Round 18 Match Preview: St Kilda vs. Western Bulldogs

By Nick Ciantar.

Round 18, Etihad Stadium.


St Kilda matched the ladder leaders last week for 3 and a half quarters although the Swans were too strong in the end. The Saints were heavily defeated in the hit outs (61-36), but had more tackles than the Swans (73-51).

The last time St Kilda played the Western Bulldogs was in round 3 and the Saints emphatically defeated the Dogs by 63 points. Tackling was St Kilda’s strong point (69-54) and keeping the Dogs to only 5 goals for an entire match was a very good result for the Saints.

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has been under the spotlight this year. He sits 5th on the goal kicking leader board with 40 goals. In St Kilda’s previous match against the Swans he was goalless, however his presence and leadership in the forward line is much needed, as it will free up Justin Koschitzke, Ben McEvoy and the small forwards will be more dangerous.


Brendon Goddard plays his 200th game.

Western Bulldogs:

The Dogs fought hard against the Blues, however they fell short by 18 points. The Dogs demolished the Blues in the hit outs (59-19) with Will Minson amassing 54 tap outs. The Blues were undermanned in this department and the Dogs will want a similar result against St Kilda’s ruck combination.

The Dogs will want to get more of the ball against the Saints. They are ranked 2nd in the league for most disposals whilst St Kilda are ranked 14th. They were strangled last time and will need to win the ball out of the midfield.

Matthew Boyd has set the standard once again, being one of the Dogs’ finest all year and has the most disposals in the league. Averaging 31.8 disposals and 13.6 contested possessions (6th overall) a game, Boyd is the main artillery in the Dogs midfield.

Key Players:

Nick Riewoldt, Ben McEvoy, Lenny Hayes, Clint Jones, Brendon Goddard.

Western Bulldogs:

Matthew Boyd, Will Minson, Liam Jones, Ryan Griffen, Daniel Cross.

Who’s Missing:


Farren Ray, Brett Peake, Jason Blake, Rhys Stanley.

Western Bulldogs:

Dylan Addison, Adam Cooney, Shaun Higgins, Dale Morris, Ryan Hargrave.

Key Match Ups:
Nick Dal Santo vs. Ryan Griffen:

Both players are prime users of the ball and this will be a fascinating match up as they will play off each other instead of being heavily tagged. Both are in career best form and this will be one of the most interesting contests on the ground.

Clint Jones vs. Matthew Boyd:

Boyd is a strong chance to win his first Brownlow and Jones is the man to stop the in-form player in the competition. Boyd is near the category of ‘tag less’, however Jones is one of the best in the business and will need to be at his best.
After falling short against Sydney, St Kilda lost their place in the 8 and now sit 10th on the ladder. The Dogs sit 15th and can be deemed to be ‘rebuilding’, even if the club does not say so. The Dogs have one of the youngest lists in the league and have lost an abundance of stars. They are 5th overall with contested possession whilst the Saints sit 14th. They also outrank the Saints in clearances (4th – 9th). A key statistic that the Saints have a clear advantage in is the goal kicking (4th – 15th).

The Saints this year have added an extra dimension to their forward line and the weary Dogs’ defence will not be able to keep up with the experienced Saints forwards. The midfield battle will be a blast from the past, as both teams fought gallantly against each other in the 2008-2010 years of dominance. The Dogs are without Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins and they are both vital to their midfield. The Saints experience and effort against the top teams will be too strong for a ‘rebuilding’ Dogs team.

Saints by 40.


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