Ablett gets off canvas to help Geelong home against Saints


The Saints remained in striking distance midway through the final term.

Enter Ablett. The dual Brownlow Medallist curled through a major from a free kick in the pocket before slotting another to seal the deal, quite possibly sealing Richardson’s fate.

Former Saints Leigh Fisher and Leigh Montagna were both on hand at GMHBA Stadium, with Fisher officiating and Montagna calling the game for Triple M. To put into perspective how long it had been since St Kilda had won at the venue, neither had yet been drafted when the Saints last returned from down the highway with the four points.

For a period on Saturday night, it appeared the Saints might break their 20-year drought at the venue, and party like it was round 10, 1999. The Cats had kicked clear late in the first quarter, but St Kilda came out and played inspired football in the second term.

Callum Wilkie of St Kilda takes a mark.Credit:AAP

Their physicality was outstanding, they made clever choices with the ball, and they finished in front of goal. Youngster Rowan Marshall and Hunter Clark were starring, and Geelong were in serious danger of another loss.

Marshall Plan

St Kilda have made a big play for untested Essendon ruckman Sam Draper while also circling North Melbourne free agent Todd Goldstein. Before either man decides to join the Saints, they should seriously consider their prospects for getting regular senior football at Moorabbin. St Kilda might be able to envisage a future with another bona fide ruckman complementing Marshall week-in, week-out, but as it stands Marshall is one of the premier ruckmen in the AFL. In a frustrating year for the Saints, the New Zealand-born former-rookie has been a standout.

It was again the case on Saturday night, with Marshall arguably best afield to half-time, holding his own against Rhys Stanley at centre bounces and comfortably beating the former Saint around the ground. Marshall has shown an ability to be a dangerous tall forward, and perhaps the Saints see that as his long-term role. But bear in mind the Saints have No. 4 Max King waiting in the wings.

I want the news, not the weather

There was plenty of precipitation in Geelong on Saturday but it wasn’t rain than landed in the face of Cats star Zach Tuohy during the second quarter. Tuohy was having an animated discussion with veteran field umpire Chris Donlon when the Irish defender winced and reached for his eye. It wasn’t quite Seinfeld’s “magic loogie” but upon close examination, it looked as though Donlon might have been a touch overzealous in delivering his message to Tuohy. It’s the kind of moment likely to feature in blooper reels for years to come. Dare we suggest though, this spittle was of insufficient force to constitute a reportable offence.

Don’t like the look of that

A scare was sent through the Geelong camp when Ablett was hobbling during the third quarter. The Cats great made his way to the bench and went down the race with what appeared like a groin issue. At 35, any injury concern has more gravity, but fears of the home fans were allayed when he returned, contributing to the Cats’ third term resurgence before issuing the last rites.

GEELONG 4.4 5.7 8.8 12.12 (84)
ST KILDA 2.2 6.3 6.7 8.9 (57)

GOALS Geelong: Guthrie 2, Ratugolea 2, Ablett 2, Dangerfield, Duncan, Kelly, Miers, Atkins, Hawkins St Kilda: Bruce 3, Long 2, Marshall, Lonie, Acres
BEST Geelong: Dangerfield, Duncan, Ablett, Ratugolea, Selwood, Taylor St Kilda: Marshall, Clark, Dunstan, Savage, Steele, Billings
INJURIES Geelong: Nil St Kilda: Nil
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Donlon, Fisher, O’Gorman
Official crowd: 24,035 at GMHBA Stadium

Votes:
P. Dangerfield (Geelong) 8
M. Duncan (Geelong) 7
R. Marshall (St Kilda) 7
H. Clark (St Kilda) 7
G. Ablett (Geelong) 7

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