|AFL 2020: Ratts Post Match Presser – Round 14 v Melbourne|
|AFL 2020: Monday’s Experts – Round 14 v Melbourne|
|AFL 2020: Another Reminder That the Universe Can be Cruel – Round 14 v Melbourne.|
|AFL 2020: What a Difference a Kick Can Make.|
St Kilda traveled to Alice Springs to take on Melbourne in Round 14 in a match that had huge implications for both teams’ finals chances. While it would end in disappointment, it opened promisingly with the Saints dominating the clearance battle early and kicked the opening two scores of the match. Unfortunately, in a portent of the things to come, both shots ended in minor scores and the first goal of the match would be ultimately kicked by Christian Petracca.
Max King would respond with the Saints first goal, taking advantage of an Ed Phillips intercept inside the centre corridor. Yet despite his goal retaking the lead, the quarter would turn in time-on with goals to Petracca, Max Gawn and Sam Weideman giving the Demons a 15-point quarter-time advantage.
The lead would be out to a game high 21-points when Mitch Brown kicked the first goal of the second quarter. The Saints responded with a lift in intensity that would lead to an Ed Phillips goal in the 14th minute to breathe life into the contest. Two goals inside a minute to end the quarter meant it was game on at half-time. The margin just two-points at the long break following majors to Jack Steele and Rowan Marshall from the resultant centre clearance.
A smart piece of work from Max King at a forward fifty stoppage led to a Josh Battle goal quickly after the resumption to give the Saints the lead. That man Petracca would be on hand to answer before Paddy Ryder got on the end of a Jack Sinclair forward entry to once again reclaim the advantage. It would be surrendered again in the shadows of the three-quarter time when Weideman goaled after a coast to coast movement from the Demons.
The final quarter would be a hard slog with neither team giving an inch to the other in pursuit of victory. Unfortunately these efforts were overshadowed in the finish by an AFL oversight that was highlighted in the games decisive goal. Despite the goal umpire’s initial doubts, Christian Petracca would be awarded a fourth goal because the ARC did not have the necessary cameras in place to complete the review requested by the match officials.
Like the ARC we have no way of knowing whether Dougal Howard got his hand to the ball before the line or not. We are also of the view that it should never have come to a despairing lunge at the line by Howard, as he should have been in better position in the first place and his fellow defenders should have prevented the shot in the first place. That said, with a decision review system in place for this exact purpose, it is ridiculous that a budgetary decision means there is a question mark over this decisive play.
Right, wrong or indifferent, Petracca’s goal left the Saints 10 points down with six minutes to play. Tim Membrey would get one back to set up a grandstand finish and Rowan Marshall had a go-ahead shot with two minutes to play but they were unable to reel the Demons in before the final siren sounded.