The Saints have overcome a confidence-shattering walloping by Geelong the previous week to post a dominant win over the favoured Collingwood Magpies, defeating them 17.4.106 to 9.18.72, and granting St Kilda legend Robert Harvey at least one more game. St. Kilda were too strong in both attack and defence for the now humble Pies, their forwardline functioning brilliantly to make the most out of fewer inside 50s, and their backline not allowing any Magpies forward to get the upper hand. Riewoldt was an unstoppable force for the Saints, with straight kicking granting him 5 goals, and sticky hands pulling down 15 marks, for a best on ground performance. Stephen Milne and Justin Koschitzke chipped in with 3 goals apiece, Nick Dal Santo, Robert Harvey and Leigh Montagna dominated through the midfield, while Jason Blake, Sam Fisher, Sam Gilbert and Raphael Clarke, who played possibly the best game of his career to date, all starred in a brutally stingy and highly damaging backline. For the Magpies, there were no stars up forward, their 9 goals being shared between 9 different players, but Josh Fraser, Scott Pendlebury, Rhyce Shaw and Dane Swan were all good contributors around the ground.
The first quarter saw the two sides alternating goals, neither able to string two in a row. Justin Koschitzke opened the scoring after getting on the end of a perfect pass from the evergreen Robert Harvey and converting from 35 metres out on a 45 degree angle. A goal to Collingwood’s Tarkyn Lockyer followed, before Riewoldt clicked, kicking 3 goals in the latter part of the quarter, punctuated by goals to Dane Swan and Jack Anthony. The Saints took a 3 point buffer into quarter time, leading 4.1.25 to 3.4.22. On the injury front, Saint Jarryd Allen, who was himself a late inclusion for Luke Ball, who failed to recover from his hamstring injury in time, left the field midway through the first term with a hip injury. He did not return to the field all night.
The second quarter started with a rare goal to Collingwood defender Tyson Goldsack, who swooped on a loose ball and popped it through the sticks after drifting forward. After a ten minute long stalemate, interrupted only by a Collingwood behind, Riewoldt marked on 50 and dished off to Jason Gram, whose raking right boot split the posts. James Gwilt then goaled, making that two goals to the same side in a row for the first time in the match. Milne then kicked two goals in a row to end the quarter. Meanwhile, Collingwood had their chances, but inaccuracy and good defensive work on the part of St Kilda cost them. The Saints, on the other hand, kicked with great accuracy, and took a 8.1.49 to 4.11.35 lead into the long break.
The third term started off much the same way. Stephen Milne kicked the first goal of the term, making that three in a row for the dangerous goalsneak, before Adam Schneider broke a tackle and ran into an open goal. Travis Cloke gave the Pies their first goal for over 35 minutes, and with it a glimmer of hope, but that was eventually snuffed out as the Saints piled on four unanswered goals, through Riewoldt, Dal Santo, McQualter and Gram. At the final break, the Saints led 14.2.86 to 5.16.46.
John McCarthy brought a rare smile to the faces of the Collingwood faithful, as the promising young player and Jack Anthony look-alike kicked the first goal of the final term. Justin Koschitzke and Nick Riewoldt kicked their second and fifth for the game respectively, before Collingwood managed to string multiple goals together for the first time that night, with Medhurst, Brown and Clarke all scoring, and contributing to a slightly more respectable score line. Koschitzke finished off what had been an otherwise quiet night by his standards with the final goal of the match, after marking very strongly at the top of the square, and kicking truly, granting the Saints a 34 point victory, and a spot in the Preliminary finals. Meanwhile, Collingwood are left to lick their wounds, and look forward to making a larger mark next season.
It was not all good news for the Saints, however, as Justin Koschitzke was reported by umpire Kennedy for rough conduct on Collingwood’s Shane Wakelin, after slamming him into the ground during a tackle. There appeared to be little in it however, though that will not stop Koschitzke and the St. Kilda players, coaching staff and fans alike from holding their breath for the MRP’s decision.
ST KILDA: 4.1, 8.1, 14.2, 17.4 (106)
COLLINGWOOD: 3.4, 4.11, 5.16, 9.18 (72)
St. Kilda: Riewoldt 5, Milne 3, Koschitzke 3, Gram 2, Dal Santo, McQualter, Schneider, Gwilt
Collingwood: Clarke, Brown, Medhurst, McCarthy, Cloke, Goldsack, Anthony, Swan, Lockyer
St. Kilda: Riewoldt, Blake, Fisher, Clarke, Dal Santo, Harvey, Gilbert
Collingwood: Swan, R Shaw, Pendlebury, Fraser, O’Brien, O’Bree
St. Kilda: Ball (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Allen, Allen (hip).
Collingwood: Burns (calf) replaced in selected side by R Shaw, Prestigiacomo replaced in selected side by Wakelin.
St. Kilda: Koschitzke reported for rough conduct on Wakelin by umpire Kennedy.
Umpires: Kennedy, Rosebury, McLaren
Crowd: 76,707 at MCG