St Kilda played a near flawless game on a special Mother’s Day Monday matchup with Carlton, winning 19.8.122-14.14.98. Carlton missed their opportunity to take the league’s top position, the first time they would have reached the mark since 1995.
Carlton fired early but despite dominating the quarter the somehow found themselves down at the end of a very exciting first quarter.
Nick Riewoldt and Jarred Waite kicked the early goals from both sides before first year player Terry Milera picked up a loose ball and goaled from 23 meters to give the Saints an early advantage.
Eddie Betts produced a remarkable goal, throwing the ball onto his boot while being slung in a tackle. The ball changed direction midflight and careened into goal making it once again a one-point game.
Riewoldt missed a second easy shot on goal, the story for the Saints throughout the quarter, and the missed opportunity saw Carlton kick two quick majors, both courtesy of Betts who set up Simpson and Walker for goals.
With six minutes remaining in the term Milne stole a dropped marked by Joseph in the Blues defensive 50 and kicked a wonderful goal before running directly back to the opponent and starting a wrestling match involving a number of players. Milne had his jumper ripped off in the process and was caught slinging off a tirade of expletives on national television by the umpires microphone.
Judd, who had 18 first half possessions, soccered through a late goal but St Kilda were able to sneak two more goals in before the siren with Farren Ray’s coming ten seconds remaining after he was awarded a free kick for being held as the Saints desperately pumped the ball inside 50 one final time. They led at the break 33-31.
The Saints were even better in the second despite great work by the Carlton midfielders.
Hampson kicked the first of the second and restored the lead the Blues probably deserved at quarter-time, but goals to Saad and Koschitzke put the Saints back in front. Hayes then gathered in traffic and sidestepped a defender before kicking their third straight despite both sides being dead even in the contested possession count.
The video umpire confirmed Milera’s third goal was not touched on the line as the Saints looked to break away, but immense pressure just outside their 50, Gibbs broke free and drove home a goal to keep Carlton in touch. Betts added another to get them with eight but Milne marked an uncontested ball just before the 30 minute mark, played on around the corner and goaled. The bad news kept coming: Milne fed Saad for another goal seconds before the half-time siren giving St Kilda a 71-54 lead, the first time this season that Carlton had not led at a major change.
The Saints kicked five goals in the third and looked for a brief period to have the game under wraps but some late work by Carlton kept them close enough at the quarter’s end to make a fourth quarter run.
Riewoldt set up Jack Steven’s for the opener but poor coverage allowed Heath Scotland to cruise inside 50, mark then goal. The ball went briefly in the Riewoldt direction before the Blues stormed the other way, leading to a Walker goal.
Joseph gave Milne another goal, holding onto him when the Blue’s had a two-on-one situation before being subbed off the ground for Ellard. Two more goals came the way of the Saints: Saad gave Goddard an open looking after earning a free kick for being tripped and Milne roved a ruck tap from the boundary beautifully before kicking around his body.
Ellard and Mitch Robison kicked late third quarter goals to bring the Blues back within 20-points and give them a sniff heading into the final quarter, but the Saints would hold on to prevail.
Saad and Stanley created to kick the first goal of the fourth, a crucial moment which put St Kilda up by 27, an insurmountable target for the Blues. Ellard kicked a couple but with only five minutes remaining Carlton were too far behind and missed too many opportunities to come from behind. A Stanley goal with two minutes remaining sealed the deal and the Saints moved into the top-8 with a 4-3 win-loss record.
Farren Ray, playing his first game of 2012, led the Saints with 27 disposals while playing a key defensive role. Brendan Goddard and Lenny Hayes were also instrumental while Milne, Milera and Saad were deadly as the three-headed small forward lineup. Stanley and Armitage also kicked multiples.
Marc Murphy was disappointing with just 17 disposals, shut of the game completely by Jones but Judd, Scotland and Robinson all stood out as major ball winners. Ellard’s three goals as the sub were impressive while Walker and Betts each kicked two apiece.