Round 20 Match Preview: St Kilda vs. Melbourne

By Nick Ciantar.

Round 20

Saturday 1:45pm, MCG.

St.Kilda:

St Kilda had a heartbreaking defeat against Collingwood last round. The Saints now need to win all of their remaining games to make the finals and will be looking at bringing in the same form as last week. They matched it with the Pies, however they lost the clearances (-10) and contested possession (-22) statistics convincingly.

Sam Dunell has been the substitute in all of his four games this season and is rapidly improving his football skills. His role has been on the wing which has changed from his normal position as a forward in the VFL. With Sandringham, he has played 12 games and kicked 13 goals, including a 5 goal haul in round 2 against North Ballarat. Dunell has shown that he is capable of playing in a variety of positions and a full game of footy awaits.

Melbourne:

Melbourne easily defeated bottom of the ladder Gold Coast last round by 42 points. Brad Green had one of his best games of the year finishing with 5 goals. In what has been a tumultuous year for him and the club, he announced during the week his end of season retirement. The Dees last week lost the clearances (-12) and contested possession (-18) and will be looking at a much different result this week. Melbourne has been severely hampered by injuries this year and will go into the game with 10 senior players out.

Promising youngster Sam Blease has been in solid form the last few rounds. Blease has played 12 games this season, including the last 11 games. Known for his accurate left boot, Blease has been eased into senior action after a broken leg in 2009. The quick half back will be looking at a solid game against seasoned bodies after his 15 disposals and 2 goals against Gold Coast.

Milestone:

Jack Grimes – 50 games.

Key Players:
St.Kilda:

Brendon Goddard, Ben McEvoy, Ahmed Saad, Justin Koschitzke, Jason Gram.

Melbourne:

Sam Blease, Jake Spencer, Nathan Jones, James Sellar, Colin Garland.

Who’s Missing:

St.Kilda:

Rhys Stanley, Arryn Siposs, Jason Blake, Adam Schneider.

Melbourne:

Stefan Martin, Jack Watts, Ricky Petterd, Clint Bartram, Mitch Clark, Aaron Davey, Mark Jamar, Liam Jurrah, Cale Morton, James Frawley.

Key Match Ups:
Brendon Goddard vs. Jordie McKenzie:

Earlier this year in round five, McKenzie kept Goddard to 15 disposals and well and truly got under Goddard’s skin. He niggled at ‘BJ’ and kept by his side for the entire match. Mark Neeld will match them up again, especially seeing that Goddard has recently been in impressive form.

Justin Koschitzke vs. James Sellar:

Koschitzke missed the last game against Melbourne and his recent form has been up and down. Sellar a former ruckmen, will get the job on Koschitzke and will need to play at his best as ‘Kosi’ has showed signs of a possible best on ground game.

Prediction:
The Saints’ statistically outnumber the Dees in most of the areas expect for hit outs (Dees 8th overall, Saints 17th) and rebound 50’s (Dees 3rd, Saints 13th). However the Dees will go into this match without their recognized ruck of Mark Jamar. The Dees have been able to rebound out of 50, however their movement of the ball has broken down across the midfield and into their forward line. Their recognized forward Mitch Clark (29 goals out of Melbourne’s 185 this year) is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury and it has taken its toll.

In round five, the Saints were still adjusting to Scott Watters’ new game style and unconvincingly defeated a fighting Dees’ team by 18 points. A lot has changed since then and St Kilda has shown that they are rapidly learning from Watters new game style. The Saints have the three tall forwards this week and two goal sneaking forwards in Ahmed Saad and Stephen Milne. The talent of the Saints forwards will be too strong for the Dees defence and the Dees will have to work out another solution to pass the Saints forward pressure.

Saints by 40.

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