ST KILDA has kept itself in touch with the top eight after recording a much-needed 20-point victory over North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Following last week’s 111-point drubbing at the hands of the Western Bulldogs, the Saints responded with an improved performance to run out 12.16 (88) to 10.8 (68) winners.
SAINTS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
They were led by Luke Dunstan (26 touches and 13 tackles) and Brad Crouch (26 touches and a goal), while Mason Wood kicked three goals against his former side.
For North Melbourne, Aaron Hall (33 touches and 776 metres gained) and Jack Ziebell (23 touches and two goals) tried hard all day.
The Saints led for the entire game and took control through their first half dominance in the clearances, and in particular stoppage clearances which they led 18 to nine at half-time.
The Saints managed 18 scoring shots from 25 forward 50 entries in the first half, but were again wasteful in front of goal, kicking 7.11 to enter the main break 31 points up.
North Melbourne came to life at the start of the third quarter, with Nick Larkey kicking his second goal in the opening minute of the term following a 50 metre penalty.
Suddenly the Roos started hitting targets and got reward on the scoreboard when Cameron Zurhaar kicked his second to cut the margin back to 19 points.
But just when North Melbourne looked to be working its way back into the contest, St Kilda took control.
The Saints kicked the next four goals of the game, including two in a row to Wood.
Jack Ziebell broke St Kilda’s scoring run with a classy running goal to open the fourth term, and the Roos kicked five goals to one in the last quarter.
But North left its run too late, falling to their tenth loss for the season.
Wood makes his old side pay
When you’re a forward who has just joined another club, it’s always a great feeling when you kick your first goal for your new side. It’s an even better feeling when it’s against your former team. That’s what happened on Saturday, when ex-Roo Mason Wood took a mark deep inside 50 in the first term and converted for St Kilda’s second goal of the game. Wood finished with three goals and 18 disposals, in what was a promising performance for the talented forward.
Saints again plagued by inaccuracy
Inaccuracy has been an issue for the Saints all year, highlighted by 5.17 against Geelong in round 9 and 8.15 against the Suns in round 8. It was again an issue for St Kilda on Saturday, with the Saints missing a number of very gettable shots to finish the match with 12.16. Given St Kilda’s woeful percentage, it will need to start converting better on the scoreboard if it wants to have any chance of returning to finals action this season.
Veteran umpire shows his toughness
Footy is a tough sport, and it isn’t just the players who put their body on the line. Umpire Simon Meredith found himself on the receiving end of an errant Jimmy Webster kick during the fourth quarter right in the centre of the ground. The ball hit Meredith’s head at pace, but the veteran umpire was impressively able to keep his feet. He was able to stay on the ground and officiate the rest of the game.
ST KILDA 3.6 7.11 11.14 12.16 (88)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 3.4 5.7 10.8 (68)
St Kilda: Wood 3, Billings 2, Membrey 2, Higgins, Ross, Crouch, Byrnes, Geary
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 2, Larkey 2, Ziebell 2, Thomas 2, Garner, Taylor
St Kilda: Dunstan, Crouch, Steele, Wood, Billings
North Melbourne: Hall, Simpkin, Ziebell, Cunnington, Thomas
St Kilda: Nil
North Melbourne: McKay (hamstring)
St Kilda: Jack Lonie (unused)
North Melbourne: Charlie Lazzaro (unused)