It was a night to remember when St Kilda and Richmond met in front of a big Etihad Stadium crowd in Maddie’s Match 2017. In a match with great significance for his family, Nick Riewoldt turned back the clock to produce a signature performance in the Saints big win over the Tigers. The match was over as a contest at halftime with the margin 82-points, 11 individual goal-kickers helping the team to a statement-making victory.
1. Nick Riewoldt
Slipping away from Alex Rance, Riewoldt got on the end of a long bomb from Seb Ross 25-metres out from goal. The Tiger backman’s remonstrations with Jack Lonie afterward, made it a certainty with the resultant 50-metre penalty taking Riewoldt to the goal line to take his shot.
2. Josh Bruce
The Saints sliced their way through the Tigers at will in the first half and their second goal came at the end of a crisp pass from Jack Newnes to a leading Josh Bruce. In an unusually accurate night in front of goal, the former Giant converted his opportunity with a sharp shot from a tight angle 40 metres out.
3. Seb Ross
The Tigers were driven to despair by the Saints efficiency with the ball and their ferociousness without it. Seb Ross was the beneficiary of this when he was awarded a free-kick after Nick Riewoldt and Jack Steele pressured Trent Cotchin into kicking the ball out of bounds deliberately. A frustrated Cotchin would then give away a 50-metre penalty with an ill-disciplined strike to the stomach of Jack Lonie to march Ross to within easy range of the Saints third goal of the game. If not for a soft willed AFL Tribunal in Grand Final week, this indiscretion from Cotchin would have been the reason his bump of Dylan Shiel in the Prelim Final would cost him his chance to lead the Tigers out on the last Saturday in September.
4. Jack Billings
After playing a critical role in two of the first three goals of the match, this would be the first in which Jack Lonie would officially be credited with a goal assist. After swooping on a loose ball deep in the forward pocket he skilfully delivered the ball to a loose Jack Billings standing loose at the top of the goal square. After having received the gift wrapped opportunity, Billings made no mistake to once again stretch the Saints lead to three goals.
5. Jade Gresham
Jade Gresham would ultimately be credited with the goal by kicking truly from his set shot, but its genesis began with a pinpoint pass from Jack Newnes from defensive 50. Finding Koby Stevens inside the centre square with a precision play, Newnes opened up the field for his team. Stevens quickly played on to Membrey at half forward who in turn passed the ball to the advantage of Gresham deep inside attacking fifty.
6. Billy Longer
The ruckman’s third career goal came from a ruck infringement at a boundary throw in. After gaining front position, Longer was held by his opposite number Toby Nankervis and was presented with a shot at goal from 45 metres out. Despite the urging of a number of his teammates for him to handpass the ball, he took his shot and kicked truly to continue the Saints early dominance of the contest.
7. Nick Riewoldt
The ever dangerous Jack Lonie was again involved with the Saints seventh goal of the match. Collecting a loose ball at half forward he delivered a long bomb to the hot spot where Riewoldt, running with the flight of the ball, once again outmarked an outmatched Rance. Kicking across his body from the pocket he stretched the Saints lead to six goals.
8. Koby Stevens
Already a game with moments the Tigers would prefer never to see again, this would have been a particularly galling period of play for Damian Hardwick. After working in tight confines at half forward, Ben Long delivered the ball inside forward fifty. Although his well weighted pass was dropped by the loose Stevens, the onballer had enough time to recover the ball, beat one would be tackler before kicking truly on the run despite a despairing Trent Cotchin tackle.
9. Leigh Montagna
The first of a pair of long range efforts from the veteran, Montagna profited from some smart work in the middle by his teammates. Sam Gilbert would be involved twice in the lead up after first intercepting a Dustin Martin kick forward, he would be the one to release Montagna after finding space on the end of a chain of handballs from Jacks Steven and Steele.
10. Tim Membrey
The Saints desire to outrun their opponents was on fullshow in their tenth goal kicked by Tim Membrey. After Steven found Riewoldt on centre wing with a smart pass, a hard-running Jack Sinclair provided a handball option and drove the ball forward. The quick interplay leaving the Tigers defenders in disarray and allowed for Tim Membrey to contest the ball one on one.
11. Koby Stevens
Stevens’ second goal was again a result of the Saints harder running giving them more players at the contest. After Josh Bruce flew high for a long ball forward, despite it falling to the advantage of a pair of Tigers, the outnumber saw him the first to recover it. Upon collecting the loose ball he quickly shuffled it out to the loose Stevens who slammed it through from close range.
12. Jade Gresham
After Sam Gilbert and Jack Steven combined to win a holding the ball free kick, the former drove the ball forward. With it clearing the contest between Tim Membrey and Dylan Grimes, Jade Gresham was the first to read the play correctly and, upon collecting the ball, waltzed into an open goal.
13. Leigh Montagna
Joey’s second long-range effort came from the Saints again being too strong at the contest. A disputed ball after a ruck contest at half-forward was won by Koby Stevens who shoveled it out to Montagna who took great delight in kicking his second goal.
14. Jack Steven
The exclamation mark on a scintillating half of forward and a fitting reward for Jack Steven saw the Saints extend their lead to 82-points. Receiving the ball just outside forward fifty, Steven stepped around Daniel Rioli before running his full distance and kicking truly from 40 metres out.
15. Tim Membrey
Kicking in after a Jack Riewoldt behind, Dylan Roberton found Leigh Montagna with a short pass who in turn found a loose Koby Stevens with a long handpass. The former Bulldog kicked to a contest on the wing that saw the ball brought to ground by Nick Riewoldt and sharked by Jack Lonie who handballed to his former skipper who found Membrey deep inside fifty who played on and goaled on the run. In kicking the next two he saw the Saints lead back out to 84 points.
18. Josh Bruce
Once again it was weight of numbers that produced a goal scoring opportunity for the Saints. Having been lurking on the fat side, Bruce was the beneficiary when a contest in the forward pocket was ultimately won by Jack Billings.
19. Nick Riewoldt
Although he would have another chance late, this would be the club great’s last goal for the night. Rewarded for his hard running, travelling with the flight of the ball, he would mark a Seb Ross pass and kick truly from 40 out.
20. Tim Membrey
A fifth goal for the former Swan a fitting reward for his efforts up forward against the Tigers. The only blemish on a night out for the dangerous forward was his report in the second quarter for an ugly challenge on Dylan Grimes.
21. Daniel McKenzie
Just his second career goal, McKenzie profited from his hard running to make space. In space 30 metres out and in front of goal, he drew attention and then the Sherrin from Josh Bruce.