Many a team went into games at Moorabbin as favourites to win and came unstuck when the home side turned up the heat.
That happened in striking fashion in the ninth round of 1988 when the top-of-the-ladder Melbourne side was toppled by St Kilda who were sitting in 12th place prior to the game.
The Saints had been the last team to beat Melbourne in 1987 before the Demons mounted an eight-game winning streak which had carried them as far as the preliminary final.
At the core of the victory was an impeccable defence led by experienced key defenders Danny Frawley and Robert Elphinstone.
Spud played a mighty captain’s game and fired up the team. The Saints’ third quarter burst of 6.2 to a solitary goal set up a 49-point lead at three-quarter time and by then the issue was never in doubt.
Big ruckman “Wow” Jones gave an inspired display, despite going into the game with broken ribs, to thwart the Melbourne ruck duo of Jim Stynes and Steve O’Dwyer. In the end, the only thing that could stop Jones was a fracture to the arm which forced him off the ground.
Another ex-Blue, Spiro Kourkoumelis took full advantage of Wow’s ruck dominance and his quick clearances set up plenty of chances for the forward line where Tony Lockett booted seven goals for the second successive week and Ricky Nixon also capitalised with four.
Melbourne did not have the defence to hold the Saints attack nor a forward line capable of outscoring it.
Intermittent rain and the boggy surface didn’t bother the home side, who ran directly at the ball and didn’t attempt to do the fancy stuff.
Ken Sheldon motored along out of the back pocket with smooth precision and young Jason Daniels, appearing in just his fifth game showed a fierce brand of competitive football that bode well for a strong career. Sheldon polled three Brownlow votes for the game and Daniels awarded two votes. Wow Jones scored the one vote.
But it was big Plugger who was the star of the show. Look at the video highlights and you can marvel at the way he sold the dummy to lunging Melbourne full-back Tony Campbell then straightened to fire in a brilliant goal.
That was one that deserved to be at the forefront of even Plugger’s extensive highlight reel.
ST KILDA 5.3 8.5 14.8 16.10 (106)
MELBOURNE 3.2 5.6 6.7 11.12 (78)
St Kilda: Lockett 7, Nixon 4, Winmar 2, Gotch 2, Coghlan
Melbourne: Wilson 3, Lyon 2, Johnson 2, Jackson 2, Bailey
|B||Ken Sheldon||Danny Frawley||Ian Muller|
|HB||Russell Jeffrey||Robert Elphinstone||David Grant|
|C||Jason Daniels||Mick Dwyer||Ricky Nixon|
|HF||Nicky Winmar||Stewart Loewe||Dean Rice|
|F||Frank Coghlan||Tony Lockett||Brad Gotch|
|R||Warren Jones||Spiro Kourkoumelis|
|INT||Bob Jones||Tony Evans|