The Saints entered their Elimination Final in 1992 without having tasted victory in September for 19 years. Coming up against a Collingwood team that had won 16 games and had missed the minor premiership by percentage, they were at long odds to change that fact when the two teams met at Waverley Park. Expectations mattered for little though on this day, led by big performances from Tony Lockett and Robert Harvey, they ran out eight point winners on a famous afternoon for the club.
While it ended in glory, it started shakily, with neither side scoring in the first seven minutes of the contest. A free kick and fifty metre penalty seeing future Saint Tony Francis to open the scoring for the Pies. The Saints two spearheads, Tony Lockett and Stewart Loewe, both missed opportunities as the two teams spent the next 11 minutes trading minor scores.
It would be Russell Morris who would break this run of misses and kick the Saints opener in the 22nd minute. Remarkably, despite Collingwood having had the better of the play to this point, it also gave his team the lead. After 15 minutes between the quarter’s first and second goals, Morris’ goal triggered a veritable avalanche of them. Scott Russell answered immediately for the Pies before Stewart Loewe kicked his first after the quarter-time siren to once again give the Saints the advantage.
They would be slow out of the blocks once again to start the second term with 15 minutes elapsing before Loewe kicked the team’s first goal. In which time Collingwood kicked three to take an early stranglehold on the game. Loewe’s goal seemed to fire his team into action but they were unable to take full toll with he and Lockett both missing set shots. Any doubts that they may not prosper from the changing tide were quickly set aside though when Mick Dwyer, Adrian Fletcher, and Tony Lockett all goaled in a six-minute period to turn the game on its head. It could have been four in ten, with Loewe having another opportunity to score after the half-time siren.
Unlike the second quarter, the Saints were able to carry their momentum into the third. Dale Kickett and Mick Dwyer both kicking goals before three minutes had elapsed after the resumption. With the latter extending the margin to a game-high 21-points, there was little surprise that it stirred Collingwood into action. Ron McKeown kicked his second but his teammates weren’t as successful in front of the sticks with Brad Rowe, Mick McGuane, and Scott Russell all missing opportunities to close the gap.
A Gavin Brown goal did breathe life into the contest but was quickly answered by Lockett’s second for the afternoon. Rowe would soccer one through from the goal square before a Troy Lehman behind brought the margin back to six points. A third for Plugger in time-on though would ensure that the Saints took the momentum into the last break.
Craig Devonport would kick things off in the fourth quarter. His excited reaction the perfect illustration of just how close the Saints were to their breakthrough victory. Two goals to Plugger, bookending misses from McKeown and Russell, looked to have wrapped up the contest with the margin out to 29-points. Nobody told Ron McKeown though. The burly Magpie did everything humanly possible to get his side back into the contest and with three goals he got them perilously close.
The Saints had too many contributors though and would hold on for a well-deserved eight-point victory. After nearly two decades without a finals victory, and 12 months after being unlucky losers upon their return to September, it was an afternoon to savour for the club. Genuine contenders for the premiership, it would come as a surprise that their next finals victory was five years away.