|Brownlow Medal||3 Nick Riewoldt (STK)||2 David Armitage (STK)||1 Jack Steven (STK)|
Sunday's match at Docklands between St Kilda and Brisbane provided the Saints' social media department with a chance to have a bit of fun, with posts prior to the game announcing that the club was only 248 points away from playing in finals. And while it was technically true (a 248-0 win would indeed have allowed the Saints to displaced North in the eight), it was of course never a realistic proposition.
What was within the realms of possibility, though, was St Kilda defeating Brisbane by a large enough margin to send the Lions to the bottom of the ladder and 'award' them the wooden spoon. And with the Saints taking early control and extending their lead more or less continuously throughout the match, that seemed a likely result for much of the afternoon. But in a high-scoring match, Brisbane did enough in the last quarter to keep its percentage above the 61.0 line, condemning Essendon to the spoon.
An achievement of some small degree, it was not enough to prevent the Brisbane Lions board coming out the following day and announcing that coach Justin Leppitsch had been "released from his contract", corporate-speak for "sacked", after three less than inspiring seasons at the helm. The club will now begin the search for a new person to coming in and take the Lions to something approaching their former glory.
While the events surrounding Brisbane were newsworthy, St Kilda's achievement, and particularly that of its skipper Nick Riewoldt, playing his final game as captain, was one of great merit. The Saints' opposition was clearly not of the highest order, but their thrashing of the Lions with four quarters of free-flowing, attacking and skilful football provided their fans and opposition clubs with a clear indication of a team on the rise, one which seems certain to figure in top eight calculations in 2017.
Riewoldt, at nearly 34 years of age the oldest player on the ground with the exception of Sam Fisher, was by far the best player on the ground. He took an almost unbelievable 21 marks and kicked nine goals, his unmatched work ethic one that would put many younger AFL players to shame. While Riewoldt will cede the leadership role next year, his performance on Sunday suggests that he could go on for several seasons yet, not just a bit-part player as the Saints transition to youth, but as one who could yet play a pivotal role as the club builds towards another assault on a premiership.
The match itself followed a fairly predictable script, the Lions showing some early fight in kicking the first two goals before St Kilda gradually took control. The Saints led by 13 points at the first break, and extended the margin more or less continuously as the match wore on. The margin was 29 at the half, 45 at the last end-change and 58 points when the final siren brought the season to a close for both sides.
While Riewoldt stood head and shoulders above all others on the field, Tom Rockliff was an outstanding player for the vanquished Lions, collecting 37 touches and kicking two goals.
Supporters of both clubs will eagerly await the 2017 season, but for significantly different reasons. St Kilda fans will spend the summer feeling very optimistic about a strong showing in 2017, while Brisbane fans will be hoping that a change of coach will bring with it a change of fortune, the Lions having finished 16th, 16th and 17th in Leppitsch's three seasons at the helm.
St Kilda: Riewoldt 9; Lonie, Bruce 3; Wright, Membrey 2; Newnes, Steven, White, Gilbert, Geary, Armitage
Brisbane: Walker 3; Dawson, Mathieson, Rockliff 2; Zorko, Rich, Hanley, Merrett, Keays, Bell
