St Kilda Saints v Brisbane Lions, Marvel Stadium, live blog, match report, analysis, preview, teams, photos, videos
St Kilda will be left to Max King’s shocking night in front of goal, with their season virtually over after a 15-point loss to Brisbane on Friday night.
King threw five behinds – including three on easy shots in the third term when the Saints had all the momentum.
When Joe Daniher capitalized on King’s fifth miss last term, the Lions were home with a 12.9 (81) to 9.12 (66) win.
The win lifts Brisbane to second place in the standings.
But for the Saints, they remain outside the top eight with just one round left.
The Saints showed plenty of fighting in the third term as the Lions lost their temper, but Brisbane managed to score four goals in the final quarter to regain the lead and seal victory.
The Saints must now beat Sydney next weekend and rely on Richmond and the Dogs losing both games to jump into the eight.
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QUARTER BY QUARTER MATCH REPORT
The Saints showed their cards early when tagger Marcus Windhager went straight to Lachie Neale for the first rebound.
And although the Lions did all the attacking in the opening minutes, it was Jack Higgins who netted St Kilda first.
Higgins pounced when Oscar McInerney missed with hands in midfield.
The Saint headed home from the central plaza and he bounced back.
“One tiny mishandling and it’s gone out the back door,” said commentator Brian Taylor.
Neale headed forward in an attempt to defeat the Windhager tag, but only had one hit to his name after more than 10 minutes of play.
“He and the Lions ask the question…” okay, you can run in midfield as a tagger, but how are you as a pure defender if I advance? Good shot, ”welcomed commentator Daisy Pearce.
After early misfires from Dan McStay and Hugh McCluggage, as well as the complete exit of Cam Rayner, it took a brilliant contest from Charlie Cameron to get the Lions on the board.
McCluggage then added his team’s second a minute later from the center clearance.
The ball just wouldn’t sit for Neale as it sank inside 50 and the Saints dodged a third ball as Jack Sinclair was there to get the ball out of the defence.
But the first term was mostly played out in the Lions’ half as St Kilda couldn’t get clear.
When Jarrod Lienert won a big ruck battle against McInerney, the Saints pushed forward and Tim Membery didn’t disappoint with the snap – and he went to Dayne Zorko to let him know.
The rages threatened to boil over a few times in the first term when the Saints were only a point behind.
“St Kilda are on track to record 100 tackles here,” said commentator James Brayshaw.
“They came to play.”
Mason Wood then gave the Saints the lead after Mitch Owens broke free from the stoppage and brought out the handball.
But St Kilda let the lead slip away after the quarter-time siren when Hipwood landed his set piece from 40m.
The second term belonged entirely to the Lions as they found another gear and kicked it.
A big bump from Brad Crouch rocked Lion Darcy Gardiner early in the second term as the Saint crashed heavily into his opponent.
Pearce immediately thought Crouch’s actions would result in at least a week’s ban, but luckily for Gardner he was able to stay on the court.
Joe Daniher went through the air before scoring his first goal of the night before Linc McCarthy extended Brisbane’s lead to 14 points minutes later.
As in the first quarter, the ball remained locked in the Brisbane attack as the St Kilda defense came under enormous pressure.
Hipwood came out from behind and scored from the square before another big disputed grab from McStay pushed the lead to a high of 26 points.
Wood gave the Saints some hope minutes from halftime with a big goal just outside 50.
But at the main break, Brisbane held a 22-point lead.
Dougal Howard was stunned early in the third term when he was stopped for insufficient intention to keep the ball in play.
Howard had opted to punch the foot and kick it to the limit.
“I think it’s steep. Defender 15 yards from goal, loot, don’t know what’s going on behind him… what’s left? asked Pearce.
“I think the letter of the law…but he was messing up,” added Luke Hodge.
The rages again threatened to boil over when Zorko was penalized for a trip to Windhager, and continued for a bit after the tap was made.
Brad Hill rushed in, as did Windhager’s opponent Lachie Neale to chase down what had threatened to boil over all night.
And the St Kilda players were back in Zorko’s face when he spat a stupid 50m penalty which carried Jack Higgins to the goal line.
The Lions veteran stepped on the mark and fell in love with Jarrod Lienert’s attempt to pass.
But the Lions had an immediate response via Cam Rayner – their third straight from a central clearance.
