Stupefying more than electrifying

By Richard Lee

I still am not quite sure how that game was won. It was lost, and won, and lost. And won. And it just happened, and Josh Bruce ended up being a game winner – where am I?

I guess we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot one less time than the Dockers. Seeing this as words on a screen doesn’t lessen the ridiculousness of it.

The quick, just-add-water, headline grabber from this game was The Saints Win Away From Home – finally. Young side growing up; killing off the demons of traveling yada yada yada.

That’s all well and good but, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t live through 2012, 2013, 2014, to be barely clawing onto eighth. Issues are still present in many facets of the Saints game; it’s far too simplistic to say that inaccuracy in front of goal and Dustin Martin is all that’s missing.

With Jack Steven being nullified each week, the midfield looks very one-paced – particularly with Blake Acres out of form and out of the side. As good as Seb Ross has been this year, he doesn’t provide the incisiveness that Stuv does; he doesn’t bring others into the game as easily or as frequently.

Our litany of small forwards continually falls short on impact, both with and without the ball. Weller was anonymous until the last quarter, when he was thrown down back in a hail-mary play to quell Michael Walters. Lonie, after a decent showing against the Suns, reverted to his puppy dog nature of being way too enthusiastic for his own good. And he still can’t lay a tackle, I don’t care what the stat sheet says.

Of course, it was pleasing to see the mental toughness of the group shine through. Bruce worked as hard as anyone on the ground, and in the end it paid off for him handsomely. Richo’s Saints are nothing if not hard-working, and Bruce perhaps typifies that the most.

But that’s the rub.

Bruce, ended up with 3 massive goals in a low scoring affair, yet he still fails to be the aerial spearhead that is needed at centre half-forward. In all honesty, I had set aside to write and finish this match report last night, but I find myself still stupefied about the result. Just like some unbridled victories aren’t worth analyzing or dissecting, maybe these four points need to just be banked and nothing else.

At least the W sets up a big night at the Dome this Saturday night. I would love to see some changes made, and our hand will be forced on some anyway. Jimmy Webster is rubbed out for two weeks meaning that we’ll have close to zero chance to contain the Tigers brigade of speedy forwards. Maybe this means a Bailey Rice debut? Hickey would have to be a shout to make a long-awaited return, after 52 hit outs for Sandy. Let’s face it, I’m not going to be fully satisfied until Paddy McCartin is fit and prancing around the forward 50 again. That’s just me.





  • Campbell

    I’m not as pessimistic as you Rich. In a season where teams are getting rolled by clubs that frequently impersonate VFL teams you can’t be unhappy with a win. Especially not an interstate win against a tricky opponent. Say what you will about the manner of our performances, winning ugly is a positive. The ground would’ve have fallen beneath our feet if we’d have lost 2 of the last 3 which could’ve happened. Instead, we’re a game clear in the 8. Whether we make it or not, we have progressed significantly. No need to set the world on fire during the early rounds…

  • Harry

    Richard. Obviously you were not impressed by the game or the Saint performance and cut your losses. A couple of points. First, the Saints have to work out how to stop other teams putting Jack Steven out of the game. It seems that other teams ploy is stop Stuv and you are halfway to stopping the Saints. Some creativity is needed. Second, how can senior AFL players keep missing easy set shots week after week. It must be killing the players up the ground to see this happening.

    Eight games left and the Saints need to win 4 to make the 8, probably 5. Of the 8 games, 5 are with teams above them in the 8, 2 are hard games on terms with StK – Sydney (in Sydney) and Essendon, and only 1 is with someone down the ladder ie Kangaroos. If they make the finals, they will have deserved it, but on current form it is hard to see the Saints winning enough games to make it.