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1990 - 2010
The Resurgence
After a decade spent in darkness, the Saints were finally re-emerging into the light.

With the VFL officially rebranded as the AFL to reflect the league’s national standing, a rejuvenated St Kilda began to lay the groundwork for another rise up the ladder.

The club’s standing was bright at the start of the new decade with a new young coach in Ken Sheldon – backed up by the famed ex-Hawthorn star Peter Hudson as Football Manager – and a team with multiple stars in their prime.

The Saints' stars were aligning.

Heading that star brigade was the leviathan full-forward Tony Lockett along with the supremely talented Nicky Winmar, dominant centre half-forward Stewart Loewe, tireless Robert Harvey and the gritty Nathan Burke.

It was a team primed to make its mark and progress to the finals after a 17-year absence. When Gilbert McAdam steered through the opening goal in the 1991 Elimination Final, it broke a dam wall of emotion that signalled the end of a long era of heartache and near-extinction.

The Saints were eventually knocked out of the 1991 finals despite Plugger’s nine goals, but a year later, won their first final since 1973 with a gritty defeat of Collingwood.

Gilbert McAdam 1991 Goal
Things were looking up away from the field as well.

Off the field, the restructuring of the social club and football club administration brought the two parties under the one umbrella after years of bickering, which had been a distraction and drain on resources and energy.

The ongoing links with big names continued with the signing of model Elle McPherson as a No. 1 member. Over the years, that lineage had extended back to long-term Saint fans such as TV legends Graeme Kennedy and Molly Meldrum and visiting stars Cher and Elton John.

Elle Macpherson and St Kilda Football Club Players
Celebrity Saints
St Kilda Supporter Eric Bana
St Kilda Supporter Molly Meldrum
St Kilda Supporter Shane Warne
Michael Gudinski Alongside Aaron Hamill
Ed Sheeran Next to St Kilda Captian Jack Steele
St Kilda Supporter Graham Kennedy
St Kilda Supporter Peter Hitchener
St Kilda Supporter Sandy Roberts
St Kilda Supporter Alicia Loxley
St Kilda Supporter Jane Bunn
St Kilda Supporter Alex Lahey
Peking Duk wearing St Kilda Scarves
Australian Matilda Steph Catley
St Kilda Supporter Glenn Maxwell
Cricketing Great Wasim Akram in a St Kilda Guernsey
Michael Klim Holding the 1966 Premiership Cup
Elle Macpherson in a St Kilda Guernsey
Singer Cher and Trevor Barker of the St Kilda Football Club
Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Harvey
Samuel L.
Entertainer Elton John in a St Kilda Guernsey
Singer Robbie Williams in a St Kilda Guernsey
Hulk Hogan and Adam Schneider
Alex Albon in a St Kilda Guernsey
Charlie Clausen St Kilda Football Club
Marina Pryor with her St Kilda Scarf
Singer Dan Sultan in a St Kilda Guernsey
Singer Tex Perkins
Singer Paul Dempsey in a St Kilda Scarf
Farewell, Moorabbin

The Saints would bid some tough farewells in the following years, but the one attached to the most emotion arguably came when the book closed on Moorabbin’s storied history as a venue for AFL Premiership matches.

St Kilda took residency at Waverley Park as part of the AFL’s ground rationalisation strategy; the move helping up some of the club’s debt, as well as an opportunity to start afresh with newer training facilities compared to those of the ageing Moorabbin.

A victory against Fitzroy in Round 20, 1992 would close out the fondly remembered era of cult heroes, characters and unforgettable memories, which wouldn’t be reignited until the club’s AFLW debut some 28 years later.

