A no- win sit­u­a­tion for Gi­ants and Saints

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - AFL -

ST KILDA’S Jake Carlisle was left lament­ing a late missed mark and the Gi­ants were made to rue a wasted three-goal fi­nal-term lead as the two teams played out a thrilling draw at Eti­had Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

In a dra­matic con­clu­sion to a game that took a long while to crank up, the Saints clawed their way back from an 18-point deficit mid­way through the last quar­ter, kick­ing a trio of goals which lev­elled the scores.

When Paddy McCartin nailed his third goal — the first time he has achieved that in his 27 AFL games — late in the match, it seemed as if the Saints had all the run­ning.

Jack Steven steamed down the flank as time had al­most ex­pired and it seemed as if St Kilda were about to steal vic­tory from the Gi­ants and re­shape their sea­son after three suc­ces­sive losses.

So crit­i­cal to the Saints yes­ter­day, the hard-run­ning Steven drove the ball for­ward to­wards Carlisle, who man­aged to get a few steps ahead of his op­po­nent, Phil Davis.

But the ball hung in the air a frac­tion longer than Carlisle an­tic­i­pated, and he couldn’t grasp it at the first at­tempt. En­ter the ever-present Davis, who came over the top to spoil what turned out to be the last op­por­tu­nity for the Saints to win the match.

Speak­ing straight after the game to Fox Footy, Carlisle ad­mit­ted he had “spent his bul­lets” in what turned out to be a fre­netic fi­nal term.

He missed the chance and the roar of the al­most 15,000 fans in attendance sig­nalled they thought the um­pire missed a po­ten­tial free-kick when Davis came in to spoil.

“My eyes lit up,” Carlisle said of his thoughts when the ball came into view. “The kick was a bit high ... I just feel I should have marked it.”

For the Gi­ants, who have made a habit of play­ing in draws in their short time in the AFL, they will rue the score­line of 9.19 (73) to their op­po­nents’ 10.13 (73).

Coach Leon Cameron said they were lucky to es­cape with the draw and he was dis­ap­pointed for Stephen Coniglio, who played his 100th match.

“It’s a hol­low feel­ing — Stephen Coniglio, he’s an im­por­tant part of our footy club and it’s his 100th game,” Cameron said.

“Those lit­tle mile­stones don’t mean ev­ery­thing, but they’re there for a rea­son. Col­lec­tively, we needed to prob­a­bly add a lit­tle bit more to that mile­stone.”

The Gi­ants blazed away at goal and at times looked any­thing but the se­ri­ous premier­ship con­tenders they are be­ing billed as.

If it hadn’t been for their de­fence, they would have surely lost, with Davis do­ing ev­ery­thing he could to re­pel the many Saints’ for­ays into at­tack.

St Kilda, too, will know they didn’t take the chances pre­sented to them, ei­ther. They dom­i­nated the in­side 50m count — 67 to 46 — but couldn’t cap­i­talise on the score­board.

St Kilda’s Hunter Clark marks in front of latear­riv­ing Giant Stephen Coniglio, and (in­set) the Gi­ants leave the field. Pic­tures: Michael Klein, AAP

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