Wooden-spoon Favourites Clash

Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au
Despite having beaten the Demons nine straight, St Kilda are outsiders in Round 1. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au

ST KILDA v MELBOURNE

Etihad Stadium

Saturday March 22, 6.40pm (AEST)

Why watch?
Trivia question. When was the last time a side started favourite coming off nine successive AFL losses? Melbourne does, in the battle of two predicted strugglers. Melbourne begins the Paul Roos era, and Roos begins a huge challenge to lift the downtrodden Dees. The Saints are being roundly tipped for the wooden spoon, and have firmed after GWS stunned Sydney.

Match notes
- Ex-Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos makes his club coaching debut for Melbourne
- St Kilda's new coach Alan Richardson makes his debut, replacing sacked Scott Watters
- Melbourne forward Mitch Clark has taken indefinite leave from the club for personal health reasons
- Saints duo Lenny Hayes and Leigh Montagna are both out suspended

Say what?
"Football comes last in such situations. Mitch is also overcoming a calf injury, and will continue to rehab and condition his physical injury during this period," Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney on Mitch Clark's indefinite leave from the club.

Key injuries
Sam Fisher - St K - back
Sam Gilbert - St K - foot
Jack Steven - St K - foot
Chris Dawes - Melb - calf
Colin Garland - Melb - ankle


Last 5 games (includes 2013 season)

St Kilda
L 31 Brisbane
L 46 Hawthorn
L 59 Sydney
W 46 Gold Coast
W 71 Fremantle

Melbourne
L 37 GWS
L 13 Gold Coast
L 95 Fremantle
L 68 Adelaide
L 20 Western Bulldogs

Last 5 between clubs
StK-StK-StK-StK-StK

Fantasy factoid
St Kilda forward Nick Riewoldt produced his best goal output since 2009 with his 50 in 2013, and played all but one game last season.

Cold hard fact

St Kilda has won its past nine matches against the Demons.

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