Undermanned Dockers downed by Saints
THE HISTORY books will show that 16th-placed St Kilda rounded out season 2013 with a 71-point win over third-placed Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.
But the score will only tell a fraction of the tale. Fremantle left half its full-strength team at home ahead of its opening final next weekend, then left two more out before the start of the game.
Add an injury to Clancee Pearce within the opening five minutes and the Dockers could no longer be called even a half-strength outfit.
The Saints were particularly souped up for their big day, with club stalwarts Justin Koschitzke, Stephen Milne and all playing their final games for the club and in the case of Koschitzke and Adam Schneider, their 200th matches as well.
So the 16.16 (112) to 6.5 (41) by the Saints made for a bizarre afternoon at a sun-splashed Etihad Stadium.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon admitted pre-game that the late withdrawals of Garrick Ibbotson (calf) and Chris Mayne (rested) placed his team under a fair bit of pressure.
And he would be proved right. The Saints jumped to a 28-point lead at quarter-time, leaving the Dockers scoreless in the process.
Fremantle would enjoy a good 10-minute period in the second term, kicking four goals for the term, but was still outscored. But the rest of the match was a procession for the Saints, whose fans were out of their seats all afternoon heaping praise and love on the retiring champions.
Milne would end up with two goals, and Blake one, in a rare foray up forward and both were mobbed after each goal. Blake was superb down back for the rest of the afternoon as well.
Koschitzke, sadly could not end his career with a goal. He had several chances including one that was paid as a goal before being overturned on review. So near, yet so far, a bit like his career.
The stars for St Kilda were midfielders Leigh Montagna and Jack Steven who each had who had a club record 47 possessions, beating Robert Harvey's figure of 45.
Nick Dal Santo, Jarryn Geary and Clint Jones each had 34 possesions. Dal Santo was on track for a figure in the 40s in the first half but was tagged by Alex Forster in the second half.
Tom Lee kicked three goals for the Saints to underline that once he has another pre-season under his belt, he could be a long-term prospect at full-forward for St Kilda.
Ryan Crowley and Michael Barlow did well for Fremantle but they escaped without injury, which was probably the only positive to come out of the day for their club, which will play Geelong in the qualifying final next weekend.
ST KILDA 4.4 9.6 12.9 16.15 (111)
FREMANTLE 0.0 4.3 5.5 6.5 (41)
St Kilda: Lee 3, Riewoldt 2, Milne 2, Montagna 2, Hayes, Ledger, Ross, Steven, McEvoy, Curren, Blake
Fremantle: Hannath, Simpson, Taberner, De Boer, Pavlich, Crozier
St Kilda: Steven, Curren, Montagna, Dal Santo, Geary, Dempster, Jones, Gilbert
Fremantle: Mzungu, Crowley, Barlow.
St Kilda: Moller (cut eye), Roberton (right ankle)
Fremantle: Pearce (calf)
St Kilda: Justin Koschitzke replaced Dylan Roberton (ankle) in the third quarter
Fremantle: Craig Moller replaced Clancee Pearce (calf) in the first quarter
Umpires: Schmidt, Hay, Jeffery
Official crowd: TBC at Etihad Styadium
Freo make 10 changes
Thursday August 29, 2013
Fremantle has made 10 changes for Saturday’s match against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, with seven players rested.
With a likely trip to Melbourne in week one of the finals in mind, the club opted to leave David Mundy, Nat Fyfe, Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Johnson, Zac Dawson, Zac Clarke and Lee Spurr out.
Nick Suban (hamstring soreness), Stephen Hill (hamstring soreness) and Michael Walters (knee) were the forced outs.
Fremantle general manager of football Chris Bond said the decision to rest so many players had not been made in haste.
“It's been a long week in match committee, but obviously the first final will be in Melbourne which means there is two travels in a row,” he said.
“There's been discussions with everybody involved, from CEO to match committee, to our leadership group as well.
“We think it gives us the best opportunity to be at our best for our final.”
Coming into the side are senior players Aaron Sandilands, Garrick Ibbotson, Clancee Pearce and Alex Silvagni, as well as Hayden Crozier, Jesse Crichton and Matt Taberner.
Named for his first AFL game was second-year player Alex Forster, who battled injury in his first year at the club.
Bond said the 20-year-old had improved since being able to play regular football with Peel Thunder atWAFL level.
“He's been able to put a fair bit of footy together in the half-back role, and he can play up the field if he has to,” he said.
“He's been in solid form throughout, and he's going to get an opportunity to play.”
Josh Mellington has also been named. He made an impact at AFL level at the start of 2012 before a hamstring injury ruined his season.
“He's had a few injuries throughout the journey, but he'll be back into the team and he'll be working as hard as he can to get some good form,” Bond said.
The last time Peter Faulks played AFL was round 23, 2011, a game he broke his jaw in.
But Bond said the club had full confidence in the defender, who has been one of the most consistent key backmen in the WAFL for two seasons now.
“Peter's also had a few injury interruptions throughout the last couple of years, but he's a real quality person and the players will really enjoy playing with him and we think he will get the job done for us,” Bond said.
| Fremantle Team Round 23
In: Sandilands, Ibbotson, Faulks, Silvagni, C. Pearce, Crichton, Mellington, Forster, Crozier, Taberner.
Out: Suban (Hamstring), Walters (Knee), Johnson, Mundy, Spurr, Dawson, Ballantyne, Hill, Clarke, Fyfe.