AFL 2016: All The Goals v Geelong – Round 14

In almost a carbon copy of their famous clash in the same round seven years earlier, the Saints and Cats played out an absolute thriller at Etihad Stadium in Round 14, 2016. While the stakes on offer were different, how the two matches unfolded were eerily similar. Just like they had in 2009, the Saints jumped out of the blocks the better and led by five goals in the first half. They would also see this advantage surrendered and required a late fightback to claim the premiership points. This time around Jack Steven would walk in Michael Gardiner’s footsteps and kick the winner but only after Jade Gresham made a strong claim for goal of the year moments earlier.

Unlike the 2009 epic, there weren’t many who expected this match to be in any way close. With the Saints having struggled their way to a five and seven record in 2016, they looked to have their work cut out for them against the top of the ladder Cats. But nobody told Alan Richardson or his team who were primed to pull off the upset of the season.

Paddy McCartin opened the scoring after getting on the end of a smart pass from Jade Gresham. Nathan Wright would kick his first two career goals either side of the Cats first kicked by Tom Hawkins. A Jack Newnes goal before quarter-time would see the Saints take a 16-point lead into the first break.

Inspired by three goals from Darren Minchington, the Saints blew the game open early in the second quarter. He and Josh Bruce combining to kick four goals early in the quarter to see the margin out to 30-points. However, just as it looked like they had helped their team take a stranglehold on the game, the visitors would respond hard.

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Kick started by a Patrick Dangerfield goal before half-time, the Cats would kick seven goals to two to take the lead. Tim Membrey and Jack Newnes keeping the Saints in the match during the run of goals before a Mav Weller double gave them a two-goal advantage at the main break.

They would be unable to take this momentum into the fourth quarter though and it looked as though this lapse would be costly when Stephen Motlop kicked the Cats nine points clear heading into time-on. Enter Jade Gresham. The 18-year-old electrified the crowd with a remarkable goal that required him chasing down a loose ball, breaking a Max Rooke tackle and threading the needle from the boundary. With the atmosphere at the ground at fever pitch, Jack Steven was able to get goal side at forward fifty ball-up and soccered the ball through from 20-metres out to kick his team clear. It would prove the winner, with the Saints holding on for the last four-minute to claim a well deserved victory against the odds.

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