A no- win situation for Giants and Saints
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