Saints make early statement

April 21, 2024 12:20 pm in by
St Mary's co-coach Glenn Keast. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

St Mary’s has overcome a slow start to record an impressive 43-point win over reigning premier Leopold at Anthony Costa Oval.

After conceding the first two goals of the contest, the Saints held the Polders to just five more goals from the midpoint of the opening term before pulling away for a 14.10 (94) to 7.9 (51) victory, remaining unbeaten after two rounds.

“I thought we worked our way into the game pretty well,” co-coach Glenn Keast told

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“We probably took a bit to settle, but once we did settle, I thought our gameplay and the way we moved the ball, we stuck to that through the course of the day, and it served us pretty well.

“It took probably 15 minutes to settle, but after that, I thought we were pretty good.”

A five-goal-to-one final term capped a display that proved to be a subtle reminder to the rest of the competition that St Mary’s will be there or thereabouts come September.

Essendon VFL-listed Kane Loftus, Carlton-listed Michael Rudd and star forward each kicked three goals for the Saints.

Veteran midfielder Jarryd Garner produced a vintage display, while young defender Sam Bourke and ruck Nick Minchin also impressed.

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Keast says the Saints had a strong pre-season focus on how they wanted to defend in 2024, and that investment is reaping early dividends, giving up only 12 goals in the opening two rounds.

“That’s been really pleasing in our first two outings,” he said.

“I think we kept Newtown to in the 30s. And today, keeping Leopold to 51 points, that’s really pleasing.

“Luke (Rayner) mentioned that after the game to the boys, that’s something we’ve focused on and that’s really shone through.

“Hopefully, we can keep embracing that because we can certainly score off our defence.”

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The only downside for St Mary’s was injury concerns for Joe Maishman (quad) and Nick Connors (corkie).

Leopold coach Garry Hocking said a combination of St Mary’s pressure and his team’s use of the ball contributed to the result.

“Their pressure and ability to get the ball back off us – and some of that was their good stuff, and some of it was our poor decision-making or execution,” he said.

“They just muscled the game back into what they wanted it to look like.

“And then we were struggling to get the game back on our terms.” c

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Jye Cross was the only multiple goalkicker for the Lions – the first time in his 81-game career he’s kicked more than one major in a game.

Will Sheahan, Trent Thompson and Tate Porter were named Leopold’s best.


St Joseph’s has held off an early challenge from North Shore before running away with a 71-point win at Windsor Park.

Scores were level at quarter time before Joeys held the Seagulls to just one goal after the first change in recording a 15.15 (105) to 4.11 (35) victory.

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Young guns Oscar Morrison (four), Max McLachlan (three) and Tanner Owen (three) kicked ten goals between them.

However, the victory has been soured somewhat by an injury to reigning rookie of the year Hunter Lewis.

Co-captain Jacob Miljevic kicked two goals for North Shore, with Brad Tregenza and Cam Anderson their best.

Geelong West has outlasted Grovedale for a crucial 35-point win at West Oval.

In a match played as a double-header with the club’s GDFNL section, West led by just four points at three-quarter time.

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However, the Giants couldn’t be stopped in the final term, kicking 4.7 while keeping the Tigers scoreless to claim a 13.17 (95) to 9.6 (60) victory.

Lachie Horniblow added four goals to the three he kicked in the opening-round loss to Leopold.

Werribee-listed midfielder Jake Smith was also a standout, kicking two goals and winning plenty of the ball.

Debutant Jesse Mellor – son of coach Greg – kicked an important goal for the Giants.

Ryan Abbott, Charlie Nelson and Tom Gillett each kicked two goals for the Tigers.

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Colac has bounced back from its opening-round loss to Bell Park with a 13-point victory over Newtown & Chilwell at Central Reserve, 15.11 (101) to 13.10 (88).

Remarkably, the final margin was the difference between the two teams at every break.

Adam Garner and Joffy Simpkin booted three goals apiece for the Tigers, with big man Zach Zdybel and recruit Chaise Murray their best.

Charlie Harris and Matty Lloyd (three goals) were among Newtown & Chilwell’s best.

Bell Park recorded an old-fashioned, percentage-boosting win in handing St Albans a 97-point hiding at St Albans Reserve, 20.16 (136) to 6.3 (39).

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At three-quarter time, the Dragons were on track for a triple-figure margin before the Supersaints restored some pride with five final-quarter goals.

Jack Sarcevic was a standout with four goals, while Willson Mack and recruit Eli Pearce each kicked two.

Tom Caudullo and Joe Osborne were named St Albans’ best.

South Barwon has been spared some blushes after needing to dig deep to overcome Lara at McDonald Reserve.

Trailing at every change, the Swans got out of jail with a 5.4 to 2.1 final term.

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Captain Matt Caldow led from the front with a five-goal haul, while Jonty Broughton added four in the 15.11 (101) to 13.6 (84) victory.

Aaron Stone was the standout for the Cats. He finished with three goals, as did veteran spearhead Mitch Day in his first appearance of the season.

X: @krockfootball


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