Saints captain Nick Riewoldt continues to battle through injury. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au
St Kilda v Gold Coast
Sunday May 18 – 4:40 PM (AEST)
St Kilda: LWLLL
Gold Coast: WLWWW
The Suns look set to build on their inspiring early season form when they take on St Kilda in Round 9 of the AFL at Etihad Stadium.
The Suns have been somewhat of a surprise packet this season and their performances justify fully a high spot on the ladder. Placed sixth after eight rounds, the Suns travel to Melbourne full of confidence and with fresh legs following a bye. Guy McKenna’s side will be further boosted ahead of the clash with the news ruckman Zac Smith will make his long-awaited AFL return on Sunday. The 24-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against the Western Bulldogs 12 months ago and it will be 1 year to the day since his season ending injury. He will slot into the side for fellow injured ruckman Tom Nicholls, who is suffering from a knee problem. There was talk of Nathan Bock also returning from injury, but his name is missing from the team list.
St Kilda must come out firing if they are any chance in this match, but with no players returning from injury and their stars battling through nigglies themselves, it’s hard to see a Saints victory. Jack Steven has been named in the side, but he has looked far from his best since his return from a fractured foot. Nick Riewoldt has been struggling with injuries of his own, but continues to be the Saint’s best performer week in, week out. Sam Dunell gets a call up, after he impressed in Sandringham’s loss in the VFL.
The Saints made a promising start to the season, but four losses from their past five matches have seen them drop to 14th. Having conceded a whopping 276 points in their past two outings, it’s impossible to see how St Kilda could muster an upset. Expect the Suns to win, and win well, prolonging the Saint’s woes.