‘Disgraceful’ rarity in Saints massacre

St Kilda provided its fans a walk down memory lane as it trounced Hawthorn by 69 points in a performance jam-packed with 2020 hallmarks.

There was Dan Butler goals out the back, Brad Hill at his damaging best, and the Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall tandem proving too much for the opposition to handle.

The mammoth win, which was much needed to make up for heavy percentage lost through the first six rounds, was set up in a first quarter frenzy.

At quarter time the Saints had recorded 54 more disposals, 12 more inside-50s and six more clearances than the Hawks.

Brett Ratten’s men kept Hawthorn scoreless in the opening term, marking the side’s first scoreless quarter this season.

The Saints’ day out was powered by a midfield that clicked for four quarters for the first time in 2021.

The addition of Paddy Ryder let Zak Jones, Brad Crouch, Jack Steele and Seb Ross – who all collected more than 25 touches – dine out on his tap work.

For Hawthorn, it was their biggest loss since 2017 as the reality of regenerating its list was laid bare.

Alastair Clarkson has found a quality young forward in Jacob Koschitzke, who kicked two goals.

And Jack Scrimshaw played a steady hand, finishing with 33 disposals going at 84 per cent efficiency off halfback.

The absence of clearance beast Jaeger O’Meara was heavily felt as the Saints feasted on them at stoppages around the ground.

OVER THE HILL

Brad Hill has been the poster boy for the Saints’ struggles in 2021 when they’ve struggled to find the same groove that shot them up the ladder last season.

But this was a step, or perhaps a leap, in the right direction for the 27-year-old.

Hill was at his dashing best for the Saints, gliding through the centre square as he played the role of architect in most forays forward.

It wasn’t just his work offensively that would’ve had Saints fans grinning, as two defensive moments pointed to him being back to his best.

Playing against his old side, Hill set up the first goal of the evening after winning a free kick for holding the ball before linking up through the middle and delivering a perfect pass to Rowan Marshall who kicked the goal.

In the second quarter a desperate smother from Hill at the 27-minute mark stopped the Hawks going inside 50 as they looked to kick a goal.

HUNTER SPARK

He landed at St Kilda because of the pick Hawthorn traded to the Saints to land Jaeger O’Meara, so it was fitting Hunter Clark produced the golden highlight of his blossoming career to date against the Hawks.

Unlucky to miss out on the All-Australian squad following a breakout year last season, the 22-year-old kicked a frontrunner for goal of the round midway through the Saints’ Saturday evening waltz to victory.

Pressing up on a Hawthorn rebound 50, Clark smothered a ball just inside his side’s attacking 50-metre arc before collecting the loose footy and taking off.

Confronted by two Hawthorn defenders, Clark sold the sweetest of candy and split the players in a biblical fashion before strolling into goal and kicking truly from 15-metres out.

St Kilda took advantage of Hawthorn’s slow start. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

JONES’ BEST EVER

Zak Jones has struggled to get going this season, but the 26-year-old clicked into gear in the Saints’ emphatic win.

In fact, so good was Jones’ outing, it felt like he’d brought his own footy to Marvel Stadium on his way to collecting a career-high disposals.

Jones had equalled his previous best of 32 touches at three-quarter-time on his way to 37 disposals.

The former Sydney Swan also equalled his career best goal tally of two by halftime in a performance that will go down as the best in his career.

MILESTONE MEN

Crouch and Higgins both had nights to remember in their 100th and 50th games respectively.

Crouch was irrepressible around the ball for St Kilda and finished with 32 disposals and seven clearances in his best game for the club since switching from Adelaide.

Higgins also played his best game in the red, white and black since arriving from Richmond and kicked four goals to go with three goal assists.

SAINTS 5.4 10.9 14.11 19.14 128

HAWKS 0.0 4.2 6.3 9.5 59

MOTTERSHEAD’S BEST Saints: Jones, Crouch, Clark, Hill, Sinclair, Higgins. Hawks: Mitchell, Scrimshaw, Worpel, Shiels, Koschitzke.

GOALS Saints: Higgins 4, Butler 3, Marshall 2, Jones 2, King 2, Membrey 2, Clark 2, Sinclair, Coffield. Hawks: Koschitzke 2, Breust 2, Shiels, Hanrahan, Lewis, McEvoy, Moore.

INJURIES Saints: nil. Hawks: nil.

UMPIRES Deboy, Hosking, Dore.

Marvel

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES

3 Zak Jones (St. K)

2 Brad Crouch (St. K)

1 Hunter Clark (St. K)

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