Saints Seek Redemption Against Suns

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Stephen Harman
Jack Steven has been in top form the past month. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Stephen Harman
Last Four Matches

Round 1, 2013 – Gold Coast 90 d St Kilda 77 at Metricon Stadium
Round 11, 2012 – St Kilda 144 d Gold Coast 49 at Metricon Stadium
Round 2, 2012 – St Kilda 139 d Gold Coast 47 at Etihad Stadium
Round 19, 2011 – St Kilda 74 d Gold Coast 54 at Metricon Stadium


Form

     Rd 17       Rd 18       Rd 19       Rd 20       Rd 21   
St Kilda    L  L  L  L  L
Gold Coast    W  L  L  W  L

Aside from the two teams below it on the table, the once mighty St Kilda footy club has scratched together a win over just one other outfit in the AFL this year. A 59-point loss against Sydney at the SCG last weekend was nothing to be ashamed of, but it was the Saints’ eighth in a row and all bar one have been by five goals or more.

Gold Coast almost snatched win number eight this season against Port Adelaide in round 21, but a weary Suns side let slip a nine-point lead at the last change to fall by 17 points . They came close on the road against West Coast two weeks earlier, losing by the same margin after a tight battle, and they have been very competitive despite Gary Ablett Jnr having three quiet games in a row (for his lofty standards, anyway).

The Saints have received a massive boost with veteran midfielder Lenny Hayes coming back in to the team. Vastly improved defender Dylan Roberton has been rested from the game. Suns defender Seb Tape will miss the game due to a concussion sustained against Port Adelaide last week, while David Swallow (knee) is also out.


Key Men

(Saints) Jack Steven – Playing in a badly beaten team of late, Jack Steven has managed to hold his head high. Against all three of the AFL’s benchmark teams over the last month – Sydney,Geelong and Hawthorn – he has picked up 33 or more disposals and last week against the Swans he added two goals. He is good at stoppages and has the pace to wreak havoc in the future when his young teammates gain some more experience.

(Suns) Jaeger O’Meara – First-year star and lock for the Rising Star Award, Jaeger O’Meara , has been incredibly consistent throughout his initial campaign in the AFL. He admitted to fatigue a couple of weeks back before the trip home to Perth to take on the Eagles, but coach Guy McKenna has pushed him through. In general the Saints midfield lacks pace so the teenage speedster is one player who should be able to cause them problems on the fast track at Etihad.


Prediction

It’s clutching at straws, but the Saints probably have played their best footy this season at Etihad Stadium. They recorded a nine-point win over Carlton in round 9, a four-point loss to the Eagles in round 11 and almost pulled off a miraculous comeback victory over Port Adelaide before falling short by five . Scott Watters’ side has had a tough month with games against the top three, and that period includes interstate trips against Brisbane and Sydney. The Suns, too, have been on the road a lot of late with excursions to Patersons Stadium and AAMI Stadium. Another hike to Melbourne might be a step too far for a young side which couldn’t run out the game against Port last week when it was in with a winning chance. Providing their big guns show up, St Kilda might just reverse the 13-point round one loss to the Suns at Metricon Stadium. St Kilda by 12 points .

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