Bombers vs Saints flashback

A sobering Sunday

jack nicholson

It’s easy to throw the baby out with the bath water anytime you incur an 86 point loss – whether you’re challenging or you’re a minnow. In reality, this decimation just came one week later than most of us thought it would.

That’s not to say it was fun at all, or that I’m completely accepting of it. I scoffed down a block of Lindt chocolate quick smart on the quiet tram ride home from the Dome.

And I’m sure the conversation of whether the team signed off on “the trademark” was a rather brief one post-game.

This was the type of loss where when you’re a good team, one with ambitions, you potentially scrap the Monday review and move straight onto next week without looking back at all. After quarter time the result was never in doubt and to be fair, the Saints were lucky to be in it scoreboard-wise for that long.

When it’s all said and done though, win, lose or draw yesterday the Saints are still in rebuild mode. And when you’re consigned to that, you expect there to be days like these where, as a fan, you just have to suck it up to a degree. Granted, that’s much more easily done when visibly there seems to be some pieces of the puzzle falling into place already.

Right out of the gate though, the Saints were dead flat. Scott Thompson had a picnic in the middle; he and Sam Jacobs had their own game going in the center square all day long. Tommy Curren did a nice job in curtailing Paddy Dangerifield (19 disposals) for the afternoon, but aside from him the Saints didn’t have any winners through the midfield. Lenny Hayes toiled very hard, Josh Saunders bobbed up here and there but it was a cakewalk for the Crows otherwise. If it wasn’t David Mackay bursting into space unhindered, then it was Brodie Smith, or Matthew Jaensch, or Kyle Hartigan or RWB Favourite Rory Sloane. Those 5 had 93 uncontested possessions between them.

And uncontested possessions were really the damning area of the game for the Saints – the Crows had 56 more than their counterparts by half time. Most of the bog-standard statistics were relatively even, but the Adelaide did what they pleased in that regard. I guess the most damning part about it is that it’s no secret the Crows thrive on run-and-carry football, particular through the corridor where it felt like the Saints had laid out a red carpet for them at times.

One of the few game notes that I jotted down from my vantage point on the Saints members wing, was Roo’s big set shot major at the 9 minute mark of the second term. This goal brought the margin back to five goals. That was effectively the last glimmer of a comeback for the Saints. It was quickly snuffed out soon of course.

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St Kilda 50, Adelaide Crows 136

whatthehellwasthat

“What the hell was that?”

Yeah, we’re gonna have to put up with that kind of thing from time to time for a while yet. But it’s a big come down after the positivity of the first three games of the season.

@RWB_Rich will be taking care of this week’s review, hopefully having it up here for you quicker than I have in recent times.

@RWB_Rich’s Eljay Connors Medal votes for the game…

3 votes – S.Dempster

2 votes – L.Hayes

1 votes – N.Riewoldt

Mentions of honor: Josh Saunders, J.Geary.

Submit your votes in the comments section…

 

Roll with it

baseball

For weeks prior to round 1 I had pencilled in the Saints as the wooden spooners for 2014.

Skip to yesterday at 4:13pm and I semi-confidently tipped St Kilda to get a W over the Crows. A win that would put the Saints into the 8 at 3-1. Wowsers.

There’s a number of ways to look at this incredibly hasty turn of events and my crystal ball skills:

1. My pre-season predictions are bollocks.

2. lol yolo

3. It’s only round 4

4. Peptides?

To borrow a quote from…everyone, it’s a bit of all of the above. Okay, not number 4 – on advice from the RWB Legal Department.

Truth to be told though, it’s been a marvelous job by Alan Richardson and the coaching staff so far. In the space of a month (on the back of the NAB challenge too) they’ve really re-injected some excitement and faith back into the Saints faithful; not to mention scraped back some respect from some of the competition in the process (a little). And in turn, also taken our minds – at least until this week – off of the dire state that the club is in off-field.

Quickly after taking the coaching job Richo publicly identified some key areas that the Saints had to focus on and rectify. To date, they’ve tightened up those areas magnificently. Namely, the pressure on the opposition and the team defensive structure is much more consistent and resolute.

Of course, that’s not where it ends. Individuals have lifted their output and played their roles dutifully. Even the greenest of the youngsters, such as Eli Templeton and Luke Dunstan, have been remarkably diligent in fitting into the side and playing their role.

Tomorrow Jack Steven returns to the fold too. Even though I think he’ll be confined to the sub’s vest for much of the day, it’s a real welcome sight to see the team’s best player back amongst it. One thing the Saints have still been short of is, smart ball use and penetration through the midfield. In Steven, they regain a player that has these attributes.

Sidebar: does Steven’s inclusion make Clint Jones a step closer to the OUT door?

Just to stick the finger up at all the haters, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beau Maister came out and kicked 3 or 4 this week. He had a bit of a habit in the last 18 months of pulling out a semi-potent performance against weak opposition every time all hope in him was close to being lost. Back in 2012 – when he was in his vintage form – he snared 11 goals versus the Giants and Demons (from three) games.

I’m totally in favor on Tom Lee returning in his place, and though that won’t happen tomorrow it seems like a matter of time. That said, I don’t really get angry at Beau only frustrated. Frustrated because he’s a guy that obviously has natural ability – one in 8 marking contests he’ll fly magnificently – he also gets to the right spots on the ground very often, and he does so while not getting in Roo’s way – exception being last week when he inadvertently polaxed Riewoldt. So it’s just frustrating that he can’t consistently do the vanilla things within his role such as take marks on the hit-up lead, convert reasonably easy set shots and hit targets with his disposal.

Luckily, for him and St Kilda as a whole, Nick Riewoldt has been white hot to start the season. He’s been uncharacteristically efficient too – though last week his kicking in front of goal wasn’t as precise. It was telling last week that when Roo drifted out of the game (thanks Beau), the Saints lost their way.

Right now though he’s the clubhouse leader in the Trevor Barker Medal. If the votes were tallied tomorrow I’m sure Luke Dunstan and Eli Templeton would be in the top 10; two guys we couldn’t distinguish from a bar of soap a couple of months back.

@newnsey, Josh Saunders, and Nathan Wright would all come into play too.

Just on Nathan Wright – he’s going to have his work cutout with Eddie Betts tomorrow. Wright has great straight-line speed and has acquitted himself well as a small defender role so far, but Betts has the ability to make anyone look pedestrian on his day.

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Connolly and Finey talk Junction Oval move