FORGET the Orange Tsunami, it was the black, white and red tsunami that flooded RSEA Park on Saturday afternoon as St Kilda recorded its fourth straight win with an emphatic 13-point victory over Greater Western Sydney.
The Saints stifled the Giants’ run and piled on the pressure across all four quarters to come away with a 7.6 (48) to 5.5 (35) victory at Moorabbin.
Both sides produced impressive forward-half displays, with key pillars Zarlie Goldsworthy and Jesse Wardlaw shining for the Giants and Saints respectively as their strong forward craft came to the fore, whilst Jess Doyle provided a moment of brilliance with a classy goal of the year contender.
The drizzle fell at Moorabbin in classic Melbourne style, making for a scrappy game early with both teams struggling to retain possession.
The Giants were able to attack the Saints early, applying pressure to kick their first score from turnover - a style of play that coach Cam Bernasconi had previously said exemplifies the Giants’ way.
SAINTS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
Goldsworthy slotted the first goal from a deep inside 50 entry following strong pressure work from the Giants up the ground.
But it was St Kilda that stole the momentum from that point, with its free-flowing handball chains providing it repeat inside 50 entries to culminate its own kind of tsunami.
Despite emerging victorious in all of its prior matchups against St Kilda, Greater Western Sydney ultimately failed to match the energy that the Saints injected into the game.
Tyanna Smith (17 disposals, five clearances) and Georgia Patrikios (20 disposals) have been instrumental to St Kilda’s recent purple patch, and were prolific once again as they dominated clearance whilst Olivia Vesely proved instrumental to their run and carry.
St Kilda transitioned the ball cleanly and worked as a team to bring the ball through the corridor, allowing its forwards to find themselves in space and relieve pressure.
Greater Western Sydney struggled to create layers amongst its defence, allowing St Kilda to break into its forward fifty with ease across all four quarters.
Despite struggling Goldsworthy (two goals, 18 disposals, nine tackles) was once again a standout performer in the orange whilst Alicia Eva (24 disposals) and Rebecca Beeson (19 disposals, nine tackles) were also prolific.
Alyce Parker (one goal, 24 disposals, eight tackles) was immense in the third term, but emerged from a contest with an ankle concern. Nicola Xenos also faced a similar issue at the latter stages of the final term.
Work in progress
Cam Bernasconi spoke before the game about his team's want to score off turnovers and stop the Saints in their tracks through winning the ball at the source. This worked well for Greater Western Sydney last week, but ultimately, the Giants struggled to score without winning the all-important clearances - specifically centre clearances, failing to record across this metric in the first term.
St Kilda were aggressive with the ball early, winning the inside 50 count 14 to three in the first quarter to shock a Giants side that was flying high following their first win of the season. The Saints utilised the energy of their home crowd and were able to string together a four-quarter, high-energy game - something they have failed to do in the past.
Zarlie Goldsworthy and Jesse Wardlaw filled RSEA Park with excitement, with both forwards slotting huge goals on the back of their strong set shot routines. Wardlaw remains one of the premier forwards in the competition and Goldsworthy’s rise this season has kept supporters of every side on their feet.
The Giants return to Sydney to face an in-form Carlton side at Henson Park, whilst St Kilda travels to Perth, hoping that a win against Walyalup will bolster its finals hopes.
ST KILDA 2.3 4.6 6.6 7.6 (48)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.0 2.1 3.3 5.5 (35)
St Kilda: Wardlaw 2, Richards 2, Exon 2, Smith
Greater Western Sydney: Goldsworthy 2, Doyle, Garnett, Parker
St Kilda: Wardlaw, Smith, Patrikios, Richards, Vesely
Greater Western Sydney: Goldsworthy, Parker, Eva, Beeson, Evans
St Kilda: Nicola Xenos (ankle)
Greater Western Sydney: Alyce Parker (ankle)
Crowd: 1,402 at RSEA Park, Moorabbin