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Talking Points: Round 4

RD 4 | Highlights v Hawks Watch the match highlights from our Round 4 win against Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium.

St Kilda’s inspired last-quarter fightback seemed an unlikely prospect as they sustained a third-quarter Hawthorn onslaught.

Alan Richardson’s men found themselves 26 points down midway through that term, but ultimately clawed their way back to clinch victory and reclaim the Blue Ribbon Cup.

Here’s how it all unfolded.

1. Gears goes down, Seb steps up to win Silk-Miller Medal

St Kilda’s already-ravaged defence added another to its casualty list, with Jarryn Geary a last-minute withdrawal due to a virus.

The Saints weren’t just down a backman, but their skipper.

But that’s when acting captain Seb Ross stood up to the plate.

His 39 disposals, 13 contested possessions, six clearances and a classy long-range goal once again highlighted the ever-growing talent of the 26-year-old.

 

Ross got the Saints off to the perfect start in the final term, feeding Rowan Marshall an opportunity to boot a much-needed major, before the fill-in skipper ended his afternoon with a dash off the Hawks’ half-back line to gain some valuable territory as the clock dwindled down.

Geary’s replacement, Ben Paton, was also impressive in his fourth game of senior football with 15 disposals and three marks off half-back.

2. Final-quarter heroics save the day

An agonising 15 minutes elapsed between Rowan Marshall’s opening goal of the final quarter and Lonie’s clutch major, but Alan Richardson’s men persevered when the situation looked to get a little hairy.

St Kilda won the clearances in the final term 15-5, inside 50s 14-10 and asserted scoreboard supremacy with 2.5 to the Hawks’ 0.1.

Yet it was the little moments which all added up to have significant impact.

"I EXPECTED US TO FIGHT BACK": Coach Alan Richardson says belief is building at Moorabbin

Callum Wilkie’s brave marks and spoils, Jack Newnes’ three clearing kicks in the final two minutes of the game, Jack Billings’ deft touch through congestion and Jack Lonie’s desperate efforts at ground-level – the list goes on.

All built towards Josh Bruce’s mark to ice the game in the final seconds which ultimately gifted the Saints their most emphatic victory of 2019.

It’s a footy cliché used far too often, but it really was a full-team performance for the Saints.

3. Little master Lonie

He flies well and truly under the radar every week, but Jack Lonie’s match-winning bag should inject him into the conversation of influential performers from Round 4.

17 disposals, five tackles and three goals put Lonie into best on ground considerations, as did his insistent hunt for the footy and harrowing of the opposition at ground-level.

Lonie could have ended his evening with a far more flattering scoreline (3.5), yet his elite pressure and ability to hit the goals when it mattered was telling.

It was ultimately Lonie’s tackle on David Mirra which put the Saints’ noses in front, with the home side able to retain their lead during the countdown to the final siren.

Another outstanding game, Jack.

4. Déjà vu

Last season’s Round 22 battle with the Hawks was just as gripping as yesterday’s affair, although the result went the other way.

An agonising four-point defeat left the Saints sitting on just four wins for the year, but result aside, the game bore several similarities from the weekend just gone.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Saints v Hawks

In both matches, Alan Richardson’s men stormed home after the margin blew out to four goals in the third term, but they were unable to penetrate the scoreboard to great effect.

Yesterday’s 2.5 in the last was an improvement from the 1.1 scored in 2018, and intriguingly in both final quarters, the Hawks were kept goalless.

5. Marvel-lous

Win number one did little to convince the doubters.  Win number two piqued their interest. But with the Saints now sitting 3-1, eyebrows are being raised competition-wide.

St Kilda defied expectations to edge out Hawthorn by five points, leaping into fifth position on the ladder as a result.

LOUD AND PROUD: Watch the boys belt out the song

Their will to win was apparent from the get-go, with every man in the red, white and black putting their body on the line for their teammates.

While all three Saints wins have been built on unrelenting pressure, another common theme has been their location; their newfound fortress at Marvel Stadium.