St Kilda has once again downed a fancied Melbourne with a frantic 36 point win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Despite being a vastly improved team in 2016, the Demons could not find the answers to a fast finishing Saints that now hold a fourteen game winning streak over a beleaguered Melbourne. There was reason for optimism early for the Demons as they continually punished the Saints from defense in the first quarter, Jayden Hunt being the catalyst for numerous counterattacks that led to a 17 point lead at the first break.
A solid pep talk from coach Alan Richardson at quarter time must have done the trick for the Saints, as the Etihad Stadium specialists completely took over from a hapless Melbourne outfit. Tom Hickey started to take control of the ruck against his more fancied opponent in Max Gawn, and the Saints running brigade of Leigh Montagna, Jack Steven, and Maverick Weller dominated possession to completely outpoint the Demons. Tim Membrey and defender Jarryn Geary racked up five goals between them to give the Saints a 13 point half time lead.
It was more of the same in the third quarter as the Saints piled the pressure on their Melbourne opponents, and despite some excellent work from youngsters Christian Petracca and Jack Viney, the Demons had no answers to the Saints “run and gun” offense. Wayward kicking for goal was the only thing keeping the Demons in the game, as despite having the ball in their forward line for most of the quarter, the Saints added 2.6 to the Demons 3.2, giving Melbourne a chance to pull off a come from behind victory.
The final quarter started with the Saints holding an 11 point lead after Melbourne kicked the last three goals of the third, and when Melbourne kicked the first of the final quarter, what looked like an easy Saints win had turned into a five point contest. Melbourne coach Paul Roos sent ruckman Max Gawn forward in an attempt to stretch the Saints undersized defense, and it looked like it could be a masterstroke as the Demons challenged the Saints early in the quarter. Just as quickly as Melbourne gained the ascendancy, they gave it right back with an undisciplined free kick given away by Demon spearhead Jesse Hogan. A Saints attack resulted, with veteran Nick Riewoldt getting on the end of a Jade Gresham handball to give the Saints some breathing space. From then on it was all St Kilda as they found their running game once again to completely outclass a stagnant Melbourne en route to a 36 point victory.
The win keeps St Kilda’s faint hopes of a finals appearance alive while Melbourne will lament yet another lost opportunity against a Saints team that always seems to have the Demons measure. Next up the Saints have a massive game against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, while the Demons travel west to take on the West Coast Eagles in Perth.
Scoreboard: St Kilda 3.3 8.6 10.12 15.20 (110) Melbourne 6.2 6.5 9.7 11.8 (74) Best Players: St Kilda: Hickey, Membrey, Steven, Weller, Ross, Montagna Melbourne: Viney, Vince, T.McDonald, Jetta
Article last changed on Monday, July 18, 2016 - 2:03 PM EDT