Round 20 Match Review – North Melbourne vs St Kilda

North Melbourne    3.3   4.5   8.7     9.9(63)

St Kilda                        2.2   9.4  13.7  17.13 (115)

On the back of brilliant second and fourth quarter performances St Kilda recorded a comfortable 52 point victory over North Melbourne in the Sunday twilight match at Etihad Stadium. The Saints got off to a slow start, making many unforced errors in the first quarter and coach Ross Lyon was not pleased with St Kilda’s third quarter performance which allowed North Melbourne to remain at a nagging distance at three quarter time.

St Kilda dominated the inside 50s 53 to 35 against the Kangaroos and have built up momentum over the past two weeks with sucessive impressive performances. Nick Riewoldt and Jason Gram who looked underdone when they returned to the St Kilda side in Round 15 against Brisbane, were both dominant against North Melbourne and further demonstrated how important they are to the performance and structure of the St Kilda team.

In recent weeks Riewoldt’s form had been improving and he had been on the cusp of tearing a game apart. For the second time against North Melbourne this season key-forward Riewoldt was goalless in the first term and kicked seven goals after quarter time to clearly be the best player on the ground.

Riewoldt won a team high nine contested possessions and was back to the form he showed in the opening two rounds of the 2010 season before he injured his hamstring.  Riewoldt had 15 kicks, four handballs, took 10 marks and had one goal assist.  Riewoldt’s repeat efforts and marking was superb, either using his great aerobic capacity to break away from his opponent to mark uncontested or to read the play brilliantly and utilise his magnificant timing to take three contested marks.

In the opening term St Kilda’s skills let them down and they trailed by 7 points at quarter time. Jason Gram played a critical role in St Kilda taking control of the game in the second quarter, with his hard running through the midfield resulting in 14 possessions.  The Saints were at their clinical best in the second quarter operating at a disposal efficiency of 84% and having 133 possessions to the Kangaroos 72, the Saints took full advantage of their dominance to kick seven goals to one in the second term.

The games best passage of play occurred in the second quarter, the ball started deep in St Kilda’s defense, a chain of handballs ended with Goddard passing to Hayes, looking certain to be tackled Hayes unleashed an exhilarating sidestep to evade Cruze Garlett and kick to Riewoldt on the lead. Riewoldt in turn kicked the ball inside 50 to Brett Peake who kicked the goal on the run from 30 metres out to cap off a sublime passage of play.

Gram continued to be one of St Kilda’s best players in the second half to finish the match with 17 kicks, 17 handballs, eight marks, a goal assist and seven contested possessions. Gram received two votes in the True Sainters Player of the Year Award for the second time in three matches.  

Goddard had 17 kicks and 20 handballs, his 11th straight game with more than 26 possessions. Goddard provided considerable drive from defense having seven inside 50s, four bounces, taking eight marks and having a goal assist.

St Kilda are 3rd on the ladder with 14 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses, 124.5%

True Sainters Round 20 votes                         True Sainters overall vote leaders

3Nick Riewoldt                                               22 Lenny Hayes                                     

2 Jason Gram                                                         19 Brendon Goddard                                   

1 Brendon Goddard                                             14 Leigh Montagna                            

                                                                                     12 Sam Gilbert                    

                                                                                      9 Nick Dal Santo  

                                                                                     9 Nick Riewoldt

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sorry for the delay in posting the Round 20 Match Review which was caused by me being ill. The much awaited feature article on Nick Riewoldt is in progress and will be posted on the True Sainters WordPress within the next week.

The Round 21 Match Review of St Kilda vs Richmond will be posted on the WordPress within 24 hours of the close of Round 21 voting on the True Sainters Forum at 5.00pm Tuesday.

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