'90s Nostalgia
Tony 'Plugger' Lockett During the 1991 Season
It was the match that Saints fans had been waiting for all year. The return of Tony Lockett and Nicky Winmar to a packed Moorabbin crowd against Adelaide was theatrical enough before youngster Robert Harvey hit Lockett lace-out in the opening minute to kick his first goal. Plugger had nine before half-time and finished the match with 12. Up the other end, defender Russell Morris simply starred at centre half-back, gathering 33 touches and taking 18 marks.
St Kilda Fans 1992 During the last game at Moorabbin
Emotion was high as St Kilda bid farewell to their beloved Moorabbin in 1992. St Kilda recorded a memorable win over Fitzroy on the day, before being swamped by fans at the final siren who wanted a hold of anything red, white and black.
Nicky Winmar 1993 at Victoria Park
One of the most important dates in Australian history. After receiving a barrage of racist taunts from the opposition crowd at Victoria Park, Gilbert McAdam and Nicky Winmar rallied to drive the Saints to a memorable win; the unforgettable afternoon ending with the latter's stand as he pointed to his skin and declared he was proud to be Aboriginal.
Tony Lockett 1994 vs Sydney Swans
Tony Lockett turned on one of the most stunning displays of his life as his willpower, strength and marksmanship produced 11 goals which snatched victory from Sydney in amazing circumstances. Sydney led by 48 points seven minutes into the final term, but a Lockett rampage, culminating with three goals in the final three minutes, saw the Saints clamber to an unthinkable one point win.
St Kilda Fans at Waverley Park 1996
This game will forever be remembered for one of the more bizarre occurrences in the history of VFL/AFL football. Twenty minutes into the third quarter, the lights at Waverley Park went out after a nearby sub-station blew up.
Both teams were ushered from the ground with no one quite knowing what to do. Meanwhile, the crowd descended into chaos, upending point posts and lighting fires in the forward pocket before the game was abandoned and completed the following Tuesday.
1996 St Kilda Barker Game
Two days earlier, the beloved club legend Trevor Barker had passed way, prompting an outpouring of emotion right across the club. Stars Stewart Loewe (eight goals), Nathan Burke and Peter Everitt all put in tremendous games over Footscray, while youngster Joel Smith had a coming of age game with two handy goals, including the sealer. You could almost feel the spirit of Barker willing the ball through in the final stages.
Peter Everitt vs West Coast Eagles 1998
In years gone by it was thought that the hotter it was in Perth, the better chance West Coast had of running Victorian sides off their legs. It appeared that would be exactly the case in early 1998, before Daniel Healy and Peter Everitt's six goals apiece applied the blowtorch to the Eagles who, amazingly, wilted under the strain in the final minute.
"I'm black and I'm proud."

While the 1993 Season would be one of mediocrity for the Saints, the Round 4 clash between Collingwood sparked a stand that would go down as one of the most important moments in the game’s history.

Indigenous Saints Nicky Winmar and Gilbert McAdam were subjected to vile, racial abuse from sections of the opposition supporters at Victoria Park. The vitriol was so horrendous, McAdam’s father, who was watching from the stands, left the game before half-time in tears. Rallying together at the break, Winmar and McAdam vowed to emerge triumphant.

McAdam went on to pile on a match-winning five goals, while Winmar racked up 25 touches and a goal of his own to steer the Saints to an emphatic victory at Victoria Park.

Gilbert McAdam & Nicky Winmar Victoria Park 1993
What happened next was enshrined in Australian sporting history.

On the final siren, Winmar faced the crowd, raised his jumper and pointed to the colour of his skin – his proud gesture immortalised by photographer, Wayne Ludbey.

It’s one of the most recognisable photographs in the football world; its significance to a nation and a people unparalleled.

While his magical flair on the field impressed week-in, week-out, it was Winmar’s generation-defining stand against racial vilification which has become a pillar of St Kilda’s, the game’s and the nation’s history.

