A tumultuous week for the Saints that began with the axing of Alan Richardson as senior coach, ended with a spirited 27-point victory over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium. Jumping out of the blocks, they produced an avalanche of goals in the first half to take a sizeable lead into the long break.
Rowan Marshall was again immense in the ruck, and with Jack Billings and Hunter Clark winning plenty of ball in the middle, the Saints were able to weather the inevitable Bulldogs charge in the second half. Jack Lonie and Tim Membrey were the main beneficiaries of their work in the middle, with both kicking four goals for the afternoon.
On a memorable afternoon for the club, here are our top five magic moments from Round 18.
5. Run and Carry
The Bulldogs were forced into error time and time again as they struggled to find an answer to the Saints pressure and effort. Not just content with forcing the turnover, the home team relentlessly drove the ball forward with vigour and dare.
A perfect example of this run and carry that saw the Saints kick nine goals from possession chains starting in their back half, was Blake Acres’ two bounce give and get effort from half-back that resulted in a goal for Jade Gresham. The skilled utility seemed to have been let off the chain against the Bulldogs and made the most of the freedom.
4. First Goal
Doulton Langlands had been made to wait for his debut outing in red, black and white, but it might have been worth the wait. While he may not have collected a huge number of possessions he showed poise under pressure when he did get his hands on the Sherrin.
His highlight in a promising first game though, would no doubt be his smart snap for goal in the second quarter which resulted in his first six-pointer in the big time. A much better finish than the one shared on social media during the week when interim coach Brett Ratten offered him his debut if he could kick truly in front of the entire playing group. Much like his second effort that day, this kick resulted in the 19-year-old being set upon by each and every one of his teammates.
3. Body on the line
Matthew Parker was recalled to the seniors this week after missing the clash with Geelong and was intent on making an impact on the contest. Denied the opportunity to hit the scoreboard when a mark in front of goal was not awarded, the live-wire made sure the Saints didn’t miss a scoring opportunity the next time the ball came forward.
Despite being out of position, and with Hayden Crosier poised to take an intercept mark, Parker made a crucial challenge on the ball causing the ball to spill to a nest of Saints and eventually to Tim Membrey. The resulting goal giving the team just reward for their early dominance of the clearance battle.
2. Lonie Magic
In his second game back from injury, Jack Lonie reminded Saints fans what they have been missing in his absence in 2019. His three-goal first quarter playing a big part in the team’s early dominance and perhaps adding a contender for goal of the year. Hemmed in on the boundary, with Bulldog defenders bearing down on him, Lonie was able to steady with one step and thread the needle with a left foot banana.
Ok, this one might seem like cheating but the Saints celebration was telling for a number of different reasons not least of which being the men in the centre of the circle when the club song was sung with Langlands joined by Ratten and Nick Coffield. While it isn’t that surprising to see a debutant in the middle, it isn’t often that a coach’s first win is acknowledged with the Gatorade shower treatment. If you wanted an indication of the solidarity of the group, you saw it in this moment.
Coffield’s place in the circle surprising only in that after 15 games this was his first win in red, black and white. Picked at number eight in the 2017 draft he and Hunter Clark, who came to the club with the pick before him, played their best games for the club. A fact almost as exciting for the club as the result.