Sicily inspires Hawks
Skipper proves pivotal in upset over stumbling Saints
One club was playing for a top-four spot while the other had been described as an easy four pointer.
But roles were reversed at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Hawthorn claimed its most stirring win of the season on the back of one of the best individual performances of 2023 from captain James Sicily.
The Hawks looked shot when Dan Butler put the Saints up by 20 points early in the last quarter, but slammed on the last five goals of the game to run over the top of St Kilda by 10 points.
They had been the better side all afternoon and had they taken their chances in front of goal would’ve smashed the Saints. The Hawks had 28 scoring shots and eight shots that didn’t register a score.
When it looked like they had kicked themselves out of it they got their lift from skipper Sicily, who the Saints had no answer for.
He had an extraordinary 21 intercept possessions as he picked St Kilda attacks off at will and then managed to set up forays forward with 628m gained.
Their young midfield put the Saints to the sword with Jai Newcombe (30 disposals), Will Day (30) and Conor Nash (27) blowing the likes of Jack Steele, Jack Sinclair and Seb Ross out of the water.
CLARK INJURED, AGAIN
Hunter Clark looks set for another stint on the sidelines after suffering a leg injury in the opening term.
The 24-year-old was seen with ice on his left knee at halftime after spending 23 minutes on the bench during the first and second quarters.
Clark returned to try and run off the injury but lasted only minutes, coming back to the bench limping.
He had been averaging a career-high 22 disposals, after overcoming three serious injuries in 2021 and 2022, a broken jaw, AC joint and facial fracture.
MATTAES OF METRES
St Kilda’s rebound through the middle kept them in the game at halftime but they wouldn’t have hit the main break level if not for a brain fade from Jarman Impey.
A quick move from defensive 50 ended with Mattaes Phillipou marking 55m from goal, just beyond the young star’s range.
But inexplicably, rather than manning the mark at 55m, Impey stood at least 5m behind the mark about 45m from goal.
It allowed the 18-year-old Saint to kick from where he marked it rather than from beyond 60m, with the ball sailing through for a goal, only just clearing fingertips.
A call of not 15m swung momentum late in the second quarter with the Hawks looking to go three goals up.
A chip kick to star Hawthorn key forward Mitch Lewis looked to have comfortably travelled the required distance, but a late play-on call from the umpire ended up causing enough pressure for a turnover.
The Saints bounced down the other end, and Phillipou cut the margin to just six points.
Sicily was best on ground by a country mile at halftime and continued his red-hot form into the second half.
It wasn’t all rosy for him though, with a high hit on St Kilda’s Anthony Caminiti to be scrutinised by the MRO.