Nicky Winmar 1993 Victoria Park
Indigenous Saints
St Kilda Football Club's Jim Wandin
St Kilda Football Club's Graeme Lee
St Kilda Football Club's Robbie Muir
St Kilda Football Club's Eric Clarke
St Kilda Football Club's Phil Narkle
St Kilda Football Club's Greg McAdam
St Kilda Football Club's Russell Jeffrey
St Kilda Football Club's Bob Jones
St Kilda Football Club's Jim Krakouer
St Kilda Football Club's Gilbert McAdam
St Kilda Football Club's Dale Kickett
St Kilda Football Club's Gavin Mitchell
St Kilda Football Club's Sean Charles
St Kilda Football Club's Freddie Campbell
St Kilda Football Club's Xavier Clarke
St Kilda Football Club's Allan Murray
St Kilda Football Club's Raphael Clarke
St Kilda Football Club's Nicholas Winmar
St Kilda Football Club's Terry Milera
St Kilda Football Club's Jade Gresham
St Kilda Football Club's Ben Long
St Kilda Football Club's Koby Stevens
St Kilda Football Club's Matthew Parker
St Kilda Football Club's Robbie Young
St Kilda Football Club's Paddy Ryder
St Kilda Football Club's Bradley Hill
St Kilda Football Club's Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera
St Kilda Football Club's Jarrod Lienert
St Kilda Football Club's Marcus Windhager
St Kilda Football Club's J'Noemi Anderson
As an Indigenous sports person, I wanted to show that I am a human being as well, no matter what colour I am.
Nicky Winmar
Lockett's future at the Saints was uncertain the following year.

The surprise sacking of coach Ken Sheldon resulted in Stan Alves taking the reins in 1994, but he had to endure a difficult and injury-riddled first year with an undercurrent of debate over St Kilda’s declining finances and whether the club should trade Lockett.

As ever, Plugger was regularly in the news, especially after he fuelled a dramatic comeback against Sydney and also skittled Swan Peter Caven which prompted a heavy suspension.

Late in the year, Lockett booted the winning goal against Collingwood in what proved to be his last game for the Saints.

Tony Lockett 1994 St Kilda Football Club
St Kilda couldn't compete with the huge offer which lured Lockett to Sydney.

Having suffered a financial setback through his management, Plugger had no alternative to agreeing to the move, but emphasised that he wanted to ensure the Saints would be adequately compensated in terms of player trades and draft picks.

It was a time when star players Robert Harvey, Stewart Loewe and Nathan Burke were aggressively pursued by other cubs offering huge money. In the end, they all remained in red, white and black, each surpassing the 300-game mark and becoming respected greats in their own right.

In Loewe’s case he heeded advice from his great mate Trevor Barker about being a one-club player.

Stewart Loewe

Very few could reel in a contested mark like the great Stewart ‘Buckets’ Loewe.

The No. 23 held the record for taking the most marks in the history of the game (2503), before the remarkable feat was overtaken by his heir apparent, Nick Riewoldt.

But his qualities extended beyond just aerial brilliance and giant hands, with his work ethic and commitment to fitness legendary. Loewe was not a natural footballer as a youngster, but worked so hard on his game to utilise his physical attributes to the utmost effect.

Stewart Loewe Being Carried Off the Ground By Teammates
Buckets could bring down marks others could only dream of.

Playing in the position acknowledged as the hardest on the field, he achieved a consistency of performance and durability at centre-half forward that was the lynchpin of St Kilda sides for over 15 years.

By the end of his career, ‘Buckets’ had booted 594 goals across 321 games and earned two All Australian selections and a place in St Kilda’s Team of the Century.

Stewart Loewe St Kilda Football Club
Nathan Burke

From the moment he arrived at St Kilda Nathan Burke was identified as a natural leader and potential captain.

The helmeted hero was earmarked for greatness from virtually the moment he arrived at the club, and he never let anyone down in that regard.

His versatility was demonstrated across his illustrious 323-game career through his ability to star as a winger, back-pocket, midfielder and forward. Burke was a natural leader – before and after his time as captain – and led by example through his toughness and bravery.

Nathan Burke and His Boots
Burke’s attack on the ball was without equal.

The No. 3’s career was one of remarkable durability and aptitude for coming up trumps week after week, despite carrying injuries that would put others on the sidelines. Heavy knocks did take their toll and incidents of blurred vision led to the fierce competitor donning the helmet that became his signature look.

