St Kilda went toe to toe with Carlton for 15 rounds and finally came out with hardfought nine-point win.
The Blues were hampered by the late withdrawal of Bret Thornton and the continual bleeding of Chris Judd‘s broken nose, but were still in the game with two minutes to go. In the end, Brendan Fevola had to watch on as Zac Dawson demonstrated how to kick a vital goal under pressure.
I was interested to see how Carltonâ€™s taggers would go against the undefeated Saints. Aaron Joseph continued his good form against Stephen Milne and Ryan Houlihan applied a forward tag to Sam Fisher but didn’t do much himself while Michael Jamison blanketed Justin Koschitzke. Paul Bower provided lots of rebound but Nick Riewoldt was too good when it counted most, kicking 5.3. Meanwhile Leigh Montagna (DT137/SC157), Lenny Hayes (135/125) and Nick Dal Santo (111/135) seemed to run free, racking up 100 disposals between them. With so many of their better players doing well, it was surprising the Saints won by so little.
Brett Ratten’s use of Bryce Gibbs must puzzle Carlton fans and drive his fantasy coaches mad. With the Saints dominating early in the first quarter, Gibbs sat in a forward pocket getting cold.
For fantasy coaches, there was good and bad news. Popular St Kilda premium players pumped out magnificent scores and Sam Gilbert (94/101) returned from injury to continue his mopping up role in defence. On the Carlton side there were no DT tons and only 1 SC ton, with Bower putting up his fifth SC ton of the season. Fantasy coaches will have two weeks to ponder the future of Houlihan (43/45) and Jarryn Geary (16/14). A few weeks ago coaches may have had the vain hope that these players may turn into low-end keepers for the rest of the season. With trades running low, coaches have to consider whether they can afford to trade these players. Houlihan may struggle to remain in the team making a decision on him a little easier.
Did you see the writing on the wall for Houlihan and Geary and trade them out? Will they stay in the team and return to form? Are you one of the 50,000 coaches who are frustrated with the modest scores by Gibbs?