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
St Kilda: Riewoldt, Steven, Roberton, Ross, Montagna, Lonie, Acres
Brisbane: Rockliff, Zorko, Cutler, Martin
BEST - THE AGE
St Kilda: Riewoldt, Ross, Newnes, Montagna, Steven
Brisbane: Rockliff, Cutler, Zorko, Rich, Mathieson
St Kilda: Savage (corked left hip), White (right arm), Geary (ribs)
UMPIRES: Fisher, Deboy, Fleer
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Fox Footy
COMMENTATORS: Sandy Roberts, Jason Dunstall, Danny Frawley, Cameron Mooney
|St. Kilda||Match Stats||Career|
|8||Acres, Blake||15||4||3||18||0||0||1||1||1||1||20y 326d||26||8|
|20||Armitage, David||15||10||15||30||1||0||0||3||3||0||28y 73d||150||89|
|15||Billings, Jack||9||1||14||23||0||0||1||3||1||0||21y 10d||42||27|
|27||Bruce, Josh||5||6||3||8||3||0||0||3||0||0||24y 81d||68||95|
|24||Dempster, Sean||5||5||8||13||0||0||0||2||0||0||32y 221d||222||21|
|25||Fisher, Sam||8||7||9||17||0||1||0||0||0||0||34y 49d||228||22|
|14||Geary, Jarryn||9||2||2||11||1||0||0||5||2||0||28y 66d||141||24|
|19||Gilbert, Sam||10||8||10||20||1||0||1||1||0||0||30y 9d||179||36|
|45||Holmes, Jason||1||0||1||2||0||0||34||4||1||1||26y 305d||5||0|
|13||Lonie, Jack||8||3||6||14||3||0||0||3||2||0||20y 15d||27||22|
|36||McKenzie, Daniel||4||6||14||18||0||0||0||2||1||0||20y 103d||16||0|
|28||Membrey, Tim||7||4||1||8||2||0||0||2||1||0||22y 94d||30||53|
|11||Montagna, Leigh||12||6||10||22||0||0||0||1||0||2||32y 300d||271||150|
|16||Newnes, Jack||20||6||5||25||1||0||0||0||0||0||23y 186d||91||25|
|12||Riewoldt, Nick||24||21||2||26||9||1||1||1||1||0||33y 316d||319||689|
|17||Roberton, Dylan||18||2||5||23||0||0||2||0||1||0||25y 68d||102||14|
|6||Ross, Sebastian||12||7||14||26||0||0||0||3||1||1||23y 113d||59||8|
|5||Savage, Shane||7||4||6||13||0||1||0||2||0||1||25y 236d||111||53|
|3||Steven, Jack||16||4||15||31||1||1||0||2||2||1||26y 153d||134||88|
|44||Weller, Maverick||11||5||6||17||0||0||1||5||1||1||24y 197d||90||42|
|31||White, Brandon||7||1||6||13||1||0||0||0||1||1||19y 228d||1||1|
|34||Wright, Nathan||4||1||4||8||2||0||0||3||0||1||22y 194d||30||7|
|31||Andrews, Harris||5||4||3||8||0||0||0||1||0||0||19y 261d||36||6|
|4||Bastinac, Ryan||10||1||6||16||0||0||0||4||2||0||25y 67d||143||72|
|7||Bell, Tom||10||6||7||17||1||0||0||2||0||1||25y 76d||65||51|
|19||Clayton, Josh||5||4||1||6||0||0||0||2||0||0||20y 224d||2||0|
|26||Cutler, Tom||16||4||11||27||0||1||0||1||0||1||21y 190d||33||12|
|24||Dawson, Liam||5||4||2||7||2||0||0||2||0||1||20y 218d||17||6|
|27||Gardiner, Darcy||6||3||4||10||0||0||0||3||1||1||20y 341d||43||3|
|40||Hammelmann, Matthew||3||2||1||4||0||0||0||3||0||0||20y 173d||9||0|
|11||Hanley, Pearce||9||7||7||16||1||1||2||2||0||2||27y 287d||129||58|
|30||Hipwood, Eric||5||4||5||10||0||2||0||0||0||0||18y 350d||10||11|
|1||Keays, Ben||4||2||10||14||1||0||0||2||0||0||19y 187d||16||4|
|35||Lester, Ryan||5||4||10||15||0||0||0||2||0||0||24y 2d||80||31|
|12||Martin, Stefan||9||6||12||21||0||0||36||0||0||1||29y 285d||114||38|
|36||Mathieson, Rhys||6||2||11||17||2||1||0||4||2||1||19y 231d||11||8|
|32||Mayes, Sam||10||2||7||17||0||0||0||1||0||2||22y 100d||74||26|
|21||Merrett, Daniel||5||3||2||7||1||0||0||2||0||0||31y 260d||200||70|
|10||Rich, Daniel||11||5||11||22||1||0||0||1||0||1||26y 82d||143||93|
|5||Robinson, Mitch||10||5||14||24||0||0||0||4||3||3||27y 82d||142||71|
|38||Rockliff, Tom||18||3||19||37||2||0||0||4||1||1||26y 188d||134||71|
|28||Taylor, Lewis||3||4||11||14||0||0||0||1||0||0||21y 193d||63||47|
|14||Walker, Josh||9||9||7||16||3||1||0||2||1||0||23y 290d||49||58|
|15||Zorko, Dayne||20||3||10||30||1||1||0||4||0||4||27y 201d||101||101|