MATCH REPORT: St Kilda v Adelaide | Round 9, AFL 2023

Matt Tiffen
May 15, 2023
round 9 article

The Richter scale almost exploded as St. Kilda fell back down to earth on Sunday. In what was a shocker of a game, reminiscent of years gone by, no player stood up and took control, our kicks went to Adelaide players more than Saints players, and we were firmly put back in our box. Lured into a false sense of optimism, some of us, including myself, fell into the trap of hope, and in the end that is what kills you. This match was the culmination of everything that has been going wrong lately, we were sloppy against Port, we were 2014 St Kilda against the Roos, and this week I don’t even know.

Quarter one didn’t start great, and you could tell we were off. We only had two forward fifty entries in the first fifteen minutes of the opening quarter, and it didn’t get much better after that. Crom kicked the highest score against us for an opening term this year, and we were lucky to only be five goals down. Skills were pretty bad as Adelaide’s pressure was too much to handle. In what has been a St Kilda tradition for a long time now, each time we kicked a goal, Crom kicked one thirty seconds later. There was no chance to grab any momentum because by the time the ball came back into the middle, we’d switched off and gone home.

The pain didn’t ease up in the second quarter, it got worse. We outscored them by four points, but we should have kicked more goals than we did. Adelaide kicking a goal after the siren stung. We just couldn’t hold out another three seconds and they capitalized, as they did all game. It seemed we were dominate across the field for most of this quarter but failed to capitalise. A few costly brain fades resulting in Crom goals. At one stage, Membery was streaming toward goal, unmanned, and instead of having a ping decided to kick it to a one-on-one contest. Tim is devoid of confidence at the moment and is yet to find the form we all know he is capable of. All the stats were in our favour this quarter, but stats don’t win you games. Adelaide was incredibly efficient going inside fifty, and we were the opposite. Battle, Hill & Nas had six touches at the break, and Marshall only five. But Marshall also had 35 hitouts for the half, which has gotta be some kind of record. His hitouts were working to our advantage, as we got well on top in centre clearances, but again our failure as a forward line resulted in lost opportunities.

The third quarter can be summed up with one passage of play: Anthony Caminiti running towards fifty, Owens sprinting towards an open goal, and instead of passing, he has a bounce then hits the chest of a Crows defender. A real pattern emerged this quarter – we kick it forward, Crows spoil it, then there’s three Adelaide players at the drop of the ball and they run away with it. It looked like we were playing with ten players on the ground for a lot of that quarter. Our forward line woes really ramped up a notch this quarter so let’s go through them. Higgins taking a left foot snap from 40 out on a slight angle instead of kicking a drop punt. How can a snap on your opposite foot from so far out be a better option than a drop punt? Rowan Marshall missed a set shot from twenty out straight in front, and then Tim Membery got subbed out with concussion and will miss next week. Our forward line is in disarray. Inside fifties were even at thirty-five a piece, but Adelaide was 47 points in front.

The last quarter was the same as the first three, we were bad and they were good. Jack Steele injured his knee and was iced up early on in the term but Ross says it was precautionary and he should be ok for next week.

Our last few weeks of football have been really poor by our early season standards. The other teams may have figured us out, and we are becoming easy to play against. Our messiah, Wilkie, had eleven spoils but got beaten comprehensively by Taylor Walker. Dougal Howard had one of his poorest games in recent memory too.

Brad Crouch on the surface looked to have played a good game, but went at fifty percent disposal efficiency. Ben Paton could be due for a spell at Sandy, especially with Jimmy Webster preforming very strongly on the weekend. We had six players today who didn’t lay a tackle, and three players who only laid one, hopefully Ross let’s them know about it.

We could welcome some troops back next week, with King, Webster, Billings and Windhager ready to go if called upon, and if there is any selection integrity at the club a few players won’t be making the trip to Giants Stadium. Also, Dermott Brereton is the worst commentator I have ever had the displeasure of listening to.

On to next week. Need to respond