“It just takes the heat away from the Lions,” Taylor said.
Max King missed the chance to close the gap but Wood didn’t make the same mistake to grab his third and close St Kilda to within 15 points.
“There was a bit of Stephen Kernahan about it,” laughed Brayshaw.
“He had this little trick.”
Membery scored his second goal of the night as Saints then received the foot in the middle of the pitch from a free kick off the ball.
“Starting to lose a bit of temper here, Lions,” Taylor said.
“(St Kilda) is mounting a big challenge.”
Max King made a big, contested grab from just 20 yards directly ahead but once again missed – his third behind for the night.
“Two real obtainables that Max King missed during this time,” Brayshaw lamented.
Membery was Saints man again moments later when Jack Payne was slammed for insufficient intent.
“There was a man within three meters running towards the boundary,” Taylor lamented.
“And he got hit when he kicked!” Pearce added in disbelief.
Wood gave the Saints the lead for the first time in the opening minutes before Membery and King both squandered golden chances to score their advantage.
The Saints went five goals to one in the third term to take a five-point lead in the last.
“It’s like a mini cyclone going through Brisbane,” Brayshaw said.
Rayner put the Lions back in front just minutes into the final term as the ‘tipping’ contest as King’s yelps continued in the final term.
But this time his fifth down for the night cost the Saints as the visitors traveled coast to coast and Joe Daniher scored from the square – opening a two-goal lead.
“It hurts,” Brayshaw said.
The Saints continued to give themselves chances in the last term but costly misses for Windhager and Membery denied St Kilda’s charge.
Their final seven scores of the game were all behind before Rayner sealed the win moments later as the Lions jumped into the top two.
3. THE HOME RUN
Looking back, perhaps St Kilda’s season has been over for a while now, it’s just becoming mathematically impossible.
Even as of this writing, the Saints can still technically finish ahead of Carlton, Richmond and Western Bulldogs if all three lose this week and the Saints win and win well against Sydney in Round 23.
But the reality is that you don’t often go 3-6 after the break and expect to feature in September.
The St Kilda game was far too conditional at times, with Friday night a prime example as a frantic opening quarter from a pressure point of view giving way to a much softer effort in the second term.
They then climbed again in the third quarter to create a contest, then fell in the final quarter.
If one game summed up St Kilda’s season it was this one – good at times but not good enough for the most part.
The Lions, meanwhile, are in a great position given the game.
A clash with Melbourne in round 23 may seem difficult, but it means the Lions’ hopes are indeed in their hands.
Sydney and Collingwood will also play each other, meaning either of them won’t overtake the Lions in the top four by the end of this round.
2. THE KING OF ALL PROBLEMS
St Kilda fans would be delighted that Max King put himself in goalkeeper positions so often, but surely dismayed by the times he seems to self-destruct in front of the big sticks.
Granted, King has been singing for most of the year and is winning way more games with the Saints than he’s losing, but when it’s bad, it’s bad.
On Friday night, King missed several chances in front of goal that most key forwards would gobble up.
He did this against Hawthorn in round 20 when he threw 2.5 and again in round six when he threw 1.7 against Greater Western Sydney.
The mental aspect of King’s kicks on Friday night was a concern for some of the game’s greats.
“He just doesn’t have momentum with his running,” Luke Hodge said on Channel Seven.
“Because he hits the ball with no momentum, he leans back, which most often means he misses to the right.”
Brian Taylor added, “he’s rushing now which means he’s not confident”, while Matthew Richardson said: “That’s where you need solid technique.”
“If you have a mental problem and your technique can still stand up, you might be fine.”
Win lose or draw, King’s struggles in front of goal can surely be refined. If they are, the Saints become all the more dangerous in 2023.
1. RAYN-ING’S OBJECTIVES AS YOUNG GUN COMES
Cam Rayner has been heading for an escape game for quite some time since returning from his ACL injury.
On Friday night, this escape game arrived.
With the game well and truly on the line in the final quarter, Rayner rose to chill the competition with a brilliant goal, but it was just the capstone of his night.
The 22-year-old scored four goals on the night but looked assured and devastating with his attacking work from the central rebound.
Three of those goals, including the aforementioned sealer, came in a winning quarter last.
He ended his night as the best player on the pitch and that poses a problem for every other team in September, given how tightly he clocked his form.
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