AFL 2021: All The Goals v GWS – Round 1

The Saints began their 2021 campaign with a thrilling eight-point victory over GWS at a rain-sodden Giants Stadium in Sydney. After conceding the first two goals of the game, they seemed in control when they kicked five of the next six either side of the first change, through Jacks Billings, Lonie, & Higgins, Brad Hill, and Tim Membrey.

A lapse in the shadows of halftime though, would mean that they would hold just a seven-point lead at the long break. They would surrender it entirely early in the third quarter, when Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio kicked truly, but would answer back strongly. Higgins second goal in his new colours, followed by a first for Seb Ross and a second for Tim Membrey, helping the Saints out to 16 point lead late in the quarter. Callum Ward and Tim Taranto would see the margin reduced to three points before Josh Battle again saw the visitors to a two-kick lead.

Yet just as the Saints had looked to have settled, the match turned once more. Harry Himmelberg kicked truly before and after the long change then, after Jacob Hopper scored from long range, had the chance to boot the hosts 16 points clear. Instead, when he missed from an easy angle, he left the contest very much alive instead of taking a stranglehold of it for his team.

It would take a Goal of the Year contender from Lonie, and a long-range bomb from Ross but the Saints gladly took advantage of Himmelberg’s wastefulness. When Membrey kicked another shortly afterwards, the margin was again out to two kicks but there was plenty of tension ahead. A Lachie Keefe goal saw the Giants back within a point with four minutes to play.

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The match would remain in dispute until the final minute when Dan Butler settled the issue. The former Tiger earned a holding the ball free kick. Despite being called to play on, after attempting to run down the clock, he kicked truly and the Saints got home by eight points.

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