He held the all-time games record for the club before it was surpassed by his good mate, Robert Harvey, in 2006, but is in elite company as an official Legend of St Kilda, a three-time Best & Fairest and Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Nathan Burke Tackle Vs Adelaide Crows
The Helmeted Hero
Nathan Burke Representing Victoria
Big V
Burke represented Victoria 11 times in State of Origin games, featuring every year from 1991 to 1999 and evening captaining the mighty Vics.
Nathan Burke and Loewe Holding the Ansett Cup
Skippers in arms
Burke and good mate Stewart Loewe were St Kilda's first ever co-captains, leading the Saints to its first Grand Final appearance in 24 years in 1997.
Nathan Burke Running During Preseason
The Limits
The one facet of his game where Burke refused direction was in pre-game stretching. He believed the human body was only capable of a certain number of stretches!
Nathan Burke and Robert Harvey
The Triple
Burke is just one of five Saints to surpass the mythical 300-game mark, holding the club's all-time games record before it was surpassed by Robert Harvey in 2006.
Alice Burke, Daughter of Nathan Burke Representing the St Kilda Football Club
The Legend
The Burke legacy lives on at St Kilda through his daughter, Alice. Inheriting her father's No. 3, Burke was the Saints' first ever father-daughter recruit and has already shown the same tenacity and toughness synonymous with the Burke surname.
Robert Harvey

In an era where running players came to the fore, Robert Harvey was – and to this day, continues to be – acknowledged as the man who could outrun all others.

A superb athlete blessed with innate dodging skills which could extricate him from even the most crowded situations on a football field, Harvey was a sight to behold in a career that spanned 21 seasons and 383 games.

He had the rare touch of magic in the way he could dodge through seemingly impenetrable circumstances and emerge with the ball to set up something further afield.

Harvs sits among a pantheon of the greatest legends to ever grace the game.

The slender 16-year-old on debut grew into a strong, compact footballer whose running capacity was so great that few players could tag him for four quarters. Opposing coaches could only alternate taggers on him for a quarter at a time before they became exhausted.

Harvey surpassed Nathan Burke’s all-time games record in 2006, before adding another 59 games to his tally. It was proof of his longevity, and was funnily enough mirrored by his iconic haircut, which remained unchanged throughout his decorated career.

The No. 35 closed out a career few could only dream of, complete with two Brownlow Medals, eight All Australian selections, induction into the Saints’ Team of the Century and status as a Legend of the St Kilda Football Club.

Robert Harvey Goal
Bedazzling Banga
Robert Harvey With His Brownlow Medal
Brownlow Medal
1997, 1998
Robert Harvey Being Chaired Off By His Teammates
Trevor Barker Award
1992, 1994, 1997, 1998
Robert Harvey St Kilda Football Club
1992, 1994-1999, 2003
Robert Harvey St Kilda Football Club
St Kilda Team of the Century
Robert Harvey, Australian Football Hall of Fame Inductee 2012
Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee
Robert Harvey St Kilda Football Club
St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame
Inducted as a Legend in 2016.
Robert Harvey Representing Victoria
E.J. Whitten Medal
1992, 1993, 1996
His method of leading, the way he trained and prepared was immense. You saw him push himself until he had nothing left to give.
Nick Riewoldt
The talk of mergers dominated the football landscape in the mid-1990s.

With a world champion yachting background, it could be said that Andrew Plympton had to navigate even trickier waters during his time as St Kilda’s president in the 1990s.

Along with Stuart Trott and Gerry Ryan, Plympton was part of the core which guided the club through the ‘Save our Saints’ campaign and tin rattle of 1995 as the threat of a merger overshadowed the Saints; a conversation the club was constantly linked to.

He possessed the common touch and never considered any duty below his standing as president, once even helping out as interchange steward at an interstate game.

St Kilda Football Club 1995 Save Our Saints
Winning the '96 Ansett Cup had the Saints humming, before tragedy struck.

St Kilda was left heartbroken by the premature death of the iconic Trevor Barker at the age of just 39 early in 1996.

