After just one win from their first seven games, the Saints set themselves a difficult task if they were to qualify for a fourth consecutive finals series. With five wins from their next seven games, they were making a good fist of doing just that when they met West Coast at Etihad Stadium in Round 17. The Eagles, conversely, had visions of a top four finish and were not going to make things easy for the Saints.
All of which made the opening quarter all the more remarkable as the resurging home team kicked seven goals to nil in a blistering statement of intent. Stephen Milne, Raph Clarke, Justin Koschitzke with two, Jack Steven and Ryan Gamble all delivering majors to the great delight 31,416 fans in attendance. When Gamble kicked his second inside the first minute of the second quarter, it seemed like a case of how far the Saints. The Eagles had other ideas though.
Brad Ebert, Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff kick started the West Coast response in the second quarter. Milne’s second briefly halted the charge before five unanswered goals saw the visitors take a two point three quarter time lead. It would be Milne to again break the run and retake the lead for the Saints before a piece of individual brilliance from Nic Naitanui once again gave the Eagles the edge.
With the home fans on the edge of their seats, and with their season once again tinkering on the edge, Ross Lyon’s men settled once more. Sean Dempster tilted the balance before two goals in a minute to Leigh Montagna and Brett Peake all but secured the four premiership points. David Armitage put the finishing touches on the victory with one last goal deep in time on.