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2020 Toyota AFL Premiership
Finals Week 1 • St Kilda v Western Bulldogs
67 10.7
Full Time Saints by 3
64 9.10
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    MATCH PREVIEW

    MEGA-PREVIEW: Saints v Dogs, stats that matter, who wins and why

    St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs renew acquaintances in a cut-throat elimination final

    St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs will face off in a cut-throat elimination final at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon. Picture: AFL Media

    SUMMARY

    Having both successfully navigated important round 18 clashes, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs now renew a rather unique 21st century finals rivalry. The two sides met in successive preliminary finals in 2009 and 2010, with the Saints winning spiteful battles on both occasions. Now, St Kilda returns to the post-season for the first time in nine years, while the Western Bulldogs are back for their second straight finals appearance. 

    WHERE AND WHEN: Gabba, Saturday 2 October, 4.40pm AEST
    TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

    01:55 Mins
    Published on

    Finals Previews W1: St Kilda v Western Bulldogs

    Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the elimination final between the Saints and Bulldogs at the Gabba

    Published on

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?

    Round two: St Kilda 14.4 (88) defeated Western Bulldogs 7.7 (49)
    Plenty of water has gone under the bridge since St Kilda thrashed the Western Bulldogs by 39 points to restart their respective seasons back in June. The Saints were completely dominant at Marvel Stadium, with Jack Billings (24 disposals, three goals) helping to sweep Luke Beveridge's team aside with ease. Recruits Dan Butler and Zak Jones also caused plenty of headaches, as the Western Bulldogs fell to 0-2 on the season with defeat.

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    St Kilda
    Max King is a jet, but St Kilda can't rely too heavily on the young forward in attack. King has won just 12.8 percent of his one-on-one contests this season, ranking 49th of the top 50 targets in the League. Furthermore, when the two sides met in round two, King was targeted eight times inside 50, but took only one mark inside the forward arc. St Kilda's attack is most dangerous when it is spreading the love, with Rowan Marshall, Tim Membrey and Dan Butler also providing consistent options throughout the campaign.

    Western Bulldogs
    Even though Aaron Naughton should play, despite a fractured cheekbone, expect Mitch Wallis to be the side's deepest target in attack. Wallis retained the ball from close to 48 percent of his forward 50 targets and kicked a goal from nearly 21 percent of his forward 50 targets this season – ranking fifth and fourth respectively in the League in both categories. He has proved a capable and dangerous option in the side's adaptable forward line. 

    06:12 Mins
    Published on

    Get excited for finals: Bulldogs def Hawks, SF 2016

    Ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series, enjoy a sample of great finals featuring this season's representatives

    Published on

    WHAT THE STATS SAY

    1. St Kilda won the hitouts 48-12 and the hitouts-to-advantage 20-3 the last time it played the Western Bulldogs. Both were the club's best differentials this season. Despite this, the Saints only won the clearance count 32-29.

    2. Although they rank dead last for hitout differential and hitout-to-advantage differential over the last six games, the Western Bulldogs rank top-two in the League for disposal differential, contested possession differential, time in forward-half differential, scores from stoppage differential and scores from centre bounce differential.

    3. Despite being based in Queensland for much of the season, the Western Bulldogs have played only one game at the Gabba this year – a 24-point loss to Brisbane back in round 11. Furthermore, they've won only one of their seven games at the Gabba since 2020. St Kilda finished with a 3-3 record at the Queensland venue this year. 

    4. Lachie Hunter could be the danger man on the outside for the Western Bulldogs. The midfielder ranks No.1 in the AFL for uncontested possessions, averaging 18.8 per game. He also ranks No.2 in the League for score involvements, averaging 6.7 per game.

    5. Don't tip Callum Wilkie to lose many defensive contests. Of the 40 one-on-one contests the St Kilda backman has been involved in, he's won 42.5 percent of them – ranked fifth in the League. He also hasn't been out-marked once this season, according to Champion Data.

    08:38 Mins
    Published on

    Get excited for finals: Saints def Bulldogs, PF 2009

    Ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series, enjoy a sample of great finals featuring this season's representatives

    Published on

    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR

    St Kilda
    He's copped his criticism following a high-profile move from Fremantle last October, but now it's time for Bradley Hill to justify his recruitment. A triple-premiership player with Hawthorn, Hill is one of few St Kilda players to have tasted success in the finals. They'll need that experience on Saturday night. He's also coming in with some good form. Averaging an improved 19.3 disposals over the last month, his run will be important for the Saints.

    Western Bulldogs
    Tim English's
    form over the last fortnight has been promising, impacting more frequently on the scoreboard to kick two goals in each of his last two matches. However, shouldering the majority of the ruck load will be a difficult task against St Kilda's twin attack in Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall. Limiting their effectiveness on the contest could be just as important as the impact English has going the other way. 

