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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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

    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.

      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.

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

      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.

      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."

      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!

      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

      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.

    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.

      Date and time
      August 17, 2012, 11:28AM

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
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BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
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AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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