In an emotional game against Footscray the following Sunday, the Saints surged to a last-minute victory. You could almost feel the spirit of Barker willing the ball though the posts in the closing minutes.

If they want to shed a tear, I reckon they should shed it for a great guy.
Stan Alves
Overcoming a slow start to 1997, the Saints were in the hunt for their second flag.

With eight successive wins after starting the year 1-5, St Kilda powered into top place at the end of the home-and-away season; only the second time it had been achieved in club history.

The middle part of the year had been a dream run, but the first sign of a downturn in fortunes came when Joel Smith badly injured his knee. Then the sturdy Lazar Vidovic also went down with a knee in the last match of the season and, worst of all, the dynamic ruckman Peter Everitt busted a shoulder in the first week of the finals.

Brett Cook St Kilda Football Club
The Saints still entered the Grand Final against Adelaide as favourites.

Robert Harvey had just won his second successive Brownlow, and a memorable Friday night victory in the Preliminary Final meant that the Saints entered the Grand Final as likely victors.

But overpowered by Adelaide – and, more specifically, Darren Jarman who kicked five final-quarter goals – on the big day, the elusive second Premiership slipped away.

The Saints would again make finals in 1998, but that didn’t save the job of Stan Alves. New coach Tim Watson lasted two years before deciding he would be a better fit back in the media.

St Kilda Football Club Running Through the Banner Before the 1997 AFL Grand Final
But as hope of another triumph faded, the emergence of the next era reignited the belief.

Hailing one of the strongest sides since the ’66 Premiership throughout the 2000s, the star-studded Saints made several tilts at their second Premiership.

The names of great Saints at the start of the new millennium were near-endless, headlined by the brilliance of Nick Riewoldt and the courage of Lenny Hayes. Then there was the class of Nick Dal Santo, Leigh Montagna and Brendon Goddard, the flair of Stephen Milne, the presence of Fraser Gehrig and Aaron Hamill… the list goes on.

The resurgence seemed like wishful thinking at the start of the decade however, with a poor 2000 Season – which included 10 consecutive losses to open the new millennium – marking another wooden spoon.

But without a shadow of a doubt, did those Saints care.

There was no example clearer than through the eyes of a young Max Hudghton in 2000, who was brought to tears at the final siren after the Saints coughed up a 31-point lead to lose by a point to a fast-finishing Western Bulldogs.

The crushing defeat may have stung, but it was the resolute defender’s reaction which truly resonated. It spoke volumes to the faithful about how much his heart was in it, and how the young stock would do anything and everything for the club and its future success.

A truly defining moment of the era.



Max Hudghton St Kilda Football Club
There is no better endorsement of a player's love for his club, his jumper and his teammates than that right there.
Dermott Brereton
As stadium football became the precedent, the Saints had a unique beginning at their home.

Fans were promised the ride of their lives when million-dollar-man Malcolm Blight was signed as coach, and he obliged with some trademark unorthodoxy.

Among the oddities was the time he commanded players to return to the Docklands turf for a pow-wow following a loss to Melbourne.

Fifteen rounds into the season, St Kilda decided to cut ties with Blight, who had just three wins to his name. Grant Thomas was appointed to the role after a chaotic press conference – first as caretaker and then in an official capacity – to begin the new dawn.

Leading the charge, the unmatchable Nick Riewoldt.

When fans were asked to rate their greatest Saints’ players in order, the name of Nick Riewoldt was naturally up near the top of the tree.

One St Kilda diehard posed the question that had he not been cruelly denied the two narrow Grand Final defeats as captain, to his go alongside six Best & Fairests and record length of captaincy, would he have outshone all others to have ever pulled on the red, white and black?

It would be a hard premise to argue against.

