Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
North Melbourne has survived a spirited comeback by St Kilda to take a seven point victory at Etihad Stadium and remain undefeated after seven rounds of the AFL season. Despite holding a four goal buffer well into the final quarter, the Kangaroos were almost run down by a determined Saints unit that tied the scores late in the match. A Todd Goldstein free kick gave North Melbourne a slender lead that they were able to maintain under intense pressure. A goal on the siren by Mason Wood sealed the win for the Kangaroos who remain atop of the AFL table over the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans.
The Kangaroos had plenty to celebrate with forward Drew Petrie playing his 300th AFL game. The veteran kicked two goals for the game and along with fellow forwards Shaun Higgins and Ben Brown kept the scoreboard ticking over for the in-form Roos who seem to have found the perfect balance of youth and experience. St Kilda struggled to stay with the Kangaroos early, trailing by 14 points at quarter time and 19 at the half. Midfielders Ben Cunnington (26 disposals) and Jack Ziebell (28 disposals) led the charge for the Kangaroos as they controlled the game despite some plucky resistance from the up-and-coming Saints. Veteran Nick Riewoldt (24 disposals, 3 goals) was magnificent for St. Kilda while Leigh Montagna (34 disposals) and Jack Newnes never gave up for the Saints.
The Kangaroos held sway by 17 points at three-quarter time before stretching their lead even further and looking like they had the game firmly in their keeping. St Kilda had other ideas. Within the space of 10 minutes the Saints added goals to Riewoldt, Jack Billings, Tim Membrey, and Josh Bruce to level the scores. Despite their best efforts they could not keep the momentum going. The experienced Kangaroos steadied the ship to run out seven point winners in a contest that showed both North Melbourne’s resolve and St Kilda’s improvement as a club.
Next up North Melbourne will take on the struggling Essendon in a game that should see them extend their perfect start while the Saints head west to take on the Eagles in Perth.
Scoreboard: St Kilda 2.3 3.7 7.7 11.9 (75) North Melbourne 4.5 6.8 9.12 11.16 (82) Best Players: St Kilda: Riewoldt, Montagna, Newnes, Savage, Geary North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Jacobs, Goldstein, Atley
Article last changed on Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 12:34 PM EDT