MATCH REPORT: St Kilda vs Richmond | Round 14, AFL, 2023.

Matt Tiffen
June 18, 2023
Match Report Round 14

As soon as Trent Cotchin sent home a goal from 52 meters out it was game over. The momentum and the vibe of the game completely changed and although it was only the first quarter, she was done and dusted.

Sitting in the nosebleeds on level four, freezing and underdressed, I had a birds-eye view of our bad entries into the forward fifty, and the seemingly endless clangers and brain fades that lead to Richmond goals.  The conditions weren’t ideal, but Richmond was able to adapt and we were not. I can’t recall exactly, but was that our first game in the rain for the year? The groundskeepers at Moorabbin should revert back to their tactics of the 1980’s, where they used to turn the sprinklers on and flood the oval so we wouldn’t lose by as much – because the lads seemed all at sea in the wet. Maybe Ross needs to make a call to Mark McGough and pull him out of retirement so we have at least one player on the field with honey hands.

We jumped out of the blocks quickly and accurately, slamming home the first four majors of the evening. When old mate from Richmond kicked it straight to Butler who was standing the mark, and Buts launched it from 50, there was jubilee at the G. Short lived jubilee, though. Later in the game, Wilkie would repeat this exact same formula, and kicked it to the man on the mark only to watch it go back over his head for a soul crushing six pointer.

It’s hard to get a read on this team. If you look at the ladder, our points for are on par with the bottom four teams, and our points against are the lowest in the comp. The textbook Ross Lyon game plan is in full swing and we can’t score to save ourselves, but when we lose, we don’t lose by a lot. It’s frustrating at times. On Saturday night, we went back to the long bomb tactic when it was a 3-1 in Richmond’s favour, and they would stroll out of defense like a streaker avoiding security at the SCG. Why didn’t we draft that bloke in the midseason draft? At least it looks like he has a crack which is more than a lot of players did. Mini McQualter got the chocolates over Lyon who had no answers for their game plan.

Ryan Byrnes played a poor game in comparison to the body of work he’s put together this year. He was largely unsighted but did kick a ripping snag to get us back within a goal which was great. Stocker has been quiet for a few weeks now and has struggled to replicate his early season form, when he is up and going, so is the team. Caminiti bobbed up for a sausage roll but struggled to have any real impact on the game, he is young and still figuring it all out, but surely Membery offers something a little more than Hammer is currently? Mitch Owens had a bad game too, but we can’t be harsh on him; these games will happen. Despite only having seven touches, he had eight tackles – so the effort and willingness to attack was there all night, the pill just wasn’t finding him.

Jack Steele. That is all.

Perhaps most notable of the poorer performances of the evening was Dougal. We love Dougal, don’t get me wrong, he has this charm about him and he’s a good guy, but at times can be clumsy. Playing in such an important position, when he makes a mistake it more glaring than if a half forward makes a mistake. He is not blessed with elite skill, but he tries, and he’s the best full back we have; but sometimes, just sometimes, the turnovers can really hurt us.

Marshall wasn’t dominated by the big, hulking bull that is Toby Nankervis like he usually is, but he didn’t have a big impact still. There’s something wrong with Ro’s kicking at the moment, I can’t remember the last time he kicked a set shot. Every time he’s lining up for goal, you can almost pencil him in for a behind. We need our smiling giant to find his line and length again.

Taranto put us in the oven, cooked us until we were burnt and rock hard, and then dished us up on a buffet platter. Why didn’t we have a tactic to stop him? He’s the number one player in the AFL right now but Ross sent Windhager to Bolton instead? Who still ended up kicking three goals. St. Kilda has a habit of making B & C rate players look like superstars, it’s something we are very, very good at. Ben Miller – who the hell is Ben Miller? I don’t know but he kicked two goals. Trent Cotchin, the love child of the MRO and this authors least favourite player in the competition, looked like a prime Gary Ablett Jnr. He had his most possessions for years – why do we do this? Looking at the stats from the Lions game, Brandon Starcevich finished the game with four disposals – you can expect him to get thirty next week.

We are very hot and cold and it’s just fortunate for us that everyone around us on the ladder is similarly average and inconsistent. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to win two games in a row. Anyone else still annoyed about the Hawthorn game?

Brad Hill dished up one of his best performances of the season, finishing with over 30 touches. And thank goodness Butler was allowed to play, because he was our most dangerous forward on the night. Combining with Higgo the former Tigers kicked five between them. Kingy was looking elite early, but as the game wore on Noah Balta had his measure in most contests.

Brad Crouch continues to put together a solid body of work, and was our most prolific midfielder on the night. At times he is a one-man-band in there, and it’s pretty clear to see that our engine room needs some fire power added to it. I’d love to know who we’re looking at from other clubs – it’s shaping up to be a big off-season recruitment wise.




3- Crouch


2 – Butler


1 – Sinclair