1. Steven’s miracle soccer goal
Saints fans didn't have much to cheer about, but Jack Steven provided one of the highlights of the night. The star midfielder isn't known for acts of genius, but he produced one that’s certain to receive plenty of airplay. In the opening minute of the third term, St Kilda rushed the ball to full-forward where it was punched high towards the boundary. Rather than taking possession, and perhaps inspired by the recent soccer World Cup, Steven volleyed the ball with a calculated kick – from close to the boundary, on the ‘wrong’ side for a right-foot kick, if you don't mind – and somehow sent it between the big sticks. Was it a fluke? Who cares – it was sensational, and a definite Goal of the Year contender.
TIGERS PURR INTO TOP GEAR Full match coverage and stats
2. Tigers roar back onto the winners’ list
In the previous ‘Maddie’s Match’ fundraiser in round 16 last year, St Kilda embarrassed Richmond, leading by as much as 95 points in the third quarter before cruising to a 67-point win. Since then, the Tigers have won a premiership and the Saints have fallen away dramatically, so it was no great surprise the reigning premier reversed the result this time. As the Saints learned, Richmond on the rebound (after a narrow loss to Greater Western Sydney) is a scary proposition. With midfielders Dustin Martin and Kane Lambert and small defender Jayden Short setting the tone early and the Tigers piling on 11 goals to two in the first half, this was always going to degenerate into a percentage-booster to further entrench the Tigers in top spot.
3. Kane’s courage
Kane Lambert was sensational early, gathering a game-high 11 touches and snapping a goal in a brilliant first term. Before quarter-time, the underrated runner showed breathtaking courage to mark while running with the flight of the ball, crashing into oncoming Saints youngster Bailey Rice in the process. The bigger Rice came off second best, remaining prone on the deck for some time with what was initially feared to be a shoulder or collarbone injury. The Saint was taken into the rooms for treatment but soon returned to the action. Meanwhile, Lambert’s set shot hit the post. In the third term, Tiger teammate Jack Riewoldt also took a courageous mark before nailing his fourth and final goal.
WATCH Dusty dazzles again on a Friday night
4. ‘The Human Meatball’ makes mincemeat of Saints
Dion Prestia has endured some injury issues this year but the Richmond midfielder is building impressive momentum towards another premiership assault. The ex-Sun, in his second season as a Tiger, was back to his damaging best against St Kilda, gathering 26 possessions and kicking a career-high three goals. The hard-nosed runner was stiff not to have a fourth major, snapping truly in the second term only for the boundary umpire to deem that Callum Moore had handballed to Prestia while the ball was out of play. Prestia also had a hand in many other scoring thrusts and was one of the most influential players afield.
5. Tigers sheath Jade’s blade
Saints youngster Jade Gresham’s two career-best goal hauls came in his previous two outings against Richmond, bagging five and six goals respectively in losing teams, the skilled little man remarkably tallying 11 of his team’s combined 23 goals. Given the Tigers’ ruthless mood it was always going to be Mission Impossible to replicate those heroics and Gresham managed just two late goals – the Saints’ fifth major just before three-quarter-time and another in the dying stages. However, the 20-year-old was still among St Kilda’s best players and was one of the few Saints to back himself to take the game on through the middle with speed and daring ball use.