Correction, everyone associated with the Sydney club claimed a thousand lives as the final siren sounded at SCG yesterday.
The scoreboard read 16.14 (110) to 17.7 (109) in favor of the Saints and the only question asked was “How?” “
Alves believed he could see signs of a St Kilda revival at the end of the third quarter, when his side scored four goals to reduce a 51-point deficit to 38.
However, only the faithful of St Kilda could have dreamed of the Sydney slump which led to such an unlikely victory.
Sydney were the better team by the length of the SCG until their disposal of the ball, especially off defense, started to go wrong.
And a ploy by Sydney coach Ron Barassi to put an extra man (Derek Kickett) on defense to help keep Tony Lockett silent backfired conclusively when the star single-handedly led his team to the win with four goals in the last quarter to increase his tally to 11.
The fiery Lockett started his final six point with less than a minute on the clock, adding to the agony of Swans fans who had seen St Kilda score seven goals in 12 minutes.
It was nothing less than material to cut the wrists of the Swans, and only time will tell how far this latest disaster took them back.
Barassi summed it up in one word: “Diabolical”.
“The players were very devastated. It will be a test of their resilience.
Barassi couldn’t help but regret the absence of Dermott Brereton, who missed the Swans’ first six games due to suspension.
“Dermie turns out to be very expensive,” he said.
“We’ve been in the stadium in every game but one, and some of them might have been a different story if Brereton had played.”
Alves, unlike Barassi, was smiling in the visitor’s locker room. He conceded that St Kilda had had “a very lucky escape”.
“I told the players three-quarters of the time that I was really worried because I felt I was the only guy there who thought they could win,” Alves said.
“And looking at their eyes, I didn’t think they were doing it.”
As usual, it was Lockett who responded and led his team home, brushing aside Sydney full-back Mark Hepburn and Kickett to score and score in the last minute of the game.
Although he was the only notable St Kilda player in the first three quarters, he received strong support during the last tenure of Nathan Burke and Captain Danny Frawley.