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Match preview: St Kilda v Adelaide

Pick a Winner: StK v Adel Duck and Browny preview the Saints v Crows
Alan Richardson is under the pump early in 2018 - AFL,St Kilda Saints,Adelaide Crows,Etihad Stadium
Alan Richardson is under the pump early in 2018

SUMMARY
St Kilda will be desperate to bounce back after a terrible loss to North Melbourne, when the Saints struggled to win contested football or hit targets by foot. Those two areas will be important against one of the best teams in the competition in Adelaide. The Crows typically have a very strong onball division with Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch leading the way, but Crouch won't be available after suffering a left hamstring strain last week. They are also very slick with the football, so Alan Richardson's side will need to bring the pressure game it can usually be relied upon to deliver. St Kilda's midfielders, led by Jack Steven and Seb Ross, will need to be at their best, while young guns such as Jack Billings, Blake Acres and Jade Gresham need to show they can consistently contribute at a high level.

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday, April 7, 7.25PM AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE TIMES

R12, 2017, Adelaide 16.15 (111) d St Kilda 7.12 (54) at Adelaide Oval
R11, 2016, Adelaide 19.19 (133) d St Kilda 6.9 (45) at Adelaide Oval
R7, 2015, Adelaide 18.11 (119) d St Kilda 10.13 (73) at Adelaide Oval
R23, 2014, Adelaide 22.9 (141) d St Kilda 9.8 (62) at Adelaide Oval
R4, 2014, Adelaide 20.16 (136) d St Kilda 7.8 (50) at Etihad Stadium

THE SIX POINTS

1. Last time these sides met, Crows big man Sam Jacobs dominated the ruck with 25 disposals and 37 hit-outs, and picked up the three Brownlow votes.

2. Adelaide has dominated St Kilda recently, winning the past seven matches, which is a club record. Four of the past five have been by more than 50 points.

3. It's been a slow start to the season for Crows superstar Eddie Betts. He hasn't booted a goal, which is the first time he's gone consecutive games without a goal since rounds 8-9, 2010, when he was at Carlton.

4. At Etihad Stadium, the Saints hold a narrow advantage over Adelaide, winning six games to five. The Crows have a mixed recent history at the venue, going 2-3 since the start of 2016.

5. Adelaide smashed Richmond all over the field in round two, dominating the disposal count (449-309) and marks (106-52) and having 15 more inside-50s. Despite their loss, the Saints had more disposals than North Melbourne last week, but were beaten in inside-50s (41-66).

6. Crows star Bryce Gibbs has started beautifully at his new side since crossing over from the Blues and his Schick AFL Player Ratings ranking has improved by six spots since the start of the year, up to No.37.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …

The heat is on Alan Richardson after his side's disappointing start to the season and if the Saints are as inept they were against North Melbourne, serious pressure is going to mount on whether Richardson is the right man to lead the club.

PREDICTION: Adelaide by 33 points