Red hot Suns scorch St Kilda
Gary Ablett stars as his Gold Coast side defeat the Saints by 38 points, securing their place in the AFL top 8.PT0M0S 620 349
GOLD COAST 8.4 13.7 16.9 19.11 (125) ST KILDA 3.2 4.4 10.7 13.9 (87)
Goals: Gold Coast: B Matera 4 G Ablett 4 T Lynch 4 H Bennell 3 A Hall D Swallow L Russell S Day. St Kilda: J Steven 2 N Riewoldt 2 T Milera 2 A Schneider A Siposs F Ray J Billings J Newnes M Weller R Stanley.
BEST Gold Coast: Ablett, O'Meara, Swallow, Matera, Bennell, Harbrow, Prestia, Lynch. St Kilda: Hayes, Steven, Ray, Newnes, Webster, Schneider, Milera.
Injuries: Gold Coast: S Lemmens (leg). St Kilda: B Acres (ankle) L Delaney (hip).
Umpires: Scott Jeffery, Jason Armstrong, Nicholas Foot.
Official Crowd: 14,625 at Etihad Stadium.
Maverick Weller could not fit in Gold Coast's side. In St Kilda's side he was given one of the bigger jobs. Weller was told to go to Gary Ablett and try to do what more seasoned teammate Clint Jones - and for that matter every tagger in the league - could not do and stop Gary Ablett.
Ablett had 19 touches and four goals to half-time in a display that would be a master class were it not just another game for Ablett. The dual Brownlow medallist's ordinary is so extraordinary but even by his standards his first half was remarkable.
Saint Lenny Hayes fails to smother a kick from Gary Ablett. Photo: Pat Scala
- Q4 28:27
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Riewoldt (2.1), Milera (2.0), Steven (2.0), Billings (1.2), Siposs (1.2), Schneider (1.1), Weller (1.1), Newnes (1.0), Ray (1.0), Stanley (1.0), Hayes (0.1)||Scorers||Matera (4.1), Ablett (4.0), Lynch (4.0), Bennell (3.0), Day (1.1), Hall (1.1), Russell (1.1), Swallow (1.1), Dixon (0.1), Harbrow (0.1), O'Meara (0.1)|
Weller did well, he slowed Ablett and the Saints mounted a recovery from their parlous position of 57 points down at half-time.
He did not stop Ablett, he did not beat him, Ablett was still easily the best on ground but he helped temper his influence in the third quarter as other Saints industriously worked their way into creating a contest.
The second half begged the question of where St Kilda's pressure was in the first half. The Gold Coast is a wonderful one-touch side that moves the ball sharply through the corridor when it is allowed to do so without threat as it was in the first half.
AFL Round 9, St Kilda v Gold Coast Suns
The Gold Coast Suns are in fifth spot on the ladder after defeating St Kilda in front of a dismal crowd of fewer than 15,000 spectators at Etihad Stadium. Final score, 19.11 (125) to 13.9 (87). Photo: Pat Scala
In the second half under pressure the Suns' disposal became a little more ragged. They were still good, but not as good.
Lenny Hayes was good throughout but Jack Steven improved his work around the packs as St Kilda found some clearances, kicked the first couple of goals and made a contest out of the game.
The Saints were trying to look for alternatives than the single focus of Riewoldt when they went forward and to that end Arryn Siposs presented well.
Rhys Stanley, on the other hand, oh dear. At some point - and that point should be now - Richardson will have to consider what alternatives there are. The mantra of putting games into players runs thin when the player is approaching 50 games and still looks little advanced.
The Saints can content themselves that they got back into the contest but will wonder why it is they allowed themselves to be witches hats for a half.
Jack Newnes played well in giving run, Farren Ray was solid after beginning the game as the wingman sliding behind the ball as a loose man to no great effect. Jimmy Webster and tagger Tom Curran solid against Zac Smith returning in his first game back from a knee injury.
The difference was the pressure they could not bring in the first half but also that they do not have the spread of elite talent like the Suns. Swallow and O'Meara were - predictably for No. 1 draft picks - supreme. They then had the luxury of Harley Bennell playing small forward with Brandon Matera and kicking seven between them.
Gold Coast as a young side is always breaking new ground - now they are fifth on the ladder and have won four games in a row.
The new frontier for the league is in an aesthetic sense the welcome frontier for football.
As a counterpoint to the debate about game aesthetics and what to do about the rolling the maul the case for the defence was presented by the Gold Coast.
The Suns play a game in a way that will make people want to watch.
Admittedly not many of them wanted to at Etihad Stadium with just 14,625 turning out in Melbourne on a late Sunday afternoon. Primarily that was because even those that were there were wearing red, black and white and watching the game through a finger prison in the first half, but in a pure sense they Suns play attractive football.
They kicked 13 goals in a half - their best ever first half and the best first half of a side this year. They score. Gold Coast went inside 50 only 15 times in the first quarter yet it kicked eight goals.
They finished the game with 19 goals - lofty territory in the AFL this year.