MATCH REPORT: St Kilda v Hawthorn | Round 11, AFL 2023
The most insipid and deplorable game of football this club has produced for a long time. If you thought the North game was bad, and if you thought the Crows game was worse, well they were just the appetizers. The main course, the buffet of disappointment, was dished up flaming hot on Saturday afternoon and we couldn’t hack it. It all comes down to moments, and the moment that buried us was Jack Higgins dropping an uncontested chest mark at the top of the goal square. He marks that, we’re twenty points up. He doesn’t mark it and we lose by ten points. We gave up the last five goals of the game in a truly horrifying display.
Is it time to accept it for what it is? Our opening five rounds of football were not a true reflection of where we are on our journey. We wanted to believe what we saw was permanent, but it has been a rocky decline down the ladder since then. Port started it, North continued it, Adelaide amplified it, and now the Hawthorn Football Club has confirmed it. We are mediocre and it is not going to be an easy year.
James Sicily destroyed us. There’s always one player each week from the opposition that makes us look stupid and it was his turn today. In the last quarter alone, he had fifteen disposals and six marks. He had 21 intercept possessions for the game and we had no answer for him. Nothing at all.
Coming off a career best game, Sinclair had numbers that we haven’t seen since his days as a rookie. Brad Hill and Jade Gresham went at fifty and sixty percent efficiency respectively and turned the ball over countless times. Jack Steele had fourteen possessions and Seb Ross was also underwhelming. Ross Lyon is giving the players an entire week off, maybe he should reconsider that. There are basic skills not being executed, sitters getting spilt, decisions being made that should not be made. Big calls need to happen at the selection table – the collective set of players that took the field on Saturday are not up to scratch. Besides last week, Steele has not been up to the lofty standards he has set in previous seasons, there is something going on that we don’t know about.
Max King was very good once again, finishing with four goals and providing a contest most of the time. Crouch was our general in the center and Mason Wood was terrific all day. They had a lot of teammates that did not match their output.
It was a game of momentum swings, and unfortunately for us, the final gust blew in the direction of Hawthorn’s goals. They rampaged their way to five goals in ten minutes and we had no answers for it. Our fourteen-point lead late into the last felt like enough, I wasn’t even nervous, and then the onslaught began and we all sat back and watched, knowing exactly how it would eventuate.
The two major highlights for us, on a day where highlights were otherwise scarce, was Rowan Marshall taking a huge speckie, and Phillipou launching a set shot from 55 meters out. Pou is a better shot for goal the further out he is.
The ups and downs of purgatory. We supporters now head into the rest of the weekend, and the week ahead, and the one after that, with this loss hanging over our heads. There is a full two weeks before we’ll get to see what sort of response the players dish up. It is going to be a long two weeks.