2021 was a whirlwind of a year for St Kilda, with miracle goals, landmark guernseys and plenty of firsts all being showcased throughout the season.
With the home and away season having come to a close, we are reliving the best moments from 2021. After counting down the moments from 20 to 17, today we are counting down from 16 to 13.
16 – A Higgins miracle
Impossible is always possible when it comes to Jack Higgins kicking goals.
The St Kilda faithful had seen what the goal-sneak was capable of at Richmond, and it didn’t take too long for Higgins to impress at his new club.
Less than two minutes into the Saints’ Round 6 encounter with Port Adelaide, the 22-year-old received a handball over the top from Jack Billings before wheeling around onto his right foot.
Reined in by the boundary, Higgins quickly slammed the footy onto his left boot from 45 out, curling in a miracle goal that would see him nominated for Goal of the Year.
15 - Leo lights up Metricon
Leo Connolly’s debut had it all. Taking on the reigning Premiers at the MCG, made the medical-sub at the last minute before coming on in the third quarter to impress at the home of footy. All he was missing was a goal.
Thankfully for the youngster, that would come two weeks later as the Saints travelled up north to take on the Lions.
With the slender lead of five points late in the third term, Connolly found himself on the receiving end of a silky bit of play from Zak Jones, who hit up the third-gamer 40 out from goal.
While the forward-line may be unfamiliar territory for the young defender, Connolly didn’t show it as he calmly trotted in and put through the first goal of his AFL career, sending his teammates and fans alike into raptures, as well as seeing the Saints take the lead.
14 – Nicky’s Indigenous Guernsey
St Kilda’s 2021 Indigenous guernsey took on a different type of meaning this year, with the design and artwork painted by club legend Nicky Winmar.
Revealed to the players by the Saints’ great himself, Winmar explained how the guernsey was inspired by his family, his history and his love of St Kilda.
Launched alongside the Ripple Effect documentary and the Point and Be Proud program, the guernsey was one of several initiatives designed to educate the community about the ongoing impacts of racism on Indigenous mental health and wellbeing
St Kilda would go on to wear the guernsey in Rounds 11 and 12 against North Melbourne and Sydney.
13 – Paddy’s wizardry in the west
Experience is an important trait in footy, and Paddy Ryder was a perfect example of that against the Eagles.
The 32-year-old was hit up from a smart short pass courtesy of Dan Butler, with the only issue being that it was a bit too short.
While less experienced rucks may have panicked and slammed it onto their boot, Ryder had 269 games to lean on.
Forced to play on, the veteran moved left, then right surveying up the situation. Harkening back to his days at Essendon when the big ruckman used to kick snags for fun around the body, Ryder would square up and snap through a masterful goal.