There is always huge anticipation focused on Round 1 for footy fans, and this year, it is even more intense after a season where many Saints fans could not attend games.
The Saints have featured in some famous games on the opening weekend. Here are our top five headline grabbers.
1963 | Four stars debut at once
St Kilda 13.5 (83) def. Melbourne 9.11 (65)
First-gamers Ian Stewart, Carl Ditterich and Bob Murray would all become best and fairest winners and be part of St Kilda's Team of the Century. The fourth debutant, Jim Wallis, would have probably followed a similar path if not for a career-ending knee injury two short years later.
The Junction Oval victory over Melbourne, the dominant team of the era, was highlighted by the stunning display from Ditterich against Melbourne skipper Ron Barassi, which still ranks among the best debuts of any player in the competition.
The blond No. 10 had originally thought that he had missed out on a spot in the team when it was being read out on the Thursday night. He thought that if he had any chance of making the team, it would be as second ruckman in the forward or back pocket. But he was delighted to be named alongside future Team of the Century inductee Alan Morrow in the first ruck.
Morrow picked up the 17-year-old from his home to take him to the game. As they walked to the car, Morrow was called aside by Ditterich’s mother who whispered, “Please look after him, Alan”.
Once on the field, Morrow soon realised that Ditterich could more than look after himself, as plenty of opponents in subsequent years could testify!
1979 | Stray stubbies and headbands go flying
St Kilda 19.14 (128) def. Hawthorn 14.19 (103)
While the Saints rolled flag winners Hawthorn at Moorabbin to open up the 1978 VFL Season, the game is often remembered for St Kilda vice-captain Garry Sidebottom being hit by a beer can thrown from the crowd.
Sidebottom was in the thick of the action as the Saints tackled and harassed their opponents all day, with Hawthorn captain Don Scott copping the brunt of the niggle.
Scott had his brown-and-gold headband removed by Sidebottom during the game, with the band placed down the front of the latter's shorts before eventually being thrown into the crowd!
A running clash between the two was settled in the third quarter when the Hawks skipper limped off the ground with a sprained ankle. Sidebottom provided his side a focal point in attack and sealed the win with three goals in as many minutes just before time-on in the last quarter.
1984 | Making a statement
St Kilda 14.13 (97) def. by Essendon 19.20 (134)
In a free-scoring game at Moorabbin, young full-forwards Tony Lockett (7.4) and Paul Salmon (7.6) signalled to the footy world that they would be major forces for years to come.
Lockett was playing his 13th game and Salmon his 10th. For both teenagers, it was the first time they had kicked seven goals in a game.
After Robert Muir and Alan Sidebottom suffered injuries however, the Saints' challenge faded in the third term.
Sidebottom completed a memorable piece of play when he charged after the ball in the third term and landed it in Lockett’s hands for a goal that put St Kilda in front, but he copped another knock on top of the one that had sent him off earlier in the day.
With limited tall resources, St Kilda faltered when Sidebottom went off and Essendon went on to kick the next four goals.
1993 | Spida strikes
Geelong 20.16 (136) def. St Kilda 16.16 (112)
After giant 18-year-old Peter Everitt made a fine debut against the Cats at Kardinia Park, the Saints realised they had discovered a star of the future.
The superstars in both teams were sidelined that day and without Gary Ablett and Tony Lockett, the match seldom hit the heights. But Everitt attracted attention to end his debut with 12 kicks, six marks, five handballs and a goal.
In an unusual twist, fellow Saints ruckman Lawrie Bingham was awarded a Brownlow vote for his seven possessions and three hit-outs.
Looking back at the game years later, Everitt revealed that he had thought he had scored with his first kick, but footage later revealed that his first kick had actually been a grubber which went out of bounds.
2004 | G-Train dispenses repeat dose
St Kilda 19.8 (122) def. Geelong 9.7 (61)
After beating Geelong in the Ansett Cup Grand Final, the Saints dished out another hiding to the Cats as they charged away to a 61-point win at Docklands.
By night’s end, St Kilda had supplied an emphatic rebuke to Paul Chapman’s “we’re the better team” assertion made after the Night Final.
One dramatic illustration came from Fraser Gehrig, who had several times been on the losing end of duels with Geelong’s ace full back Matthew Scarlett. Gehrig’s seven goals gave him the honours this time, but the lack of pressure in the midfield meant the ball was often delivered on a platter, and Scarlett spent part of the night marking Nick Riewoldt.
St Kilda won every line, from the running rebound of Austinn Jones, to the sureness of Brett Voss, Luke Penny and Matt Maguire in defence. Up the other end, Stephen Milne snaffled four goals to join the damaging forward fleet.