WWWSt Kilda: The Saints were fearless in their round three demolishing of GWS, winning by 72 points. David Armitage was the main antagonist with a game high four goals and 31 disposals. After tight losses in their first two games, St Kilda finally managed to get a win on the board and many players played an encouraging game. Jack Newnes is forced out of the side with a fractured jaw this week while Jason Blake has been omitted. They are strengthened with the return of full-back Tom Simpkin and pin-point half-back flanker Arryn Siposs. Essendon: After another disastrous week for the club, Essendon fought off Fremantle with an emotional four point come from behind victory. However, the result was soured with an arm injury in the dying minutes of the game to Michael Hurley. Hurley is fit to play this week, but it will be interesting to see if he plays the whole game. The ‘Dons’ have made five key changes. David Hille, Jason Winderlich, Tayte Pears, Mark Baguley and Jackson Merrett are in; whilst Paddy Ryder (suspension), Travis Colyer (omitted), Nick Kommer (suspension), Elliot Kavanagh (omitted) and Dustin Fletcher (groin) are out. Stat’s that matter: Essendon are the 3rd best contested possession winners in the league (478) and St Kilda are the 16th best (408) St Kilda has the best disposal efficiency in the league (75.5%), but has produced the 2nd most clangers this year (157) The last time Brendon Goddard played against Essendon in round 3, 2011 (Saints loss by 52 points), Goddard had 28 disposals and six tackles. Injuries and Suspensions St Kilda: Daniel Markworth (knee), Adam Schneider (hamstring), Sean Dempster (hand), James Gwilt (knee), Jack Newnes (fractured jaw), Jackson Ferguson (knee) Essendon: Paddy Ryder (suspension), Nick Kommer (suspension), Dustin Fletcher (groin), Alex Browne (hamstring) Player’s on a hot streak: St Kilda: David Armitage, Nick Riewoldt, Jack Steven, Beau Maister, Clint Jones Essendon: Jake Carlisle, Michael Hibberd, Brendon Goddard, James Hird Player’s on thin ice: St Kilda: Sam Gilbert, Tom Lee Essendon: Alwyn Davey, Mark Baguley Key Match Ups: St Kilda v Brendon Goddard: This is the biggest match up of the game and arguably for the year. Who plays on the former St Kilda champ? Where will he play? Will St Kilda players ‘snipe’ him? If he plays in the midfield expectFarren Ray to get the gig, as Ray is renowned for his tagging roles. If it is in defence, expect Dylan Roberton or one of his great mates in Sam Fisher to get the job. This will be an enthralling match-up and to quote the famous Brian Taylor: “oh boy, wow wee!” Prediction: Essendon will come into this match with no weight on their shoulders and expecting to get the job done. They have won every match this year, despite the growing speculation and stress off the field. They will also be confident as they have the advantage in most of the key statistics. The Bombers are the 3rd best in hit outs this year (137) and St Kilda are lowly ranked 14th (102). Ryder is a big out for Essendon, however, overall in hit outs he was only ranked 18th (54), with his teammate Tom Bellchambers ranked 7th (80). Hille comes into the side to support Bellchambers and they will face in-form Ben McEvoy and Rhys Stanley. Hit outs is not the only area the Bombers dominate. They have also been ferocious with their tackles this year as they are ranked 2nd (220). The Saints on the other hand are the 3rd worse tackling side (146). When you look at the form and key statistics, this should be a walk in the park against the ‘rebuilding’ Saints. The Saints much publicized defence will be stretched again with the likes of Hille, Hurley, Stewart Crameri and Goddard powering the Bombers forward line. It will be the battle of both midfielders, however, the aging Saints may just be a couple of paces behind Brownlow medalist Jobe Watson’s front line. The Saints forwards have been in form and their pace may surprise, just like the last time these two sides met. St Kilda’s keys are to hit their targets, irritate the easily annoyed Goddard and win the contested ball. Essendon’s keys are to win the hit outs, not get carried away by St Kilda’s tactics on Goddard and use their tall forward’s at all times. Overall, Essendon have the better form and have more confidence. The Saints will have some belief, but they only beat GWS last week and their defence will be the issue again. Essendon by 25 points. Watson 33 disposals, Hurley 3 goals