Nick Riewoldt St Kilda Football Club
True Roo
St Kilda Football Club's Nick Riewoldt Celebrating
Goals; the third-highest tally behind Tony Locket (898) and Bill Mohr (735).
Nick Riewoldt Marking the Football
Marks; the most ever taken by a player in the VFL/AFL.
Nick Riewoldt Being Chaired Off After His 300th Game
Games; second only to Robert Harvey (383).
Nick Riewoldt As Captain of the St Kilda Football Club
Games as captain; the most of any Saint after surpassing Danny Frawley's record.
Nick Riewoldt Running Out Onto the Ground
Trevor Barker Awards; the most of any Saint.
Nick Riewoldt 5x All Australian
All-Australians; 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2014.
St Kilda Football Club's Nick Riewoldt
Leading Goalkicker; 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014.
Rooey quickly established himself as a superstar of the competition.

Riewoldt was a unique tall forward because of a running capacity and absolute endurance which defied all expectations of a centre half-forward. He simply ran opponents into the ground. The Riewoldt “tank” was legendary.

Coming out on the lead, Riewoldt was the perfect mix of elegance and power. His courage too was supreme, encapsulated best in the famed mark against Sydney in 2004, running with the flight of the ball with no regard for what may have been coming in the other direction.

The No. 12 was one of the greatest to pull on the jumper.

Recruited from Southport on the Gold Coast, he was such a standout as a teenager that Brisbane tried to change zone boundaries to secure him.

In truth, Riewoldt was more personally aligned to the state of his birth Tasmania and added to the bloodline of Apple Islanders who have enriched St Kilda’s history for over a century.

The lengths he went to in order to get up for games in the tail-end of his career was extraordinary, but as always, the Riewoldt tank had plenty to give.

Truly a once in a generation player.

Nick Riewoldt's Final Game, Being Chaired off By Jack Riewoldt and Josh Bruce
The new and old guard had something special.

Even with retirements of Stewart Loewe and Nathan Burke, the Saints forced the window open after a stunning 2004, which featured a then-record 10 consecutive wins.

It was the year the Riewoldt broke onto the scene, charting in the top-10 of Coleman and Brownlow Medal, taking out his second Trevor Barker Award and reeling in a league-high 256 marks.

The green shoots of hope began to blossom as the Saints’ top draft picks – the by-product of the three previous seasons – came into their own.

Nick Riewoldt, Aaron Hamill and Lenny Hayes
Golden Era Saints
Nick Riewoldt St Kilda Football Club
Lenny Hayes St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame Inductee 2019
St Kilda Football Club's Stephen Milne
Nick Dal-Santo St Kilda Football Club
Dal Santo
Leigh Montanga St Kilda Football Club
Brendon Goddard St Kilda Football Club
Justin Koschitzke St Kilda Football Club
Luke Ball St Kilda Football Club
Aaron Hamill and Leigh Montagna
Fraser Gehrig St Kilda Football Club
Max Hudghton St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame Inductee 2019
Jason Blake St Kilda Football Club
Justin Peckett With Blood Running Down His Face
Sam Fisher St Kilda Football Club
Jason Gram St Kilda Football Club
154 games, 71 goals
Steve Baker St Kilda Football Club
Austinn Jones St Kilda Football Club
Among the swathe of heroes were the beloved cult heroes.

They were the blokes that were definitely not run of the mill.

The cult heroes had that special something that attracted the fans in droves. Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt was larger than life in the 1990s, and when the Everitt headbands were marketed, they were eagerly snapped by by young fans who loved the Spida dreadlocks.

Shortly after came Aussie Jones, a fan favourite of a much different size, whose electrifying bursts off the wing fired up the red, white and black army.

Peter 'Spida' Everitt St Kilda Football Club
Then there was Fraser Gehrig, a different unit if ever there was one.

Kicking a mountain of goals in his own inimitable style, the mythical ‘G-Train’ grew into a powerhouse cult figure of which had never been seen before.

Gehrig’s piercing stare could petrify even the most unflinching of footballers, and when all 110-plus kilograms of Gehrig came hurtling towards them like a freight train, self-preservation was quick to kick in.

Troy Schwarze may have been a lower profile footballer, but “The Wool “ had special appeal. Nobody could forget his last-minute goal which knocked off a high flying Brisbane at Docklands in 2004… except for his mum who had left the ground early to beat the traffic!

