1. The contest was hot early – We witnessed a rollicking opening to the second game of the season and unlike the Pies and Blues a day earlier, the Saints and Bulldogs had zero issues keeping the scorers – or fans’ voices for that matter – busy.
In a contest that at times threatened to be dominated by the Dogs’ more assured lineup, a dogged Saints defence and a duo of costly 50m penalties meant there was nothing between the two at the first break.
Even though the scoring couldn’t quite maintain the heights of the opener, neither side dropped off the pace in what was an extremely entertaining early contender for game of the year.
2. Huntington deserves to be recognised as a giant of the competition – Despite being in her early 20s, we’ve known for a long time that Isabel Huntington has the tools to be a champion in the mould of Erin Phillips and Emma Kearney. Jas Garner was last year’s supernova and if Izzy can continue her form and avoid the spectre of injury then 2021 could be a very special year.
From claiming the ball in several key marking contests to finding space on multiple opponents and most importantly hitting the scoreboard several times (including a timely goal on the three quarter time siren), the Doggies’ fortunes may well rest significantly upon her shoulders. If their five year plan to add more silverware to Whitten Oval is to come to fruition, it would be a brave predictor who doesn’t have Huntington’s fingerprints all over those cups.
3. No second year blues for the Saints – In their first season St Kilda won plenty of friends with their creative dash and young players unafraid of the challenge posed by established sides. If this game was anything to go by, the St Kilda hype train will need to add some carriages. Not only did they punish the Dogs with outstanding accuracy, their defensive performance was even better. Names like Greiser, Watt, Shierlaw and Patrikios backed up their previous super performances in 2020, but newcomers Tyanna Smith and Jacqui Vogt also played outstanding games and will command attention from rivals in 2021.
Moorabbin may have been able to hold only 2,523 very loud spectators due to the current restrictions, but members, the league and even neutral fans should hope that it’s not too long before “When the Saints go marching in” rings out in front of a full house.
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