Blues Battle Bogey Team

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Carlton needs more out of Mark Murphy after his return from injury last week. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last 5 Meetings

Round 7, 2013 – St Kilda 77 d Carlton 68 at Etihad Stadium
Round 23, 2012 – St Kilda 106 d Carlton 91 at Etihad Stadium
Round 7, 2012 – St Kilda 122 d Carlton 98 at Etihad Stadium
Round 24, 2011 - St Kilda 86 d Carlton 66 at MCG
Round 7, 2011 – St Kilda 81 d Carlton 84 at Etihad Stadium


Form

  Rd 11    Rd 12    Rd 13    Rd 14    Rd 15 
Carlton

L

L

-

L

L

St Kilda

L

-

W

L

L


For most of the first quarter against Collingwood, Carlton looked like world beaters. Unfortunately for Blues fans, they were comprehensively smashed the rest of the game. The Magpies proved to the rest of the competition that Mick Malthouse’s team just isn’t good enough for finals footy after four losses on the trot to teams that will be amongst the final eight.

The Saints are no better; in fact, they’re worse. Six losses in their last seven starts doesn’t paint a pretty picture for coach Scott Watters, but it has been long accepted this club is in a rebuilding phase. There were good signs in the 30-point loss to Fremantle in Perth last weekend, especially without marquee man Nick Riewoldt.

The champion Saints forward comes back in to the team this week after missing the trip to Perth with general soreness. With rape charges hanging over his head, goalsneak Stephen Milne is also back in St Kilda’s line-up in place of Ahmed Saad. Key forward Jarrad Waite is out, again, due to injury. This time it’s a knee problem sustained in the loss to the ‘Pies. Sam Rowe comes in for Levi Casboult in a direct swap while veteran playmaker Heath Scotland is back in the 22.


Key Men

(Blues) Kade Simpson – Like most of his teammates, Kade Simpson had an ordinary night against the ‘Pies, but the previous month he was consistently amongst the Blues’ best. Against top quality teams he averaged 24 touches per game and six marks. It’s in stark contrast to last season where there was a big difference between his good and bad games, but it hasn’t been enough to get his team over the line in recent weeks.

(Saints) Jack Steven – There hasn’t been too much to smile about at Moorabbin this season, but Jack Steven’s progress has been one pleasing aspect. He has been a massive factor in St Kilda’s wins; he averages 33 disposals per game in those three victories, compared to 23 possessions per match the rest of the year. He was outstanding in the round seven win over Carlton tallying 39 touches, seven tackles and six marks as the most influential player on the ground.


Prediction

When these teams met in round seven, the injury-ravaged Blues had a three-game winning streak snapped by St Kilda. Since then the Saints have beaten just one team – Melbourne – while Carlton have beaten better opposition in the form of Port Adelaide, Brisbane and GWS. It’s hard to ignore history, though; St Kilda has won 16 of the past 18 matches against Carlton, and the last four in a row. The Saints have also won 12 of the 16 matches the teams have played at Etihad Stadium. It was a nine-point margin in the first encounter this year, so don’t expect much between the teams on this occasion, but surely Carlton can’t lose to a team that is clearly amongst the also-rans this year. Carlton by 14 points .

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