St Kilda and Hawthorn fought out a titanic draw at Etihad Stadium in a cracking Friday night encounter.
Coming into the game, the Saints were sitting in third spot and Hawthorn was seventh and a huge crowd of 49,373 packed into Docklands. Only once in the night did either side manage a run of three unanswered goals.
A scrambled goal by Saint Ben McEvoy with 12 seconds to go salvaged two premiership points for the Saints. A few moments, earlier Cyril Rioli’s match-winning goal had been disallowed after an interchange infringement when it was ruled that Hawthorn’s Grant Birchall entered the arena before Brendan Whitecross left it.
However later conjecture was that Hawthorn already had five on the bench which meant the ruling was wrong. The late interchange call capped an over-technical umpiring night.
There was one point between the sides at quarter-time and half-time, level at three quarter time and level at the finish.
The game was greatly influenced by the tall forwards. Justin Koschitzke started brilliantly with three goals and Nick Riewoldt continued to progress closer to his best form after having returned from a torn hamstring injury.
At the other end, Buddy Franklin and Jarryd Roughead shared eight goals. Buddy was always in the spotlight, kicking five goals, missing a couple of others and conceding four 50 metre penalties- two of them in the one play which gave Zac Dawson the chance to take a kick 100 metres further afield and booted just the third goal of his career.
For the Saints there was surprisingly little input from their small forwards in the first half but Adam Schneider lifted in the third term and Stephen Milne chipped in with two late goals. It was an amazingly even match in many respects with the quarter-break differences no greater than one point.
In a contest of great intensity, the input of the respective “spiritual leaders” Luke Hodge and Lenny Hayes was crucial.
Rioli’s goal would have put the game beyond St Kilda, but when it was disallowed the game stayed alive. A mark near goal to Koschitzke was also disallowed in the closing stages. McEvoy’s late goal changed the result. In his 23rd game he had only suffered one loss.
These days, McEvoy has been a staple of the Hawks' line-up for the past nine seasons, winning two Premierships before taking the reins as captain in 2021.
Koschitzke still shakes his head over the decision to clear McEvoy to Hawthorn a couple of years later.
“He had a good head on his shoulders and was an emerging leader. I remember speaking to him at the time and he was shattered.
“I watched him playing in the flag side for them. I was that happy for him, but so sad for the Saints. Looking at him getting a flag and I was so happy for him after what he had gone through.”
ST KILDA 4.0 7.0 11.1 14.3 (87)
HAWTHORN 4.1 6.5 10.7 13.9 (87)
St Kilda: Schneider 3, Koschitzke 3, Milne 3, Riewoldt 2, McEvoy, Steven, Dawson
Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Roughead 3, Osborne 2, Whitecross, Rioli, Young.
St Kilda: Hayes, Goddard, Fisher, Riewoldt, Gardiner, Gwilt, Dal Santo
Hawthorn Hodge, Burgoyne, Franklin, Sewell, Gibson, Young.
49,373 at Etihad Stadium.
|Zac Dawson||Jason Blake||Sam Gilbert|
|Jason Gram||Sam Fisher||James Gwilt|
|Brendon Goddard||Nick Dal Santo||Farren Ray|
|Clinton Jones||Justin Koschitzke||Leigh Montagna|
|Andrew McQualter||Nick Riewoldt||Stephen Milne|
|Michael Gardiner||Lenny Hayes||Adam Schneider|
|Jack Steven||Ben McEvoy||Brett Peake|