Jack Ginnivan celebrates a goal during the round five clash between Collingwood and St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on April 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA will return to Melbourne on top of the ladder, however, Ross Lyon’s perfect return to Moorabbin is finally over. But only just.

Collingwood was the master of the single-digit wins in 2022 and had to do it again, despite looking home for most of the last quarter before the Saints kicked three goals in time-on to give the Magpies a fright in the dying seconds. 

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Jack Higgins, Ryan Byrnes and Brad Crouch kicked three goals in three minutes, but ultimately they ran out of time, with the Magpies overcoming an ongoing ruck dilemma exacerbated by the loss of Dan McStay early in the second quarter and the late withdrawal of superstar midfielder Jordan De Goey, to record a 10.10 (70) to 9.10 (64) win at Adelaide Oval.


The Saints have been the most surprising side of 2023 – and threatened to produce another upset for much of Sunday – arriving in South Australia as the only undefeated team, but as well as they tried, they couldn’t stop the Pies.

The inaugural Gather Round produced a handful of high-scoring affairs at Adelaide Oval, Norwood and Mt Barker, but this was never going to be one of those occasions. Not with Lyon calling the shots from the coaches’ box. 

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It took until the final quarter for Collingwood to finally penetrate St Kilda’s well organised back six, kicking the first four final-quarter goals to lead by 24 points before St Kilda came flying back into the contest, the siren sounding inside its forward 50 with the Saints holding all the momentum.


The story before the first bounce was the return of Jack Ginnivan for the first time in 2023, but after the final siren it was another Collingwood small forward – off-season signing Bobby Hill – who was the story after kicking a game-high three goals to move to 10 for the season, as he continues to loom as a shrewd piece of recruitment. 

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After dropping Easter Thursday to Brisbane at the Gabba, the Magpies had to wait 10 days for a chance to respond. And they did in the end, despite the best efforts of St Kilda’s brilliant back six that conceded only 10 goals from 64 inside 50s.

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Nick Daicos was everywhere, continuing his sizzling start to 2023, amassing his fifth straight 30+ disposal, this time finishing with a career-high 42 disposals, eight inside 50s and a whopping 846 metres gained in a performance that is sure to attract more Brownlow Medal votes for the second-year sensation.


Collingwood captain Darcy Moore produced a vintage performance in defence, while Brayden Maynard was also influential down back, covering the loss of Jeremy Howe and the move of Billy Frampton into the ruck. 

With AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas holding a press conference outside the ground during the opening quarter following the announcement that Gather Round will return to this state for the next three years, Brad Crouch kicked the first goal of the game within a minute before Tom Mitchell responded a minute later, but it wasn’t a sign of scores to come. 


Both sides kicked two goals in the first, four in the first half and had only six each by the final change, before the game broke open to ensure the showpiece round finished with a showpiece finish. 

St Kilda may have lost but they lost no admirers, playing without three of its most important players again – Jack Steele, Max King and Tim Membrey – but continuing to find more from less. 

Collingwood will have to wait a long time between games again – they don’t face Essendon until Anzac Day on Tuesday week – and will be hoping it gives McStay enough time to recover from a finger tendon injury, given the issues they have in the ruck right now.


Daicos does it again
Nick Daicos continues to stun. Not many have played a better first 30 games than the 20-year-old with the famous surname, now making his own name. Daicos has started season two with five consecutive hauls of 30+ disposals. This time he finished with a career-high 42 disposals and 846 metres gained. One of the clear favourites for the Brownlow Medal and with good reason. 

Nick Daicos and Tom Mitchell after the round five clash between Collingwood and St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on April 16, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

All-Australian blazer bound?
We all know Cal Wilkie’s story by now, but it keeps getting better. Plucked from the SANFL at 22, yet to miss a game since. Last year he was included in the 44-man All-Australian squad, but this year he looks destined for his first blazer if he maintains this form. St Kilda’s acting skipper thrived back on home soil. The North Adelaide product amassed 11 marks and 10 intercepts from 24 disposals to help maintain St Kilda’s stunning points-against record. Only Essendon (74 points) has registered more than 70 points against the Saints.

Callum Wilkie marks during the round five clash between Collingwood and St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on April 16, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

A big late change for the Pies
Collingwood lost star midfielder Jordan De Goey before the opening bounce due to illness, which had swept through the club during the week. Will Hoskin-Elliott didn’t travel with the playing group earlier in the week, arriving in Adelaide on Saturday to join the 26-man squad. Hoskin-Elliott was added to the 22 with Tom Wilson named as the sub.


COLLINGWOOD     2.2   4.4    6.10    10.10 (70)
ST KILDA               2.2   4.3     6.4      9.10 (64)
Collingwood: Hill 3, Mihocek 2, McCreery, Mitchell, Ginnivan, Johnson, Elliott
St Kilda: Caminiti 2, Higgins 2, Crouch 2, Phillipou, Clark, Byrnes

Collingwood: N.Daicos, Moore, Hill, J.Daicos, Maynard, Mitchell
St Kilda: Wilkie, Crouch, Battle, Sinclair, Marshall, Wood, Ross

Collingwood: Dan McStay (TBC)
St Kilda: TBC

Collingwood: Jordan De Goey (illness), replaced in the selected side by Will Hoskin-Elliott

Collingwood: Tom Wilson (replaced Dan McStay in the second quarter)
St Kilda: Jack Bytel (replaced Zaine Cordy in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 43,796 at Adelaide Oval