Melbourne has not won three consecutive games since rounds 17-19, 2010. It has a real chance to end that streak this Saturday against the Saints, who have lost their past two matches. St Kilda had "too many passengers" in the words of coach Alan Richardson against the Giants and will be eager to make a statement against the Demons. St Kilda will be keenly aware of disrupting the connection between ruckman Max Gawn and in-form midfielder Jack Viney. That's why Tom Hickey's role in the ruck will be so crucial, while David Armitage and Jack Steven will be relied upon to do the heavy lifting.
Tom Hickey's ruck battle with Max Gawn will be critical. Picture: AFL Media
WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday, April 30, 1.45pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R23, 2015, St Kilda 12.11 (83) d Melbourne 6.10 (46) at the MCG
R11, 2015, St Kilda 12.13 (85) d Melbourne 12.13 (85) at Etihad Stadium
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
THE SIX POINTS
1.St Kilda has racked up plenty of disposals in 2016, ranking third in the AFL with an average of 402 per game. The Demons are seventh (378.6 per game).
2. St Kilda has dominated Melbourne over a long period, winning a club-record 12 consecutive contests since 2007. A two-point loss in 2015 is the closest the Demons have been in that time.
3. Melbourne continues to improve its scoring in 2016. After five games its average points per game is 101 compared to only 71 in 2015.4.
4. If the Demons beat the Saints, it will be the first time since 2005 the club will have started the season with four wins and two losses.
5. Melbourne and St Kilda have played nine times at Etihad Stadium, with six wins to the Saints. The Demons won their last Etihad game at the end of 2015, defeating the Giants, after losing their previous 22 games at the venue.
6. Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn is on the charge in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, moving to 182nd overall in the rankings. The big man started the season at 295th in the competition.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …
Nullifying Gawn is easier said than done, but if Hickey can keep the big man in check – Gawn leads the AFL for hit-outs per game (40.8) – the Saints have a chance to continue their long-standing winning streak over the Demons.
PREDICTION: Melbourne by 18 points