Justin Peckett Posts

In This Round…Round 19 – Surging Saints end the Swans’ SCG run

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 corresponding round.

Sydney Swans vs St Kilda – Round 19, 1997
Sydney Swans 7.2, 12.5, 16.10, 17.17 (119)
St Kilda 4.6, 9.8, 13.12, 18.20 (128)
Crowd: 39,287 at the SCG, Sunday, August 11, 2.45pm

A rousing victory at the SCG saw St Kilda move to second place on the ladder on a sunny Sunday afternoon late in the 1997 season.

Sydney were looking to further their incredible run of 20 wins at home, but more importantly, keep alive their serious chances of going one-better than their unsuccessful Grand Final appearance in 1996. This game pitted third at home to fourth on the ladder, with a coveted top-two spot well and truly within striking distance for both sides.

Whilst St Kilda had come off three great victories, the Swans were on a high after wins of 97 and 116 points against teams at opposite ends of the table, in the second-placed Bulldogs and wooden-spooners-to-be Melbourne respectively.

With 22 and 25 goals kicked in those games, Sydney picked up where they had left off with a seven-goal first term. There were probably not too many surprised that their lead had blown out 38 points during the second quarter, as a Lockett-less Sydney had Darryn Cresswell and youngsters Michael O’Loughlin and Leo Barry doing more than their share of providing targets up forward. It wasn’t helping the Saints’ cause that Sydney maestro Paul Kelly was busy through the midfield, and continuing to display the kind of form that won him the Brownlow Medal two years before.

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In This Round…Round 8

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.

Essendon vs St Kilda, Round 8, 1997
Essendon 2.4, 9.11, 12.14, 14.16 (100)
St Kilda 6.8, 7.9, 11.13, 18.16 (124)
Crowd: 51,928 at the MCG, Sunday, May 18, 2.10pm

A Sunday afternoon at the MCG was the setting for one of the best wins of St Kilda’s continued recovery in 1997, as they paved a platform for a record-breaking run towards Grand Final Day.

Not only was it a great win for the club, but it was also a great match between the 5th-placed Essendon – a club with a hugely imposing all-time record head-to-head – and the daring Saints, who would finish the round in the top 8 for the first time in over a year.

It was the kind of match that ebbed and flowed both ways for sustained periods of time, with both sides playing free-flowing footy with flair that thrilled the big crowd.

St Kilda had disposed of new team Port Adelaide in the clubs’ first meeting a week earlier out on a cold Saturday night at Waverley by 65 points, to follow up an 86-point demolition of Melbourne in the wet; the Bombers had dropped two of their last three matches but were still well in touch with the top part of the ladder, and keen to atone for their lull.

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Today’s media – April 30

Robert Walls is not very confident about the Saints’ chances tonight against the Bulldogs:

“Saints are ripe for the picking”
Robert Walls, The Age

Ex-players Luke Darcy, Wayne Carey and Justin Peckett have their say on big forward Justin Koschitzke:

“Tension mounts on big Justin Koschitzke”
Jay Clark, Herald Sun

Jason Blake talks to the Official Club Website about being a part of the St Kilda defence:

“Blake finds his niche”
Felicity George, Saints.com.au

Nick Riewoldt’s recovery from his hamstring injury appears to be going well in its early stages:

“St Kilda skipper’s recovery progressing well”
Jake Niall, The Age

And sacked Saint Andrew Lovett wishes to play the game at a lower level this season, despite the criminal charges hanging over his head:

“Lovett seeks return to game”
Jake Niall, The Age

St Kilda and Fremantle: The Bizarre Rivalry

Edit: This post has had an “update” with a couple of additional minutiae, in Grand Final Week of 2013, here.

St Kilda and Fremantle share one of the most bizarre “rivalries” in the AFL.

As the two least successful clubs in VFL/AFL history to date, it’s not all-important clashes between competition juggernauts that this rivalry has been based on.

Rather, it has been a mixture of the unique, incredible and questionable, with occasional flashes of both genuinely brilliant and sadly woeful football being played.

It began immediately – although inconspicuously – in 1995, when Fremantle played their debut AFL match in the Ansett Australia Cup against the Saints at East Fremantle Oval. Whilst the match itself was normal enough (St Kilda would win by 35 points), this would be the only time (to date) the Dockers would actually play in Fremantle in a competitive AFL match.

In Round 14 of the following season, St Kilda would break through for its first win at Subiaco, and in Western Australia – of course, against Fremantle – in a game which produced great goals from both sides.

The next clash between the two came on ANZAC Day of 1997, with Fremantle – in 10th place and the Saints in 16th – weathering a late St Kilda challenge to win by a straight kick. The return bout was played on a ridiculously blustery day at Waverley in Round 20 of that year, with Fremantle in 10th place (again) going into the match whilst St Kilda was second on percentage, on its way to a second minor premiership. The Saints that time won a scrappy game by 13 points after the Dockers got within a point in the final term.

St Kilda co-captain Stewart Loewe would be stretchered off in Round 9 of 1998 at the WACA after an awkward fall in which his head ended up making contact with his knee. Despite a thrilling running goal from ruckman Peter Everitt, the 4th-placed Saints were overrun by the 13th-placed Dockers in the final term.

After several years of minor quirks, things were about to get really weird.

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