    PREDICTION: St Kilda by 11 points. The Saints have talent, style and have shown they can adapt to different situations this season. They should get the better of the Dogs.

    MATCH REPORT

    Cloud nine: Saints march into semis after holding off hot Dogs

    St Kilda advances to the semi-finals after eliminating the Western Bulldogs

    Saints skipper Jarryn Geary celebrates a goal against the Bulldogs. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

    ST KILDA fans rejoice, your team has won its first final in 10 years.

    But boy did the Saints make hard work of it. 

    07:00 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: St Kilda v Western Bulldogs

    The Saints and Bulldogs clash in the second elimination final

    Published on

    With the old of skipper Jarryn Geary and the new of star-in-the-making Max King leading the way, the Saints had to withstand a withering final-quarter comeback from the Western Bulldogs to hang on by three points in their elimination final at the Gabba on Saturday. 

    The 10.7 (67) to 9.10 (64) victory puts them into a semi-final against Richmond next weekend.

    03:52 Mins
    Published on

    Watch the last two minutes: WB v StK

    Relive the thrilling final moments between the Bulldogs and the Saints

    Published on

    The Saints led by 24 points at the final change and looked home and hosed, but when Caleb Daniel kicked the Dogs' fourth of the final term with two minutes remaining, it set up a frantic finish. 

    But strong marks from Tim Membrey and Rowan Marshall iced the game and the Saints hung on to advance. Just. 

    SAINTS MARCH ON Full match coverage and stats

    Influential ruckman Paddy Ryder hobbled off late in the match with what appeared a hamstring injury. 

    00:43 Mins
    Published on

    Ryder in tears after injury sours Saints' win

    Paddy Ryder shows plenty of emotion after he limped off the ground before St Kilda's elimination final win

    Published on

    It was fitting Geary – the only survivor from St Kilda's last finals campaign in 2011 – would have a big say in his team's triumph.  

    Initially playing as a defensive forward on All Australian Caleb Daniel, the 32-year-old proved an attacking weapon, setting up the opening goal for Membrey and finishing with 13 disposals, seven marks and two goals. 

    He also clunked four contested marks as part of a forward line that dominated the Bulldogs' defence. 

    An ankle injury late in the second term to key defender Zaine Cordy did not help Luke Beveridge's men, but it was the second straight year they failed get past the first weekend of the post-season. 

    00:26 Mins
    Published on

    Cordy's day is done after ankle injury

    Zaine Cordy will take no further part in the game after suffering an ankle injury

    Published on

    King was magnificent, having his way with Ryan Gardner and dragging in seven marks, five of them contested to go along with two goals. 

    The Saints took 21 contested marks overall, as Membrey (16 disposals and two goals), Paddy Ryder (two goals) and Rowan Marshall all have an influence. 

    FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED Saints' bold trade raid pays off in spades

    Dan Hannebery (20 disposals) showed his class in another big game, while Hunter Clark (19) also impressed. 

    In complete contrast, the Dogs looked listless for three quarters before digging deep in the final term.

    While Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce struggled to make an impact, despite the Bulldogs winning the inside 50 count 51-35, they managed to conjure enough chances to almost pull off the unthinkable. 

    'WE WON'T BE IDLE' Dogs eye reinforcements in Trade Period

    One concern coming out of the victory hangs over Ben Long, who will come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer after a first-quarter bump appeared to collect Jack Macrae high.

    00:16 Mins
    Published on

    Is tough Saint in MRO trouble after high hit?

    Ben Long and Jack Macrae both fall to the ground after colliding during play

    Published on

    Long tore in from the back of the square following an early centre bounce, and although Macrae braced for contact, had his head rocked by the tearaway Saint. 

    St Kilda trailed by five points at quarter-time but kicked three goals to one in the decisive second term. 

    ST KILDA                          2.2     5.4     9.6     10.7     (67)
    WESTERN BULLDOGS     3.1     4.3     5.6     9.10     (64)

    GOALS
    St Kilda:
    King 2, Ryder 2, Membrey 2, Geary 2, Lonie, Butler
    Western Bulldogs: Daniel, Hunter, Liberatore, Crozier, Johannisen, Dunkley, Wallis, Bruce, Naughton

    BEST
    St Kilda:
    Geary, Hannebery, Ryder, Clark, Howard, Membrey, Carlisle
    Western Bulldogs: Smith, Bontempelli, Williams, Crozier, Daniel 

    INJURIES
    St Kilda:
    Ryder (hamstring)
    Western Bulldogs: Cordy (ankle)

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