ST KILDA has won its first game of the season after easily accounting for the Western Bulldogs by 39 points at Marvel Stadium on Sunday night.
SIZZLING SAINTS TOO GOOD Full match coverage and stats
The Saints held a 23-point lead at half-time before putting the foot down in the third term to run out 14.4 (88) to 7.7 (49) winners.
There were several occasions the Saints' forwards were able to raffle the footy, making the Dogs' defence look a rabble.
After blowing a 31-point lead to lose to North Melbourne in round one, the new-look Saints showed no signs of nerves, even when the Bulldogs threatened to edge back into the contest after Josh Dunkley converted early in the fourth term.
Jack Billings was the star of the show for the Saints with three goals and 24 touches, while Zak Jones impressed with 29 disposals and a goal.
The Saints will now face Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday, while the Bulldogs will host Greater Western Sydney at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
Jack Billings has always shown glimpses of his potential, but 2020 looks like it could be the year he takes his game to another level. The 24-year-old's sublime skills were well and truly on display against the Dogs and he finished with three majors from 24 disposals. If the former No.3 pick can find some consistency in the remaining 15 games, it will go a long way to helping the Saints return to the finals.
New recruits slot in seamlessly
The Saints loaded up in last year's Telstra AFL Trade Period with Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, Dougal Howard, Jones and Dan Butler all arriving at Moorabbin. All have settled in well to Brett Ratten's team and impressed throughout the contest. Former premiership Tiger Butler was arguably the best of the recruits, finishing with two goals and being robbed of another after his classy shot on the run was marked by Billings on the goal line.
Dismal Dogs flop again
There was plenty of pre-season hype about the Western Bulldogs being able to contend for another flag after their disappointing elimination final loss to GWS. After being comprehensively thrashed by Collingwood in round one, all eyes were on Marvel Stadium to see how they would rebound after the league shutdown. Despite looking promising early, the Dogs failed to fire after quarter-time and will now be under enormous pressure to avoid a 0-3 start when they face the Giants under Friday night lights.
ST KILDA 3.1 7.3 12.4 14.4 (88)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.4 3.4 5.6 7.7 (49)
St Kilda: Billings 3, Butler 2, King 2, Lonie, Hind, Steele, Jones, Marshall, Hannebery, Membrey
Western Bulldogs: Wallis, Macrae, Vandermeer, Richards, Williams, Naughton, Dunkley
St Kilda: Billings, Butler, Jones, Ross, Steele, Hannebery
Western Bulldogs: Dunkley, Smith, Lipinski, Macrae
St Kilda: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil