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Magnificent seven's hopes flagging

St Kilda icons Nick Riewoldt, Lenny Hayes and Brendan Goddard are nearing the twilight of their careers.

St Kilda icons Nick Riewoldt, Lenny Hayes and Brendan Goddard are nearing the twilight of their careers. Photo: Paul Rovere

EIGHT-AND-A-HALF years ago, some young Cats and Saints were considered the up-and-comers of the AFL. They played off in the grand final of the pre-season competition.

The Grant Thomas-coached Saints beat the Cats in front of 50,000 and captain Lenny Hayes held the premiership cup aloft. But a sour-faced Thomas and tight-lipped Hayes didn't get overexcited. They sent a message to the footy world that they had bigger fish to fry.

On the list were seven Saints who were to become the faces of the club over the next decade: Hayes, Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne, Brendon Goddard, Nick Dal Santo, Leigh Montagna and Sam Fisher.

Eight years on, the Saints still haven't cracked it for a smile, and their big names are destined to have unfulfilled careers. Meanwhile, Matthew Scarlett, Jimmy Bartel, Corey Enright, Paul Chapman and co proudly look at their three premiership medallions and know that they can rest easy in retirement.

Three years ago it could have been different when these two teams played off in one of the closest and toughest grand finals. St Kilda led narrowly at quarter-time, but couldn't kick a goal in the final term. The Cats kicked three to take the glory. Among St Kilda's best that day were Hayes, Goddard and Montagna. A year later, the Saints played in two more grand finals - the draw with Collingwood and then the loss. The best players in that finals series were again Hayes, Goddard and Montagna, along with Riewoldt, Fisher and Dal Santo.

Tonight, the Cats and Saints meet again.

But you just have to wonder if the dream has gone now for the Saints, and in particular the seven stalwarts who have given so much but are now coming to the end of distinguished careers. Just what do these seven Saints stars have left in the tank?

NICK RIEWOLDT

The captain now plays on wonky knees and is forced to play closer to goal. That's OK, and, after two ordinary seasons, he is having a good one in 2012. He may well give up the captaincy at the end of this season and enjoy his last couple of years.

NICK DAL SANTO

Now into his 11th season and with 235 games the durable midfielder has missed just one game in the past three seasons and is on track for another top-five finish in the club best and fairest. Should play four more seasons and pass the 300-game milestone.

STEPHEN MILNE

The little man with the big mouth is the Saints' most disliked player by those outside of the club but one of the most valued within. He plays in one of the hardest spots on the ground - small permanent forward. His 255 games have delivered 536 goals, a terrific return but, in his 16 finals games, not once is he mentioned in St Kilda's best players. At 32, another two years, at most, will see him out.

BRENDON GODDARD

Of the seven topliners, Goddard has the most football left. A good five years will get him to 32 and 300-plus games. He made a real name for himself with quality performances in St Kilda's three grand finals in 2009-10. He dropped away last year to finish ninth in club voting after being top three in the previous two years. He was a bad bounce away from being a St Kilda hero for life after his spectacular mark and goal late in the 2010 grand final. Now, he has to decide whether to stay a Saint forever or take the money and run.

SAM FISHER

The 30-year-old has won two of the past four club best-and-fairest awards. His ability to read the play to take intercept marks makes him the team's best defender. The other defenders rely heavily on him to present in the right spots to help them run the ball out of defence. Most teams don't let him run free, and his career will be cut short if he has to play on ''monsters'' such as Travis Cloke or Tom Hawkins, so it's imperative the Saints find some big defenders to protect him. Two or three more years will see him out.

LEIGH MONTAGNA

The small man will be 29 next year when he enters his 12th season. He rarely misses a game and will notch his 200th game in 2013. He is the only Saint to finish top six in the best and fairest in each of the past five seasons, so he continually gives quality output. Once again, he is having a fine season. Could play on for four more years.

LENNY HAYES

I, along with all other football followers, hope that the 32-year-old champion plays on next year, as he has said he wants to. After a year out with injury, Hayes has returned to play hard, effective football once again. He leads the way in so many areas: No. 1 for disposals, clearances, tackles, inside-50s and contested possessions. You would like to see the 2010 Norm Smith medallist go out a premiership player, but the reality is that's unlikely to happen. He will, however, have the respect of all the football world, and very few can boast that.

31 comments so far

  • Oh it's not all bad, look on the bright side Luke Ball is a Premiership player.

    Commenter
    AC
    Location
    Collingwood
    Date and time
    August 17, 2012, 8:17AM
    • But unfortunately for him, he'll have to celebrate it at Collingwood functions for the remainder of his life with only O'Brien, Jolly and potentially Maxwell capable of having a coherent / socially-relevant conversation with him. I'm sure he'd gladly hand the medal back to have one more crack to do it with teammates he actually respects.

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Brighton
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 9:07AM
    • He doesn't look to unhappy personally mate. Also, I would be a little careful claiming the high ground regarding socially relevant anything when referring to the Aints.

      Commenter
      AC
      Location
      Collingwood
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 9:47AM
    • On the assumption you're a Pies fan, that Sir, is irony defined.

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Brighton
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 10:25AM
    • If anything Luke Ball must be eternally grateful that events conspired to have him join a club that recognised his talent and assign the recources to enable him to fully recover from Ostestis pubis. So much so he took a pay cut, the football world owes Ross Lyon and The Aints.

      Commenter
      Pieron
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 10:53AM
    • Carefull what you say Tom of Brighton, Chris Dawes is an old Brighton Grammar boy. Clearly you didn't major in "Having a sense of humour."

      Commenter
      Jeff
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 11:18AM
    • AC, that's the wittiest comment I've seen posted in a long time. May their misery continue for many years to come!

      Commenter
      Albert
      Location
      Victoria Park
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 11:41AM
    • @Jeff - what are you talking about? I graduated with honours in "Having A Sense Of Humour" from the University of Phoenix

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Brighton
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 3:46PM
  • St Kilda should have traded Milne years ago, once it was clearly evident that he chokes in finals games. Not amongst the best in 16 finals, and some of these were shockers. Not much good kicking goals during the h/a games if you can't produce when it counts.

    Commenter
    JD
    Date and time
    August 17, 2012, 9:09AM
    • Gotta kicks goals during the home and away season to make it to the finals. Way to over look that one.

      Commenter
      AdamA
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 11:28AM

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 13:10AS
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 11:10NZ
ESS 49 vs COL 69 14:40MCG
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 17:40SO
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 20:45Domain Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 13:10G
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 15:20SS
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
STK vs ESS 15:20ES
ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 4 4 0 0 135.32 16
GWS Giants 4 3 1 0 133.22 12
Collingwood 4 3 1 0 128.32 12
Sydney Swans 4 3 1 0 125.00 12
Adelaide Crows 4 3 1 0 123.53 12
Western Bulldogs 4 3 1 0 104.60 12
Hawthorn 4 2 2 0 141.36 8
West Coast Eagles 4 2 2 0 124.48 8
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