If the Saints could manage the highest score ever recorded and keep the Lions to the lowest score ever recorded in Round 23, they had a chance to sneak into the 2016 finals at the expense of the Kangaroos. Instead they settled for a 40 goal shootout to record only their second winning season in five years.
While the Saints had little to play for, this was not the case for the Lions who were looking to ensure that the suspension riddled Bombers wound up with wooden spoon and not them. To this end they got off to the perfect start with quick goals to Tom Rockliff and Liam Dawson. With both sides more intent to attack than defend, the Saints answered with three goals of their own through Nathan Wright and Jacks Lonie and Newnes. Dawson and Lonie would both kick their second before Josh Bruce ensured the Saints took a 13-point lead into the first break.
The teams would trade goals to start the second quarter. Goals to Jarryn Geary and Tim Membrey were answered by Ben Keays and Josh Walker. With his team struggling to put the spirited Lions away, Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt hit the scoreboard for the first time. He would follow it up with a second and then, after Bruce added his second, a third for the quarter in the shadows of half time. With the margin 29-points at the long break, an already loose encounter became even more attack focused.
Nathan Wright would open proceedings with his second before Daniel Merrett kicked his first for the season in his last ever game for the Lions. Jack Steven and Jack Lonie would answer to extend the margin and increase the visitor’s fears of a last-place finish. The 10 metre exclusion zone was at play in Lonie’s goal as it was in Pearce Hanley’s answering goal for Brisbane. Riewoldt’s fourth would be pegged back by Daniel Rich before Sam Gilbert was marched 100-metres from half back to full forward. Riewoldt’s fifth would round out the quarter with the margin out to 45-points.
Brandon White in his first game would kick his first goal to open the final quarter. It would be the first of seven St Kilda goals as Riewoldt moved to within one goal of his first bag of 10. He would finish the day on nine and a career-high 21-marks. Tim Membrey and Josh Bruce also joined in the party before David Armitage, in game 150, kicked the teams 25th of the day.