The Saints Round 18 clash with GWS took on the elements of an early elimination final with both sides requiring victory to confirm their place in the final eight in 2020. Having squandered a number of opportunities to do so earlier in the season, Brett Ratten’s men were not going to let this last chance slip through their fingers. After an even first half, they kept the Giants goalless in the second to run out comprehensive 52-point victors.
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In almost the perfect start to the match, Tim Membrey kicked the opening goal almost immediately after the opening bounce. The key forward marked strongly after Jack Steele won a free kick in the middle and drove the ball forward. One of the most accurate set shots in the competition, Membrey made no mistake and gave his team an early lead. The teams would trade behinds and the lead would be extended to seven points before the Giants answered with their first major to Daniel Lloyd.
It would not be until the shadows of time on that the scoreboard attendant would be bothered again. Both teams churning the ball going forward until Josh Battle turned a half-chance into a goal with a smart snap on the run at half-forward. Fortune was also in play in the Saints third goal with Jack Lonie marking a hacked Giants soccer deep in the pocket unopposed. The fortune at play being that he was all alone because he was being treated for a jarred knee and had not made his way to the next contest as he otherwise would have. With Lonie unable to take his kick, Brad Hill gleefully accepted the responsibility and navigated a difficult angle with ease to extend the lead to ten points.
Quick hands from Seb Ross and a smart finish by Jack Steele would increase the margin after the break but also seemed to stir the Giants from their slumber. Goals to Jake Riccardi and Toby Greene would bring the 2019 Grand Finalists back within four points as the quarter entered time-on. Thankfully, before anybody could say here comes the Giants after Greene’s goal, Dan Butler reinstated the half-time advantage. A typical crumbers goal the end result after Jarryn Geary set the play in motion at half-back by leaving his man to disrupt a promising GWS attacking raid.
The Saints next goal would come via Rowan Marshall who profited from an umpiring mistake that saw him incorrectly awarded a mark a minute into the third quarter. This piece of umpiring good fortune a quick piece of square up after diabolical decision saw Josh Battle denied a shot at goal before half time. To the great surprise of everyone, including Connor Idun who received the free kick, Marshall was penalised for a hold which saw Battle’s fine contested mark go unrewarded.
Jack Lonie and Jack Billings would both profit shortly after through balls that got out the back and their goals saw the margin swell to 29 points by the final change. Despite the Giants season being on the line, it was all one way traffic for the Saints in the last quarter. An early goal to Max King was quickly followed by a deft soccering effort from Paddy Ryder after a strong Lonie tackle. Lonie would have his own deft effort moments later and then when Jack Steele scored from one of his 10 clearances for the night, the exclamation mark had been well and truly added to a famous victory for the club.