In an explosive opening to the match, Brent Guerra left Cameron Ling seeing stars after a heavy bump after the first bounce of the game. With the umpires rushing to the scene to calm the situation down, it meant that those at home were able to hear the message that was delivered along with the heavy hit. “You got what you f*^#ing wanted, you red-headed c*^t,” coming loud and clear through the umpires microphones.
While the Saints landed the first blow, it was the Cats who scored the opening goal when Kent Kingsley soccered a loose ball between the big sticks from the goal square. Nick Riewoldt would kick the Saints first after receiving a sharp handball from Heath Black, before settling and letting loose from just inside forward fifty. His wait for a second would be less than a minute after marking a hurried kick off the ground from Stephen Powell at the resulting centre bounce.
A free kick would see David Haynes regain the lead for the Cats, before a high tackle on Brent Guerra saw it change hands for the third time in the first quarter. Michael Tuck Medallist Robert Harvey set up Stephen Milne with a trademark short pass to the goal sneak 40-metres out from goal. After an even opening term, it gave the Saints a handy 12-point lead at the first break.
The exploratory rule that saw the ball remain live after it hit the goal post if it remained in play afterward, was at play in the Cats opening goal of the second term. Matt Maguire, unfortunately, caught with the ball as it ricocheted off the woodwork and Kent Kingsley swooped in and played on from the resulting free-kick to claim his second. The other main exploratory rule, which saw goals kicked from outside fifty count nine, saw future SuperBowl Punter Ben Graham give his team the lead with his goal soon after.
When Kingsley kicked his third major the contest had taken a sharp turn. It would be remiss not to mention at this stage that the Cat’s goalkicker would at one stage be a surprise winner of the AFL’s Most Sexiest Player Award. It was said that his mother and partner might have contracted RSI, so enthusiastic had their efforts been to see him claim the prize.
The teams traded goals, with Guerra and Aussie Jones hitting the scoreboard for the Saints before Aaron Hamill saw the Saints draw within a kick a minute before half-time. The former skipper’s major would be cancelled out before the half-time siren sounded though, with Matthew McCarthy giving the Cats an 11-point half-time lead with just seconds on the clock.
After their former skipper kicked the last goal of the first half, the Saints new captain kicked their first of the second. After a big Guerra tackle, Lenny Hayes finding himself on the end of a Stephen Milne handpass. Just as they were finding some traction in the contest, a soft freekick, and fifty-metre penalty gave Kent Kingsley a fifth goal and favourite status for the Michael Tuck Medal. When Ben Graham kicked his second soon after, the Cats had a game-high 18-point margin and looked likely winners.
With both sides playing attractive and attacking football, within the blink of an eye, the contest turned again on the back of two quick Guerra goals. The two snaps gave him four for the match and once again saw the Saints draw within a goal before Gary Ablett kicked a late goal to ensure the Cats took an 11-point lead into the final term.
Hamill opened the scoring for the Saints in the fourth quarter before he was at the centre of a controversial moment that helped Leigh Montagna steal the lead. With Montagna looking to drive the ball inside fifty, Hamill was bumped to the ground as he attempted to present a target for the young Saint onballer. As a result, Montagna was awarded a fifty-metre penalty and a chance for nine points as a result of his initial position being outside the attacking arc. Making no mistake he gave the Saints the lead and the Cats all manner of spilt milk to cry about in the week to follow.
Fraser Gehrig had been well held by Matthew Scarlett but he was on hand to profit from some good fortune and kick the next two goals of the game. Marking a miss kick from Hamill on the goalline he kicked truly from a tight angle and soon after was on hand to profit when a Nick Riewoldt shot bounced off the goal post and back into play. With his second major the game was won but there was one last goal to savour. Luke Ball would be credited with the major but it was Stephen Milne’s goal. Unlucky not to earn himself a free-kick, Milne displayed incredible elusiveness to ensure the ball ended up in the hands of Ball who steamed into an open goal.