MATCH REPORT: St Kilda vs Gold Coast | Round 18, AFL, 2023.

Matt Tiffen
July 16, 2023

*Trumpet sounds*

On an overcast and mild day on the Gold Coast, the St. Kilda Football Club got burnt. They forgot to pack their sunscreen and they forgot how to play football.  Perhaps the team was abiding by the golden rule of no hat no play – because no one wore a hat and no one played very well. It’s when basic fundamentals like this are ignored, that elements of indolency creep into the psyche and take control. A perpetual nonchalance and irrefutable lack of desire, accountability and aptitude has the club in a vice like grip that is threatening to derail what was once appearing to be a positive season. This writer, unfortunately or possibly fortunately, did not watch the full game. I listened to half of it on the radio, and have now sat through the Kayo-mini, a punishment I wouldn’t wish upon any long-suffering fan. So, I’m not going to get too statistically in-depth or analytically heavy in this article, but we do need to talk about what the hell is going on.

The result was not a surprise for any realistic Saints fan, we could smell it coming a month away, but the manner in which we capitulated is not acceptable. For the lads to dish up that sort of effort, in a game where our finals hopes were on the line, against a side 14th on the ladder, something must have been plaguing their minds. Were they too eager to hit up the Ripley’s Museum in Surfers Paradise? Was the prospect of seeing a wax statue of the world’s tallest man too enticing for them to concentrate wholly on the game? Or maybe one of the boys had forgotten to organize fast-passes for Movie World and everyone was mad about having to wait an hour to ride to Scooby-Doo rollercoaster? There are so many possibilities that it’s difficult to pinpoint just one specific reason why it all fell apart – but I think the safest thing to say is, we just aren’t that good.

We are professionals at not being very good. It is in our blood; it is in our hearts. We don’t support this club because of a success-driven history, we support this club because (insert the weird and wonderful reason you settled on St. Kilda.) But what really hurts is that we did look good. We started off this season with an absolute bang. Snags were being kicked, our dysfunctional, unorthodox forward line was working, bums were on seats, memberships were being sold – and now fast forward a few months and we haven’t won consecutive games since God knows when. The only reason we are still in the top eight is because every team below us keeps losing as well. Our luck is running out though, as we are now on equal points with teams outside the eight and Carlton or the Giants look primed to snatch our position in the coming weeks. Does it matter though? We are not ready for finals, and if we were to make them, a ten-goal loss in an elimination final could set the club back years. It’s a precarious position to be in and I am unsure how to feel.

Sam Flanders, you might not have known who he was before the game, but we sure do now. He is a key defender and we can add him to almighty list of defends that use our forwards as witches’ hats. It happens every week. Every single week. Sicily, Harris, May, Flanders… we have no power to stop opposition defenders running amok and until we can get that part of our game straightened out, we are no hope of accomplishing anything.

Two other suns defenders jumped onboard the parade float and had the time of their lives. Rory Atkins, 32 touches and two goals, and Will Powell basically masqueraded as our key forward, because he marked every single one of our F50 entries firmly on his chest.

These articles are becoming increasingly more difficult to write by the week, because there’s only so many ways I can possibly say “we can’t score, our skills are poor, we look bang-on average.” I am hurting as much as everyone else.

Congratulations to Jack Peris on his debut, he didn’t look out of place and would love to see him be given a proper shot at it for the rest of the year. Cooper Sharman looked dangerous, and is our best option up forward for the remainder of the season. Windhager had his biggest game since West Coast last year, but a lot of efforts seemed slow and at time his disposal really let him down. Nas continued his dominant year and should place highly in the best and fairest.


3 – Sharman

2 – Nas

1 – Wilkie