The Saints Round 17 clash with West Coast had big rewards on offer for the winner, with it securing a berth in the 2020 finals and keeping alive faint hopes of a top-four berth. Conversely, for the loser, a defeat meant a must-win game in the final round to book their place in the final eight.
|AFL 2020: Ratts Post Match Presser – Round 17 v West Coast.|
|AFL 2020: Monday’s Experts – Round 17 v West Coast.|
|AFL 2020: Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory – Round 17 v West Coast.|
With confirmation of a finals berth on the line, the Saints started the contest strongly. Paddy Ryder opened the scoring with a goal after an uncontested mark inside forward 50. A Hunter Clark intercept in the centre square led to a Tim Membrey goal and an early 15-point lead. A portent of things to come followed when a Tim Kelly clearance led to a Jack Darling goal which, when followed shortly after by a poacher’s goal from Liam Ryan, saw the Eagles quickly back within a goal as the quarter entered time-on. With the teams trading behinds following Ryan’s goal, the Saints early dominance was not reflected on the scoreboard until a goal review in the final minute saw Jack Lonie awarded a major and his team a 10-point gap at the break.
Little did anybody know at the time but as Brian Taylor bleated about the decision, it would not be until the fourth quarter that the Saints would score again. Yet, in only conceding three goals in this time, they were well and truly in the contest as the final quarter began. A quick Seb Ross goal almost immediately upon the restart followed quickly after by a soccering effort from Dan Butler meant that scores were level less than three minutes into the term. A snap by Rowan Marshall three minutes later, handed the Saints the lead and they looked likely winners. Unfortunately it was not to be with misses by Max King and Brad Hill leaving the door ajar for a get out of jail effort for the Eagles.