Fraser Gehrig Vs Sydney Swans
But the fans' admiration of Lenny Hayes trumped all.

The term ‘spiritual leader’ is not an official one, but few players have been fortunate enough to receive that honour. It was label constantly tagged to Lenny Hayes.

Tough, fearless and loyal to a fault, the legendary No. 7 stole the hearts of fans everywhere across a glittering 16-year career. His brutal tackle and physicality were traits perfectly complemented by his trademark step and impeccable use; they formed the recipe for a consistent, elite midfielder and it showed.

There was a reason why everybody loved Lenny.

Lenny Hayes St Kilda Football Club
Observers didn’t have to wait long to witness his limitless reserves of courage.

On debut and with his head over the footy, Hayes trailed a bouncing ball along the boundary line before an oncoming steam train in the form of Glenn Archer mowed straight through the kid in a savage, bone-crunching collision.

Archer’s mass of muscle and shinboner spirit looked enough to knock any player out cold, let alone the then diminutive figure of the debutant, but Hayes quite literally bounced back up off the turf onto his feet and played on.

That was his trademark.

When the Saints needed him, Lenny always stepped up to the plate.

Under St Kilda’s captaincy rotation in the 2000s, he got his chance at the helm and it added an extra dimension to his game.

The three-time All-Australian and three-time Best & Fairest relished having responsibility, and that was apparent in the 2009 Grand Final when Geelong had to place Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel on him to try and rein him in. In the following year’s drawn Grand Final he became the club’s first Norm Smith Medallist with a superb display.

Late in his career it was revealed that he played an entire season with a heart condition. In footy terms, no heart was bigger than that of Lenny Hayes.

Lenny Hayes During the Grand Final
The faithful had reason to believe the dream was alive.

In tandem with the surplus of superstars was the cavalcade of unforgettable matches, hair-raising spectacles and scintillating Saints footy.

From the mid-2000s onwards, St Kilda featured in September in all but one year, but in the lead-up to the emotion-charged finals were some of the most epic home-and-away encounters ever witnessed.

From the last-minute match-winners, the incredible triumphs and the downright bizarre, there’s a reason why St Kilda of the 2000s is treasured by so many.

Epic Encounters
Troy Schwarze Celebrating His Goal Vs Brisbane Lions
Troy Schwarze enshrined himself in St Kilda folklore early in 2004, unleashing a match-winning bomb late to mark a one-point win over Brisbane. The sound at Telstra Dome from when the Sherrin sailed through the big sticks has rarely been beat.
St Kilda Vs Fremantle Sirengate
One of the most bizarre matches of all-time. In 2006, umpires failed to hear the faint siren in the dying seconds at Launceston's York Bark, which saw Steven Baker have two shots on goal to tie the match after the siren, Dockers coach Chris Connolly storm the field and the win later awarded to Fremantle.
Michael Gardiner Celebrating Vs Geelong 2009 AFL Season
of the
Rising like a colossus, ruckman Michael Gardiner created one of the most unforgettable moments with a match-winning speccie and goal in the famed 'Battle of the Unbeaten', which had the Saints and Cats squaring off after each being undefeated in the first 13 rounds of the 2009 Season.
Fraser Gehrig Vs North Melbourne 2003
Goes Bang
Eddie McGuire's roar of 'FRASER GEHRIG!' is burned into the minds of Saints fans, who witnessed the powerful G-Train boot eight goals against North Melbourne in 2003, the last of which was put through in the dying seconds after one final roll of the dice.
Robert Harvey Being Chaired Off By Teammates after his 350th
An injury-hit and depleted St Kilda came up trumps in Robert Harvey's 350th match against West Coast in 2007, giving the champion a milestone match he would never forget.
Justin Koschitzke being handed the number 23 from Stewart Loewe
A new
No. 23
Guernsey numbers today are part of a footballer’s identity. When Stewart Loewe handed over his number in 2002 after his last game to Justin Koschitzke it showed that emotion in football still burned bright. At the end of the match, Loewe bestowed the jumper to Kosi’ who had initially worn No. 24 in his first two seasons.
Stephen Milne St Kilda Hall of Fame Inductee 2019
In the end it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Stephen Milne’s rampage in Round 22, 2005 flattened Brisbane as he bagged 11 goals without a miss. The Saints' 139-point winning margin remains the biggest hiding the Saints have ever meted out to the Lions.
Cain Ackland And Robert Harvey
Carves Crows
For all of his magnificent skills Robert Harvey wasn’t known for his goalkicking. But in a wet wintry 2005 Qualifying Final at Adelaide, he was St Kilda’s top scorer with three of the team’s 10 goals. That only told half of the story of a miraculous display that literally dragged his Saints over the line; his performance ranking among his finest for the club that worshipped him.
Gehrig's Coleman-winning season played a pivotal hand in guiding St Kilda back to September.

