Coming off the bye, and after losing against Melbourne in heartbreaking circumstances in Round 14, the Saints faced a must-win encounter with the Hawks in Round 16. Despite getting off to a slow start, and being challenged all day, they found a way to kick clear and record the must needed victory to keep their finals destiny in their own hands.
|AFL 2020: Ratts Post Match Presser – Round 16 v Hawthorn.|
|AFL 2020: Monday’s Experts – Round 16 v Hawthorn.|
|AFL 2020: Saints Summary – Round 16 v Hawthorn.|
Coming off defeat against the previously winless Crows, the Hawks got off to a fast start at Metricon Stadium and kicked the first three goals of the game. The third, coming after a missed free kick to Ben Paton, indirectly led to the Saints opener to Rowan Marshall. We say indirectly because in between Dylan Moore’s goal for Hawthorn and Marshall’s for St Kilda was a centre clearance that resulted in a behind to Brad Hill, and out of bounds on the full after the kick in and marks to Zak Jones and Marshall.
When an intercept mark to Paddy Ryder at half-forward led to a goal to Jack Steele two minutes later, the Saints were right back in the contest. A Dan Butler goal almost immediately after, following smart work and clean ball movement from half-back, saw them take the lead. When Zak Jones received a smart handpass from Jack Billings and kicked another shortly after, the tide looked to have completely turned.
It would not last long though, back to back goals handing Hawthorn back the advantage in the shadows of quarter-time. The three-point margin at the first break could have been worse though, if not for the clever work of Paddy Ryder who rushed to man the mark on Jack Gunston after the siren shot for goal. In doing so, the veteran was able to be in a position to get a hand on the shot and prevent Gunston adding to the Hawthorn lead.
After the heady heights of a nine goal first quarter, the second would produce just one. Brad Hill prominent in a movement down the ‘desert wing’ that ended up with Jack Lonie kicking the Saints into the lead. The third quarter would be be a relative frenzy in comparison, with a Luke Breust goal answered by Marshall’s second and an on the siren special from Jack Billings to extend the lead to 13-points at the last break.
Josh Battle would kick the Saints 19-points clear, after a coast-to-coast movement punished the Hawks for a Mitch Lewis miss. Tom Scully would answer but, having been the beneficiaries of the Saints wastefulness in the first three quarters, the Hawks would return the favour in the fourth. They would be punished for this when, after missing their third consecutive shot, they watched on as Paddy Ryder goaled from the resulting kick in.
The result would remain in the balance when Breust answered but, Ryan Abbott’s first goal for the club and Jack Lonie’s second for the day ensured that the Saints wouldn’t be headed. A late Tom Mitchell goal saw the margin reduced to 14 points but the four premiership points were all that mattered on this day.