AFLW 2020: Heartbreak in Adelaide

Despite having led for much of the day, Sunday afternoon would end in heartbreak for the Saints falling agonisingly short of a famous victory in their AFLW contest at Highsense Stadium. Their endeavour, spirit, and effort not enough in the face of a three-goal to nil final term burst from the Crows.

With the 2019 Premiers celebrating the unfurling of their 2019 flag in front of their home fans, an overawed Saints team would not have surprised. Yet, unlike a week earlier where the moment got to them, it was in the games earliest skirmishes that they took the upper hand. With a relentless attack on both the player and the ball, they forced the Crows into regular error.

These efforts saw the game played almost entirely on their terms but, even with a 10-5 inside 50 count, they were not reflected on the scoreboard. It would take a piece of Kate McCarthy magic to break the first term stalemate. The former Lion playing pickpocket by popping up between five opponents to intercept the ball and race away to kick the opening goal.

Homecoming goal

Jess Sedunary, on her first visit to Adelaide since leaving the Crows, was one Saint who was especially keen to grab the points on this day. While she mightn’t have finished with a high possession count she made a number of telling contributions. Not least of which was her goal to open the scoring in the second quarter. What the contest meant to her on full show in her celebration afterward. The 14-point lead Sedunary’s goal brought the Saints would be the largest they would enjoy all day.

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Georgia Patrikios, a Round One Nominee for the Rising Star Award, continued her sublime start to the AFLW season. Urged on by her very own cheer squad, all decked out in t-shirts with her face plastered on them, she helped herself to 18 possessions. Her seemingly effortless ability to manufacture time and space a highlight of the day. Tarni White and Tilly Lucas-Rodd, and their efforts in the defensive half, were also prominent for the Saints. One of the contingent of ex-Blues in the squad, Lucas-Rodd, the 23-year old tattooee, finished the day the leading Saints possession winner with 19.

The G-Train makes her mark

Prominent up forward, after a quiet outing against the Bulldogs, was Caitlin Greiser. The day before her 21st birthday, the player known by her teammates as G-Train, showed why she was named in the VFLW Team of the Year in 2019. Providing a focal point up forward, like her (nick)namesake did in the early 2000’s, she took a number of strong marks before hitting the scoreboard with two goals.

Her first in the second quarter, answered the Crows first, before the contest changed in the shadows of half-time. The Saints previously iron-like grip on the match was loosened with the changing fortunes of the midfields. Greiser’s second, coming against the tide, ensured that her team would continue to lead into the final term.

When Patrikios celebrated what appeared to be a goal early in the last quarter, for a brief moment many might have thought they had done enough. Unfortunately for the Saints young gun and her team, the goal umpire was not one of these people. Unmoved by the fervent celebrations he signaled instead that the ball had been touched on the line. Five points less than they had hoped for, the solitary point earned by Patrikios would be the last the Saints would score.

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It would not be enough.

They would come up 13-points short at the final siren despite bravely fighting to the end of the match. No player illustrated this fighting spirt than Clara Fitzpatrick. The 29-year-old Irishwoman was stretchered from the field after receiving heavy contact in a marking contest close to Adelaide’s goal. Adding insult to injury, her bravery was not rewarded by the umpire. Neither a mark or a free kick awarded despite the laws of the game suggesting either was appropriate.

The spirit within the team was on show as Fitzpatrick was taken from the field. Each and every Saint made their way to the Irish woman before she crossed the boundary line. Unfortunately in the minutes that followed they saw the match slip away. The cruel nature of football leaving them with the bitter taste of defeat, rather than four premiership points, to accompany them on the plane ride home.

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ADELAIDE     0.0     2.1     3.2     6.4     (40)
ST KILDA       1.1     3.2      4.2    4.3      (27) 

Adelaide: Considine, Biddell, Thompson, Gould, Newman, Jones
St Kilda: Greiser 2, McCarthy, Sedunary

Adelaide: Marinoff, Hatchard, Gum, Allan, J Foley, Rajcic
St Kilda: White, Patrikios, Lucas-Rodd, Exon, Vesely, Munn

Adelaide: Nil
St Kilda: Fitzpatrick (head knock) 

Adelaide: Nil
St Kilda: Nil 

Reports: Nil 

Crowd: 6433 at Hisense Stadium

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