at least bat it away as something they could barely hear at the ground (again, refer to the video). This is something that happened, whether you did it or not. This is what a St Kilda crowd sounded like. And I hated every second of it. I don’t think the club will acknowledge it, quietly putting it down to a minority of supporters that caused a minor stir that will disappear if no one mentions it. That would be an awful shame and a rather hypocritical stance given the wonderful work the club has put into involvement in the annual Pride March and launching a “Pride Match”. If you’re accusing me of putting words in their mouth then please tell me what kind of take no comment would reflect on the club’s behalf.

By three-quarter time the game was ready for some more comedy and the club decided for whatever reason to play Tex Perkins’ version of the club song, which was met with exactly zero fanfare considering we were about to endure another quarter Sydney mopping the floor with us.

We just didn’t look like it all day, and specifically Josh Bruce didn’t look like it all day. Lest We Forget his 20-game streak of kicking at least one goal in each game. He wasted his own chances, whether they were dropped marks and his shot with time and space in the last quarter. There was also his mark a second after the three-quarter time siren within range, and also his give-off to the running Webster who didn’t even kick for goal.

So what the hell to say for a dirty day all round? This season deserved a better send-off for the members and fans, and a number of those let themselves down on the day. On the field this was more along the lines of 2014, and it’s easy to feel for a moment like we’re back amongst the bottom few wondering where the hell we’re going. Next Saturday looms as another forgettable match in an era which is purely for bridging purposes; to get us to the other side. That’s all well and good when you think of watching a team develop over a season and seeing the improvement of players week to week, but sometimes we just need to get to the end of a season and have a rest. One week to go.