Are the Saints good?
The Saints are 3-1 since the restart and are arguably one of the form teams of the competition. If not for a second half fade out in Round One, they might actually have been sitting 4-1 at this point of the season. As good as they have been though, like what the next few weeks of the 2020 season might look like, question marks remain.
Geelong, in another prime time match up, and Port Adelaide lie in wait over the next fortnight at the time of writing. If that plays out as scheduled, we should have a pretty good understanding of whether the Saints are good or not.
How the Game Was Won
Up against a Carlton team who had started well the past fortnight, the Saints were out of the blocks early on Thursday night. With Jarryn Geary playing a defensive role on Sam Docherty, and Jack Steele blanketing Patrick Cripps, they shut the Blues out of the contest in the first half.
The Saints fast movement with and without the ball, along with an even spread of contributors, continually forced Carlton into error. It meant that the Blues quickly abandoned their kick-mark style for a quick disposal style playing into the Saints hands.
In the end the final margin of 18 points was flattering for the Blues. They won the second half by two goals but this means little when the game is lost by half-time.
What the Coaches Said
Seeing his team work on the training paddock translate to the game was what please Brett Ratten most post game. “There were some things we worked on during the week that started to come out in our game. So that’s really pleasing to see that we’re adjusting, it was only a five day turnaround, so that was really good.”
What was it that they had focused on? “Probably more game sense things during the game So when your in control when your not in control.” He stressed this was perhaps more important than ever in 2020, given shortened quarters and how quickly momentum can change.
Given the critical roles they performed on the night, Ratten reserved special praise for captain Jarryn Geary and Jack Steele. Like most observers he declared that Steele had gotten the better of his personal battle with Patrick Cripps. He then stressed the importance of Geary to the team. “You know what you are going to get every contest, how hard he is going to go for the, footy and do his role, and influence others. To have our skipper out there is pretty important,” he told reporters.
David Teague spoke of his disappointment post-match. “We didn’t play our way I thought. At the start St Kilda jumped us, they came out and hit us pretty hard. We were expecting it but we just didn’t handle it and didn’t respond. The last couple of weeks we started better but we let ourselves down today.”
When pushed, he felt his teams decision making and execution let them down. “I thought our effort was there in the sense that we were chasing the ball but we weren’t clean with the ball or our decision making. Often we would have two or three go to one and then they got us on the outside,” he lamented.
CARLTON 1.1 2.4 5.6 8.7 (55)
ST KILDA 4.3 7.4 9.5 11.7 (73)
Carlton: Setterfield 2, Betts, Philp, Martin, Cripps, Gibbons, Newnes
St Kilda: Geary 2, King 2, Butler 2, Battle, Gresham, Billings, Membrey, Kent
Carlton: Martin, Setterfield, Curnow, Cripps
St Kilda: Steele, Long, Billings, Butler, Coffield, Wilkie
Carlton: Fisher (gastro) replace in selected side by Philp
St Kilda: Hannebery (hamstring)