On the Thursday of each week of St Kilda’s season, we take a stroll down memory lane and take a look at memorable clash in St Kilda history from the upcoming round.
Western Bulldogs vs St Kilda, Round 9, 2000
Western Bulldogs 3.5, 9.5, 10.7, 16.9 (105)
St Kilda 4.1, 7.5, 15.8, 16.8 (104)
Crowd: 35,505 at Colonial Stadium, Friday, May 5, 7.40pm
When St Kilda stormed over the top of Geelong to take out a soul-stirring win in Round 10 of 1999, they moved to third on the ladder with their seventh victory of the year, and near premiership favouritism.
Not a year later, the Saints, under now second-year coach Tim Watson, would be winless in Season 2000 by the time they met Bulldogs on a Friday night at Colonial Stadium in Round 9; going into that game they would have won just three of their last 20 matches.
This would be the game that gave St Kilda fans the unforgettable image of Max Hudghton walking off the ground in tears, after the Saints led by 31 points at three-quarter time, only to capitulate in the final term and lose by one point.
Peter Everitt, who was forming one prong of an effective three-tiered attack also involving Barry Hall and Stewart Loewe, marked strongly and converted late in the third to take the margin beyond five goals, and it seemed that the Saints would finally break through for a victory.
The Bulldogs’ revival would be led by champion forward Chris Grant, who would kick three majors and what would prove to be the winning point in the dying stages of the game.
He sparked the comeback with a brilliant roving goal early in the last quarter from 25 metres out, and become the dominant player up forward for the Dogs.
A mark from 35 metres out on a tough angle with just over a minute to play yielded only a behind, but the Dogs were able to scrap and hold on enough to stop the Saints from scoring.
The siren would sound as the Saints had the ball in their forward line, striving to find something else within their tired bodies to give them the simple taste of victory that had proved so elusive – such a fall from the premiership dreams harboured by all Saints players and fans not one year before.
Scott West, who had gone head-to-head with Saint Robert Harvey all night, was the catalyst from midfield for the Bulldogs, finishing with 38 possessions. The two would be spent by the end of the night, with a consoling embrace from West to the banished Harvey post-siren another memorable image from the match.
The Saints would comfortably finish on the bottom of the ladder by season’s end, and begin a massive rebuild that saw them finish on top by the the aughts. But like there was no prize for finishing 16th in 2000, at the other end of the decade, there would ultimately be no prize for finishing first, either.
Max Hudghton’s post-match emotion, as well as other memorable moments from the aughts, can be viewed in this video put together by Channel 10 in the lead-up to the first match of this decade.
Other installments of “In This Round”:
Round 8 – Essendon vs St Kilda, MCG, 1997
Round 7 – Sydney Swans vs St Kilda, SCG, 1994
Round 6 – West Coast vs St Kilda, Subiaco, 1998
Round 5 – St Kilda vs North Melbourne, Junction Oval, 1933
Round 4 – Collingwood vs St Kilda, Victoria Park, 1993
Round 3 – St Kilda vs Collingwood, Waverley, 1997
Round 2 – St Kilda vs Carlton, Moorabbin, 1989
Round 1 – St Kilda vs Geelong, Telstra Dome, 2004
NAB Cup Grand Final – St Kilda vs Carlton, Waverley, 1996
NAB Cup Semi-Final – Essendon vs St Kilda, Telstra Dome, 2008
NAB Cup Round 2 – St Kilda vs Carlton, Waverley, 1995
NAB Cup Round 1 – Collingwood vs St Kilda, Telstra Dome, 2006