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St Kilda too strong for determined Demons

James Magner attempts to cool off during the 2013 NAB Cup round 03 match between the Melbourne Demons and the St Kilda Saints at Casey Fields, Melbourne. (Photo: Andrew White/AFL Media)
James Magner tries to beat the heat in Melbourne's 25-point loss to St Kilda on Saturday

MELBOURNE coach Mark Neeld was left to lament a second quarter fadeout as the Demons fell to St Kilda by 25 points in the third round of the NAB Cup at Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon.

The Demons started the match positively, dominating the first quarter, but Neeld said a drop off in work rate in the second had allowed the more experienced Saints the opportunity to seize control of the match and run out 2.10.13 (91) to 2.7.6 (66) winners.

"It is just another indication of where we are at. If we have a non-competitive quarter we will lose the game," said Neeld.

Melbourne has turned over a third of its list since 2012, and there were nine players new to the club playing on Saturday.

Neeld was happy the team lifted intensity in the second half, despite the blistering hot conditions.

"The positive for us was the way we responded in the second half ... but eventually, honourable losses – you get sick of them."

The Demons played without new recruits Chris Dawes and Jack Viney, while co-captain Jack Trengove and Mitch Clark both continue to recover from foot fractures.

After the victory, St Kilda coach Scott Watters praised the AFL for enacting its heat policy, saying it was "extremely helpful" for his players as they sweated it out in the scorching heat.

The AFL sent out the memorandum, which applied to all games in Victoria on Saturday, to clubs early on Saturday morning, allowing them to have the luxury of having six players on the interchange bench and extended breaks.

"The extra rotations enabled us to look after the players," Watters said.

"Having a little bit of flexibility today was really important."

Watters openly criticised the League's policy after his players had to battle through sweltering temperatures in the club's round one NAB Cup clash against Adelaide and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

That following week, after feedback from a number of coaches, the AFL made an exception to its NAB Cup trial of having three substitutes and three interchange players.

In similar conditions to the Adelaide game, St Kilda made the most of their chances with seven straight goals in the second term, when they kicked with the benefit of a strong breeze.

Saints youngster Jack Newnes (17 disposals) played one of his best games for the club, while draftee Brodie Murdoch – the younger brother of Geelong's Jordan – also impressed.

A typically steady effort from experienced duo Leigh Montagna (21 disposals) and Nick Dal Santo (19) ensured the Saints of victory.

Stephen Milne looked as lively as ever, booting three goals in the second-term flurry.

Watters said ruckman Tom Hickey and Ben McEvoy would be available next week, while Ahmed Saad and in-form midfielder David Armitage would also return. Veteran Adam Schneider is also a chance.

Neeld said the club expects seven or eight changes for the team's last NAB Cup challenge match next week.

What it means
Both teams were out of the running to make the NAB Cup Grand Final heading in to the game, but that did not stop their efforts in trying conditions. The Saints, have chalked up their second victory a row following their win against the Sydney Swans last round, while for the Demons, they can be pleased with a much stronger second half. A number of their lesser lights stood up, including Dean Terlich and Daniel Nicholson.

What the coaches said
"When you have wind like this, often these games are won in a quarter of footy. I thought we were pretty good defensively after the first eight or nine minutes of the game, and I thought we certainly took our chances when we had the wind in the second quarter." – St Kilda coach Scott Watters

"When you're playing against good, experienced sides, if you drop your guard, or in our case work rate, they'll take advantage. But the positive for us was the way we responded in the second half." – Melbourne coach Mark Neeld

Fantasy snapshot
Dean Terlich (DEF, $102,700) was as solid as they come against the Saints and looks a likely round one starter for the Demons. Coach Mark Neeld said he was one of the few Demons to turn in a four-quarter effort. His hard running and ball use were clear highlights, as he notched 56 fantasy points in 67 per cent game time. If you're looking for a low-priced defender, Terlich is your man.
Sign up for NAB AFL Fantasy.


 

ST KILDA            0.1.2    2.6.8    2.8.8    2.10.13 (91)
MELBOURNE    1.2.2    1.3.4    2.5.6       2.7.6   (66)   
  
 
SUPERGOALS
St Kilda: Newnes, Dal Santo
Melbourne: Dunn, N. Jones

GOALS
St Kilda:
Milne 3, Milera 2, Hayes, Dennis-Lane, Riewoldt, Gilbert, Dal Santo
Melbourne: Sellar 2, Byrnes, Tapscott, Rodan, Davey, Hogan, Toumpas
 
BEST 
St Kilda:
Dal Santo, Newnes, Montagna, Milne, Steven, Geary, Roberton
Melbourne: N. Jones, Rodan, Dunn, Terlich, Jamar, Sylvia, Nicholson

INJURIES 
St Kilda: 
Dempster (tightness)
Melbourne: TBC

Reports: Nil
  
Official crowd: 5000 (est.) at Casey Fields