St Kilda had an exciting comeback win in the opening round against GWS and ended up with eight points at Giants Stadium

In the roller coaster game, which was played under wet conditions after the downpour in Sydney over the weekend, the Saints led by up to 16 points in the third quarter before the Giants scored four of the next five goals

But the hosts wasted two valuable chances and the majors of Jack Lonie, Seb Ross and Tim Membrey gave Brett Ratten a head start they wouldn’t give up

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The win was crucial given the Saints’ long injury list, missing more than 1100 games with AFL experience

St Kilda’s Mason Wood was a late omission for Dan McKenzie, luckily for her who weren’t for injury; Brett Ratten is already without stars like Max King, Paddy Ryder, Rowan Marshall, Brad Crouch, Dan Hannebery, Zak Jones and James Frawley

With 30mm of rain falling in Sydney before the game, it was clear from the start that it would be difficult for both sides to play skillfully. Only four buttocks were kicked in the first 10 minutes

In his 150th Game, Giants captain Stephen Coniglio was sent to the former teammate and the St Kilda gun Jack Steele but also managed to kickstart early divestments and hit double-digit numbers before the end of the first quarter

A big Mark of the Year contender from GWS’s Toby Greene led to the first goal of the game before namesake Tom Green sold candy for the team’s second goal, it took Jack Billings four more minutes to get the Saints on the blackboard bring

GWS led 23 (15) to 12 (8) at the quarter hour when Coniglio took the lead with 11 losses and 391 meters gained

Jack Lonie equalized early in the second quarter after Isaac Cumming gave away a stupid 50-yard penalty and knocked the Saint in the back as he hit deep in the front pocket, Bobby Hill was soon looking to restore the hosts’ lead

Coniglio’s day didn’t stop Steele from hitting 15 exits and five clears at the start of the second quarter as his squad dominated the territory at 17 out of 23 within the 50s

The recruit from St. Kilda, Jack Higgins, scored his first goal for his childhood club under controversial circumstances GWS veteran Phil Davis insisted the ball hit the top of the goal post and the bat appeared to shake – but it wasn’t knocked over

The territorial dominance of the saints then turned into an impact on the scoreboard Bradley Hill and Tim Membrey scored 14 points

In the final seconds of the tenure, Harry Himmelberg gave GWS a much needed answer, putting it down 45 (29) to 56 (36) at halftime

Commentators were stunned by a free kick against Jack Steele for a powerful attack on GWS’s Jacob Hopper, who was declared dangerous

“This is not dangerous,” said the great Geelong-Jimmy Bartel “It would have hurt, but it was a completely legal business of Steele”

Harry Himmelberg and Stephen Coniglio jointly gave GWS the lead early in their third term before Jack Higgins took them back for the Saints and an end-to-end goal from Seb Ross extended the lead

Membrey extended the lead to 16 points before Callan Ward gave Giants the much-needed answer with a clever snapshot The Saints then gave a free kick for consecutive 6-6-6 infractions and it gave Greene a goal that scored the Lead on three brought back

Jerk debutant Matt Flynn, who played his first AFL game almost 2,000 days after joining due to a serious injury, hobbled away in “dire distress” fearing an ankle injury after taking it up and returning to the game back

Coniglio missed a shot on goal after the three-quarter siren, his Giants fell to 89 (57) to 96 (60) in the final break

Himmelberg’s third goal gave the Giants four of the last five majors – and the lead again – to start the fourth quarter, however Himmelberg hit the post with a relatively simple set shot and Taranto missed a snap not long later, which both did the game could have brought to bed

A miracle from Jack Lonie somehow floated through to St Getting Kilda back into play within 10 minutes before a Ross goal put the visitors in front

Lachie Keeffe pulled one back to get the Giants back within a point at 4:24, but Dan Butler sealed the Saints victory with 32 seconds after a controversial free kick

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The great Alastair Clarkson said it for us after his Hawks pinched a thriller about Essendon: “Such close games are just a toss of the coin”

They are sheer luck and last year the Saints’ luck was bad They took the lead by an AFL worst 4-1 in close games and although they were somewhat lucky to beat the Bulldogs by three in the elimination finals, we watched whether her luck would change in 2021

The first signs are good as they beat GWS by eight points and the lead only blew as a kick from a delicate free kick given to Dan Butler in the last minute

When the captains clash on Sunday, the couple came on opposite paths Jack Steele from his best year and Stephen Coniglio from his worst

GWS trainer Leon Cameron made a surprise phone call with his skipper and sent Coniglio in a marking role from the first ricochet to Steele – and it was a pleasure

Steele had 15 exits and five clears in one and a half quarters, but only four exits for the rest of the game. Coniglio finished the race with 24 exits, 602 meters ahead and one goal He was the third best player on the floor by AFL official player ratings

“I like it because sometimes when you’re out of shape, like Coniglio was last year, all you need is a reference,” he said on Fox Footy

“So to have a reference in the event of an interruption, someone to work off, someone to be responsible for, but then also the license to get your own ball – I think it’s a good way to getting someone back in shape””

Hawthorn Champion Dermott Brereton added, “Jack is just a really powerful young man, but he plays in straight lines towards goal which is fantastic and predictable for your forward field

“Coniglio has a little more deceit about him, he can kick around corners, he creates a kick there to only crib the 20 meters”He’s a smart, smart player

“They’re both mostly gamers. Coniglio is a bit smarter, Jack Steele is just a beast of a young man, he’s a big, big, powerful kid. Fascinating battle”

Almost 2,000 days after his draft and after a string of injuries, Matt Flynn finally got his shot in the jerk for the Giants It was worth the wait

Flynn controlled the fight against Paul Hunter, recording 34 hits, 18 removals and five clearances. He was the best player on the floor according to the official AFL player ratings

The Academy product was the first player to score more than 30 hits and more than two contested points per foot stats guru Swamp on his AFL debut

GWS Giants versus St Kilda

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