Giants make a big, big sound at the MCG to end St Kilda’s season

Australia World

GWS has ended St Kilda’s season with a 24-point win in their elimination final at the MCG.

The Giants came into the final on the back of nine wins from 11 games, and they kept their form going with a five goal to two opening quarter to set up the win.

St Kilda trailed by 43 points in the third quarter before making a comeback, but they never managed to get closer than three goals before the Giants put paid to the contest in the final term.

The victory for GWS set up a semifinal next week against the loser of tonight’s qualifying final between Brisbane and Port Adelaide.

Jake Ricciardi led the way for GWS with three goals, matched by St Kilda spearhead Max King.

It was fierce early, with a goal apiece in the opening 90 seconds, before Rowan Marshall gave the Saints the lead at the eight-minute mark.

From there, the Giants would kick the next eight unanswered goals through the start of time-on in the second quarter.

GWS was well and truly in charge, with ball movement that was cutting the Saints’ defence to shreds. But whenever the game looked actually over, St Kilda managed to hit back with a couple of goals to stay somewhat in touch.

Cooper Sharman put an end to the Giants’ run with a mark and goal from 30m out, and the crowd roared in relief. Then spearhead Max King managed to kick two goals in a minute.

A St Kilda AFL forward high fives his teammates after kicking a goal.

St Kilda refused to let the Giants kill off the game at the MCG, kicking a number of late goals to stay in touch.(Getty Images: AFL Photos/Dylan Burns)

GWS responded through Josh Kelly but Brad Hill kicked a goal with nine seconds left to make it 29 points at the half.

The intensity of the game lifted in the third quarter, as the Saints tried to narrow the gap, but they missed important chances.

Giants small forward Toby Bedford, who was only playing after overturning a one-week ban, kicked two important goals, the second in the third term to deliver a blow to St Kilda.

A GWS AFL player roars in celebration and pumps his fists after kicking a goal.

Toby Bedford who is only playing after overturning a one-week ban, is already on the scoreboard for GWS.

The Giants pushed the lead back out to 43 points, but the Saints were not done, and they booted three of their own, including a goal to Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera on the siren to make it 25 points with a quarter to go.

Jack Higgins got the first goal of the final term, but GWS responded to put the lead back out to 30 points, and St Kilda could not mount another comeback as the Giants ran out winners.

Look back at how all the action unfolded in our blog.

Key events

St Kilda vs GWS

The Giants aren’t done with yet

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We’re going to leave this blog here, because we’ve got another one to get up and running very soon. Brisbane are about to play Port Adelaide, and the loser of that game will then be forced to take on the GWS Giants in a knockout semifinal.

And the Giants are just about the last team you’d want to face right now. They are peaking at just the right time of the season and took the Saints’ defence to the cleaners today. The Giants were sensational today, and have been for a good few weeks now.

It’s season over for St Kilda, who could learn a little something from the GWS ball movement today. They’ve got a big offseason ahead of them and plenty of work for Ross Lyon to do for them to right this wrong next September.

But those Giants players will now head home, keep an eye on tonight’s game and rest up for their next battle, whether it’s in Brisbane or Adelaide. They are must-watch at the moment, and are ready to cause a few more big, big sounds this September.

Thanks for joining me, see you over in the Lions-Port blog very soon.

Tom Green, superstar

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A lazy 36 disposals, five tackles, five clearances and 705 metres gained.

Tom Green was the best player on the park today, What a player the Giants have on their books here.

FULL-TIME: Giants win by 24 points! Season over for St Kilda!

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It was Giants footy at its very best today — fast, furious and deadly efficient. The Saints defence, among the best in the league in 2023, had no answers to the might of GWS today.

It’s a disappointing finish to the year for a St Kilda team that took big steps forward under Ross Lyon this year, but they were taken out of their comfort zone today and soundly beaten by a better team.

Work to do in the offseason for the Saints, but the Giants don’t look done yet in 2023. Whether it’s Brisbane or Port Adelaide, they should be wary of the Orange Tsunami.

1′: Into the last minute

The big, big sound is about to echo around the MCG. The Giants are home.

3′: Sinclair has a pop from 50

But it’s wide. He’s done his best, Jack Sinclair, but the link between midfield and attack has just been lacking for the Saints a bit today.

4′: Giants are nearly there

Sam Taylor, back in the team for this one, has been titanic in defence and is still standing up to the pressure right to the last moments of the game.

Can he back up for another one next week?

6′: Max King has a third

It’s a 25-point game. 5:40 on the clock.

A chance?

7′: Max King, what a grab!

Now that is a glorious pack mark from a big full forward. His best grab of the day by far.

He’ll line up from directly in front, once he gets his breath back. He winded himself on the way down from that huge grab.

8′: The Saints are running out of time

The energy is leaking out of the crowd. St Kilda are trying to get something going through the middle of the ground, but it’s just not clicking.

Giants in touching distance of a semifinal.

10′: Riccardi misses

His second bad miss of the quarter. But the Saints now need to kick six goals in 10 minutes to win it.

11′: Riccardi in the box seat again

He’s playing a fantastic game up forward, and once again is the man out the back of a quick Giants breakway.

He marks, and can line them up for his fourth.


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15′: King nearly clunks one on the goal line

But his fingertips aren’t quite sticky enough. Giants rush a behind.

16′: Goal Callaghan! Is that enough for the Giants?

It’s back out beyond five goals, and it’s looking mighty tough from here for St KIlda. Higgins was supposed to be manning the mark, but instead he took off and conceded the penalty. Costly.

16′: A 50 metre penalty! Callaghan gets a gift!

What’s happened there? Finn Calaghan chopped out the kick in, and then I think the Saints man on the mark breached the stand rule. It’s a 50, and it’s a gimme for Callaghan.

17′: Riccardi in the goalsquare!

Or just outside the goalsquare it turns out, but a mark and surely an easy goal either way …

Oh he’s missed it! That would have just about slammed the door shut! And the Saints get away with one.

17′: Riccardi has three! Giants lead by 24

Timely for GWS, just when it felt like the Saints avalanche was incoming. That will settle the Giants.

18′: Riccardi marks and has a chance to answer

Tom Green wins another centre clearance, and Jake Riccardi gets on the end of the deep entry.

Can he give the Giants some breathing room?

18′: Jack Higgins slots it and the Saints are coming!

St Kilda get the first goal of the last quarter, and it’s a three-goal game. This game has flipped on its head!