ST KILDA 3.1 8.7 14.14 16.15 (111)
SYDNEY SWANS 4.4 5.4 8.6 12.11 (83)
St Kilda have added further intrigue and drama to an already inconsistent AFL season by defeated the much fancied Swans by 28 points in a perfect celebration of the milestone games of Lenny Hayes (250) and Farren Ray (150).
The scoreboard flattered Sydney, who trailed by as much as 50 points late in the third quarter and probably deserved to be behind by more as St Kilda wasted several opportunities in the second and third terms.
Although the usual suspects were prominent for the Saints, they will be pleased with the performances of the newer brigade coming through, as the likes of Jack Steven and David Armitage controlled the ball and limited the Swans’ opportunities.
The game started as a see-saw affair, with both sides tentative in front of goal until Steven goaled seven minutes into the quarter.
From that point, Sydney completely controlled proceedings, locking the ball inside their forward half and causing problems for the Saints’ defenders, who were struggling to find targets to clear the danger zone.
Sydney’s early pressure forced St Kilda to wait for a quick counter attack, which allowed them to stay in touch with the Swans.
With all things considered, Sydney deserved a larger lead than the nine-point margin they held at the first break, but it would not have mattered as the Saints completely turned the tables in the next two quarters.
St Kilda kicked nine goals 13 in the second and third quarters, which compared to the six the Swans managed, set-up the match-winning lead.
The Swans were completely stifled in the middle quarters, St Kilda’s pressure shutting down their run and carry and forcing their star midfielders into uncharacteristic mistakes.
It was fitting that in Hayes’ milestone game, the hardness and pressure – attributes that have typified Hayes over the years – around the contest were what ultimately won St Kilda the match.
In a week in which attention has focused on the retirement of Hayes, his 250th will be seen as a fitting tribute to his wonderful career once it is all done and dusted.
3) – Armitage (Saints)
2) – Steven (Saints)
1) – Hayes (Saints)
St Kilda: Milne 3, Dal Santo 2, Riewoldt 2, Saad 2, Steven 2, Blake, Cripps, Siposs, Montagna, Milera
Sydney Swans: Jetta 3, Jack 2, McGlynn 2, Reid 2, Bolton, Kennedy, Roberts-Thomson
St Kilda: Armitage, Hayes, Steven, Blake, Dal Santo, Saad, Milne
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, McVeigh, Jack, O’Keefe, McGlynn
St Kilda: Geary (cut head)
Sydney Swans: Nil
St Kilda: Arryn Siposs replaced Jarryn Geary at half-time
Sydney Swans: Trent Dennis-Lane replaced Tommy Walsh in the third quarter
Umpires: Rosebury, Stewart, Hay
Official crowd: 34,737 at Etihad Stadium