There is no doubt St Kilda is establishing itself as a much more competitive team after three wins in its first 10 games, and it now enters clashes against teams like Melbourne in the bottom half of the ladder with an even chance. The Saints lost no admirers despite losing to Hawthorn by 63 points in round 10, and their star midfielders Jack Steven and David Armitage remain their biggest threats in 2015. Melbourne, meanwhile, was equally admirable in its Queen's Birthday clash against Collingwood, rebounding from a slow start to lose by 25 points at the MCG. Their hard-nosed on-ballers will have their work cut out against the Saints on Sunday.
WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Sunday, June 14, 4.40pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
R1, 2014, St Kilda 10.8 (68) d Melbourne 6.15 (51) at Etihad Stadium
R13, 2013, St Kilda 16.8 (104) d Melbourne 10.9 (69) at the MCG
R20, 2012, St Kilda 16.11 (107) d Melbourne 12.10 (82) at the MCG
R5, 2012, St Kilda 12.12 (84) d Melbourne 10.6 (66) at the MCG
R9, 2011, St Kilda 16.10 (106) d Melbourne 13.8 (86) at Etihad Stadium
THE SIX POINTS
1. Melbourne has struggled to mark the ball inside 50, ranking 17th with only 8.6 a game. St Kilda is ranked No.7 with 12.4 a game thanks to Josh Bruce (3.5 a game).
2. St Kilda has dominated Melbourne over a long period, winning a club record 10 consecutive matches since 2007. The Demons average score in that time has only been 64 points a game.
3. The Saints have struggled to finish games in 2015, winning only three final quarters. Melbourne has been only marginally better, winning four last quarters.
4. Not in Melbourne’s favour is their recent history at Etihad Stadium, losing their past 20 games, including six losses by more than 50 points. The Demons haven’t beaten St Kilda at Etihad since round 22, 2002.
5. Melbourne is the worst team in 2015 for taking the ball inside 50, averaging only 41.7 a game. The Saints are ranked No.10 with 49.8 a game.
6. St Kilda star David Armitage moved backwards for the first time this season in the Official AFL Player Ratings, dropping from No.33 overall to No.39. He remains the Saints' No.1 player.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Jack Steven. After racking up 38 possessions against Hawthorn, the tag is coming. Bernie Vince has been doing an outstanding job of limiting his opponents and still winning enough ball to be an attacking threat, meaning Steven will have to break through the tag and still be accountable.
PREDICTION: St Kilda by 15 points