Ahead of what loomed as an important clash for both sides, the Cats and Saints joined together on the field to form a huddle in solidarity with Indigenous Australians.
The AFL had endured a turbulent week off the field after former Adelaide captain Taylor Walker was found to have targeted Indigenous SANFL player Robbie Young with a racist comment at a game in July.
Walker was suspended for the remainder of the season and fined $20,000 over the incident, which has prompted Indigenous figures within the game to urge Australians to have tough conversations around racism.
St Kilda and Geelong joined together in response.
We stand with our Indigenous brothers and sisters to say enough is enough.⁰⁰There is no place in our game or society for racism.⁰⁰We must do better.⁰⁰We must be better. pic.twitter.com/xTCqXnGTje
“Clearly the two clubs and the two captains have gotten together to make a statement,” Melbourne great Garry Lyon said pre-game.
“The more we can do this, the more we can draw attention to the fact that we haven’t got it right as a competition, we’ve got to continue to work at it.
“I like this. It’s a pretty powerful moment and we need it, given the week we’ve been through.
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall added: “It’s great to see this stand from the players. They are passionate about a lot of things and this is as high a priority as anything in the game at the moment.”
Star Cats recruit Jeremy Cameron played his first game since round 16 on Saturday. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
Both the Cats and Saints entered the game with plenty to play for. Given their inferior percentage, the Saints would have given up a spot in the finals with a loss but a win could have moved the side within striking distance of the top eight.
After the Western Bulldogs suffered defeat at the hands of the Hawks earlier on Saturday, Geelong could’ve hit top spot on the AFL ladder — at least temporarily — if they claimed the four points.
Perhaps inspired into action by their dismal record at Kardinia Park — St Kilda has not won there since 1999 — the Saints came out of the blocks firing.
Brett Ratten’s men had 31 points to their name before Geelong troubled the scorers.
Two late goals helped the Cats back into the contest before quarter time.
Jeremy Cameron returned from injury to boot three first half goals and before long, a grandstand finish had been set up at GMHBA Stadium.
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