Dan Butler celebrates a goal during the round six clash between Carlton and St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on April 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA’S golden start to Ross Lyon’s second stint as coach has continued with a hard fought 22-point triumph over Carlton to consolidate top spot on the ladder.

After 11 lead changes in a see-sawing opening two-and-a-half quarters, the Saints broke clear with three-straight goals to end the third term.

Carlton kicking the first major of the last quarter gave the pro-Blues crowd at Marvel Stadium some hope of hauling in the 21-point deficit, but young utility Mitch Owens' long bomb soon after steadied St Kilda.

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The Saints move to 5-1 with the 12.10 (82) to 8.12 (60) triumph, returning to the winners' list after last week’s six-point defeat to Collingwood.


After going undefeated in the opening month of the season, the Blues have dropped two straight matches, starting with their 56-point thumping against Adelaide last week.

Despite dominating possession, Carlton was made to pay for its inaccuracy in front of goal in a performance that will have frustrated coach Michael Voss.

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Harry McKay, who won the Coleman Medal in 2021, was wayward all day and missed two shots in a minute during a crucial period in the third quarter.


Around the same time, fellow Blues forward Jack Silvangi missed a sitter, after a fortunate 50-metre penalty, to drain the life out of any Carlton surge.

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The Blues had the six leading possession-winners on the ground, headlined by Adam Cerra (39) and Sam Walsh (38), but St Kilda’s defensive system and pressure again held up.


Defence has been a hallmark of Lyon's coaching career and this Saints team is no exception, conceding an average of just 59.5 points per game this season.

In a major plus for the Saints, they should only get better the longer the season goes as they regain more players from the injury list.

Versatile forward Tim Membrey was lively early in his first game of the season, but captain Jack Steele looked well below his brilliant best after returning from a broken collarbone suffered against the Western Bulldogs in round two.


Star full-forward Max King should be able to play a role in the second-half of the season as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction.

St Kilda has a five-day turnaround before hosting Port Adelaide next Friday night, while the Blues fly to Perth to face struggling West Coast on Saturday night.

Big guns need some cover from the infantry
Having the two most recent Coleman medalists in the forward line should make facing Carlton a defensive nightmare for opposition teams, but the reverse may be the case. Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay were individually impressive against St Kilda, yet they make the Blues' attack predictable, as Carlton's low points-for column suggests. It's a lot harder to work out where the Saints' goals are coming from without a recognised focal point, a situation created as much by Max King's long-term injury as any conscious planning. Michael Voss needs more from his small forwards and attacking midfielders if he’s going to find a way to September this year.

Charlie Curnow celebrates a goal during the round six clash between Carlton and St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on April 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Great Wall of Wilkie has rock-solid Battle-ments
There’s been a lot of praise thrown Callum Wilkie’s way this year - and rightfully so - but it’s time the football world took notice of his off-sider, Josh Battle. The Great Wall of Wilkie has been seemingly impassable, but with another eight-mark haul on Sunday Battle went ahead of his teammate on the 'marks taken' table and, after being beaten by Harry McKay early, his efforts turning the Blues' late forward thrusts around went as far as any in getting the points at Marvel Stadium.

'Cin-cin' to the Blues newest, and oldest, addition
It took a while for Alex Cincotta to get his chance at AFL level, but when it finally came he grabbed it with both hands. The 26-year-old was picked up by the Blues in the Supplementary Selection Period after winning the club’s VFL best and fairest in 2022 and then impressing through pre-season training, with strong early season form at state league level seeing him handed a jumper when Adam Saad was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Cinchona immediately looked comfortable at the level and finished with 24 disposals at 92 per cent efficiency. Saad will be an automatic inclusion when fit, but if Cincotta can maintain his form he might not be the player to stand aside.

Alex Cincotta in action during the round six clash between Carlton and St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on April 23, 2023. Picture: Getty Images


CARLTON    3.4     6.7     7.10     8.12 (60)
ST KILDA    3.2     6.3     11.7     12.10 (82)
Carlton: C.Curnow 3, Silvagni 2, McKay, Durdin, Cerra
St Kilda: Butler 3, Owens 2, Wood, Membrey, Marshall, Higgins, Gresham, Cordy, Clark

Carlton: Cripps, McKay, Newman, Cerra, Walsh, C.Curnow
St Kilda: Gresham, Sinclair, Butler, Owens, Marshall, Wood

Carlton: Nil
St Kilda: Nil  

Carlton: Lochie O’Brien (replaced Ed Curnow in the fourth quarter)
St Kilda: Marcus Windhager (replaced Zaine Cordy in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 45,770 at Marvel Stadium