The Saints started the preliminary final against Port Adelaide in slashing style, but their run was broken in the immediate aftermath of one of the game’s traditions.

The customary ground invasion following Gehrig’s 100th goal for the year is still said to have been the moment which killed the Saints’ momentum; the result one goal in favour of the eventual Premiers.

There was no greater chance for the Saints to claim its coveted second Premiership, with a battered, bruised and depleted Brisbane their would-be opponents for the last day in September.

Fraser Gehrig During the 2004 AFL Premiership Season
It was close to an exact repeat the following season.

Gehrig took out his second Coleman Medal and St Kilda finished in the top-four, but with multiple injuries mounting by the minute were trampled by Sydney in the final term of the hard-fought preliminary final. Like the Power the previous year, Sydney would go on to claim an historic Grand Final triumph over West Coast the following week.

The side only lasted a week in its 2006 September campaign, but after three years in the finals, coach Grant Thomas was unceremoniously axed.

With new coach Ross Lyon at the helm, the Saints dipped out in the 2008 preliminary final – Robert Harvey’s farewell match – but it served as the perfect stepping stone to an amazing 2009 campaign.

Luke Ball Vs Sydney Swans Preliminary Final 2005
"Gardiner! Rises like a colossus!"

The famed Battle of the Unbeaten is universally hailed as one of the greatest home-and-away clashes of all-time.

Both undefeated after 13 rounds, St Kilda and Geelong squared off in front of a record 54,444 fans at Etihad Stadium.The clash lived up to every expectation with a match that stands in the memory of the participants to this day as the best regular-season game they ever played in. The pressure, the intensity and the quality was unmatched.

Scores were level in the final minute, before a late screamer from Michael Gardiner confirmed an exhilarating triumph.

The two would meet again in that year’s Grand Final. Matthew Scarlett’s late toe-poke and Paul Chapman’s subsequent sealer broke hearts all over, as did the following year’s September against Collingwood.

Michal Gardiner Mark vs Geelong Cats 2009 AFL Premiership Season
The script was perfect as St Kilda and Collingwood met for the 2010 Grand Final.

St Kilda seemed destined for their long-awaited triumph, with the 2010 Grand Final mirroring so many facets of the fabled 1966 victory.

Premiership heartbreak the year before off the back of a final quarter fadeout. Another chance at the ultimate glory against Collingwood. One kick spelling the difference between agony and ecstasy. The stage was set.

After going into half-time 24 points down, the Saints began to turn the tide.

Goddard and Hayes willed the Saints back into the contest.

Hayes’ roost from long-range and Goddard’s iconic screamer and late goal put the red, white and black up by a straight kick with six minutes left on the clock. Had the final result gone the Saints’ way, both would have sat parallel to Breen’s deciding behind from the Saints’ first flag in terms of legendary moments.

With two minutes to play, St Kilda was on the back-foot and trailing by a point. In one final moment of desperation, a tumbling Hayes kick inside-50 bounced over the Collingwood defence; an opportunistic Stephen Milne lying in wait just outside the square.

Milne was centimetres away from putting the Saints one step closer to a stunning triumph much like Barry Breen had almost 50 years prior, before that bounce.


Brendan Goddard Mark 2010 AFL Grand Final