LLGWS: An emotional Port Adelaide outfit was too strong for a young Greater Western Sydney team last round, losing by 56 points. The Giants had no answer for Justin Westhoff who kicked a career high five goals. Number one draft pick Lachie Whitfield was fantastic in his second game and Callan Ward led the team from the front. Dylan Shiel has been in great touch for the Giants and has improved drastically from his debut season. Toby Greene was the Giants best the last time these sides met with 34 disposals. He is a ‘ball-magnet’ and broke the lines on several occasions last year. Phil Davis was lucky that he had to handle Beau Maister last time, but this time he has Nick Riewoldt who is showing ominous signs. St Kilda: The Saints are in reverse. They’re reversing furiously down the highway and at the moment, they do not look like they are heading in the right direction. Injuries have destroyed their backline and people are questioning whether their best players should be played every week. The one positive to come out of St Kilda’s tight 17 point loss to Richmond was the return to form of Riewoldt. ‘Roo’ kicked four goals and showed glimpses of his magnificent best. Leigh Montagna returned from suspension and gave the midfield some desperately needed run and carry. Sean Dempster (fractured hand) and Adam Schneider (hamstring) miss, but Tom Lee and Nathan Wright debut for the club. It is an exciting time for the Saints as they have finally decided to blood some youth. Milestones: Lenny Hayes will play his 266th game, passing Gary Colling (265) into 5th place on all time list for St Kilda. Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne and Nick Dal Santo will play their 200th game together, 7th on the all time list. Stat’s that matter: GWS has had the most clangers this year (113), with St Kilda the 4th worse offender (107) St Kilda has the 8th most inside 50’s (111) this year and is the 5th best team at marks inside 50 (25). Sean Dempster had a career best 16 marks the last time these sides met and is big loss to St Kilda’s defence. Injuries and Suspensions GWS: Taylor Adams (hip), Matthew Buntine (lung), Dom Tyson (knee), Chad Cornes (shoulder), Rhys Palmer (calf) St Kilda: James Gwilt (knee), Sean Dempster (fractured hand), Daniel Markworth (knee), Farren Ray (hip), Tom Hickey (foot), Jackson Ferguson (knee), Adam Schneider (hamstring) Player’s on a hot streak: GWS: Lachie Whitfield, Dylan Shiel, Callan Ward St Kilda: Dylan Roberton, Nick Riewoldt, Clint Jones Player’s on thin ice: GWS: Curtly Hampton, Will Hoskin-Elliot St Kilda: Terry Milera, Jack Newnes, Arryn Siposs, Stephen Milne, Sam Gilbert Key Match Ups: Toby Greene v Jack Steven: This is a match-up that could possibly be the start of something exciting. Steven is teasing St Kilda fans this year for a best on ground performance, whilst Greene has gone from strength to strength. Steven’s time is surely due and this is a match-up of potential elite midfielders in the years to come. Prediction: The Saints have been showing some signs of improvement, but it is their lack of tall defenders that has cost them dearly. They conceded 25 scoring shots in round one and 29 scoring shots in round two. They do have the eighth best defence in the league, but it is simply the pressure that tall forward’s put on their defenders which is the problem. St Kilda gets a reprieve this week against a young Giants forward line. Jon Patton is into his second year and is showing remarkably similar signs to a young Jonathon Brown. Jeremy Cameron has sparkled and Devon Smith has arguably been one of the side’s best. St Kilda has an advantage with the more experienced midfield. Lenny Hayes is still fighting, Montagna was the best last week and Nick Dal Santo was solid. Ward has been gallant for the Giants, Adam Treloar is a surprise packet and Stephen Coniglio is the everywhere man. These names are kids – with the exception of Ward – and their experience is lacking. If the Saints can win the ball out of the midfield – which is expected – then the Saints will run away with the victory. The Saints simply need to support their defenders, use their speed in Jack Steven and Terry Milera and kick it to Nick Riewoldt. The Giants need to be brave, they need to isolate Patton one-on-one and counter attack at all costs. St Kilda has the more experienced players and gave the Giant’s kids a shellacking last time. Confidence is St Kilda’s key, while it is being bold and daring for the Giants. St Kilda by 50 points, Jack Steven 35 disposals, Nick Riewoldt 7 goals. You can follow Nick on Twitter at: @nick_saint13
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Brett Peake continues to press for recall to StKilda side with another dominant display, collecting 26 disposals, 1 tackle, 5 marks kicked 1 goal which included 22 in first half.
Adam Cockie had 26 disposals, 4 tackles, 4 marks & 1 goal
Marcus Mariliani 15 disposals, 1 tackle, 5 marks & 1 goal
Cameron Shenton 12 disposals, 2 tackles, 2 marks
Jackson Ferguson 16 disposals, 3 marks
206cm giant Michael Sikora, who was dropped to Development Squad had massive game in their win over North Ballarat on Sunday. Sikora kicked 3 goals and had 16 disposals, 43 hitouts, 1 tackle, 2 marks.
Raph Clarke was used up forward for majority of game and had 13 disposals, 1 tackle, 5 marks, 1 goal 2 behinds.
Terry Milera had up and down day missing few easy shots and ending game with 13 disposals, 1 goal 4 behinds, 2 tackles & 3 marks
Jay Lever played down back and collected 10 disposals and 3 marks
Hamish Shepheard was brilliant in the ruck with no Michael Sikora. Shepheard finished with 12 disposals, 2 tackles, 21 hitouts and 2 marks
The game threatened to be interrupted by this streaker!
This article was written by Wimnar7 and would like to thank him for allowing us to re-publish it here. You can check it out in its original form on his own personal blog HERE