Saints Summary: Opportunity lost

The Saints were gallant but came up short in the west. What did Bozza take away from the first taste of defeat in 2019?

One of the more memorable episodes of Game of Thrones sees Oberyn Martell locked in trial by combat with Gregor Clegane. Despite seeming outmatched by the much bigger and ferocious Clegane, aptly nicknamed The Mountain, Martell’s speed and daring were too much for his opponent and he soon had the upper hand. Despite Clegane laying wounded and helpless, for reasons better left for another time, Martell does not land the killer blow on offer and eventually suffers a particularly gruesome end.

While a Game of Thrones reference might come as a surprise, the Saints wastefulness in the third quarter coming back to bite them did not. Much like Martell did with Clegane, St Kilda had Fremantle at their mercy in the back half of the third term. With Fremantle helpless in the face of the visitors’ onslaught, they were saved only by the Saints wastefulness.

Despite sustained territorial dominance, St Kilda could manage just two goals for the term. Behinds to Hunter Clark, Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey, Jade Gresham and Matt Parker the measure of just how big a chance was lost while their opponent was ripe for the taking.

That the overarching narrative post game would be of Alan Richardson’s men not taking their chances was inconceivable when Matt Taberner put the hosts five goals to the good nine minutes into the second term. Challenged like at no other time in the young season to date, we gained an insight into the mettle of this team in their response.

Nobody epitomised this grit and determination more than skipper Jarryn Geary. The 30-year-old led by example as he willed his team back into the match one contest at a time. While the skipper stood tall metaphorically, Rowan Marshall did so literally in another promising performance from the young big man.

Jade Gresham and Jack Billings were influential too in the Saints resurgence. As many of their team mates struggled to hit the scoreboard, both Gresham and Billings kicked vital goals. Billings second giving the Saints a glimmer of hope in the game’s final moments.

With one shot at victory, the Saints lined up with seven forwards inside attacking fifty. With the penalty upon discovery a warning that free kick would be awarded if it happened again, it appeared as if Alan Richardson may have attempted a swift one in search for the winning goal. If it was a ploy, the coach denied it post game, and like most other attempts to scrounge a goal on this day it ultimately came to naught anyway with the umpires directing the offending player into defence before the game restarted.

Like they had for most of the day, Fremantle won the clearance upon the games recommencement and the Saints were left five points short of a priceless win on the road. Fortunately for the Saints, unlike Oberyn Martell, they live to fight another day after paying the price for not landing the killer blow when their opponent was vulnerable.

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FREMANTLE 3.2 6.2 9.2 11.5 (71)
ST KILDA 1.1 5.3 7.8 9.12 (66)

 Matera 3,Taberner 2, Walters 2, Hill, McCarthy, Hughes, Lobb
St Kilda: Gresham 2, Membrey 2, Billings 2, Acres, Bruce, Lonie

Fremantle: Walters, Ryan, Langdon, Hill, Cerra, Fyfe, Matera
St Kilda: Gresham, Billings, Geary, Marshall, Newnes, Steele

Fremantle: Fyfe (concussion)
St Kilda: Nathan Brown (head knock)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Fisher, Mitchell

Official crowd: 38,227 at Optus Stadium

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