Wooden Spoon Contenders Clash

Mark Riewoldt - St Kilda Saints
It may be time to bring in a new forward to relieve the pressure on Riewoldt. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au

AFL St Kilda Saints Logo

St Kilda v Richmond


Etihad Stadium

Saturday June 28 – 2:10 PM (AEST)

Form:

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AFL Richmond Tigers Logo


Two of the competition’s strugglers clash on Saturday afternoon, when the Saints  host the Tigers  at Etihad Stadium.

Heading into this clash off the back of eight straight losses, it’s hard to make a case for a St Kilda win. If you’re a Saints fan, your patience will be wearing thin, and a big loss to fellow strugglers Richmond this weekend could lift the hat off a kettle that has been boiling for some time now. Last week’s 33 point loss to the Eagles at home was another uninspiring performance, something all too familiar this year. There is some good news for the Saints this week as they regain the experience of Leigh Montagna in midfield, who was a late withdrawal in his side’s match against West Coast. Teams are capitalising on the Saints’ one man show by pouring the pressure on Nick Riewoldt, so Alan Richardson may need to introduce some fresh faces in the forward line. Rhys Stanley would be the obvious selection if Richardson was to go down that path, with the youngster impressing in the VFL.

Richmond’s season just keeps getting worse and worse, and their form is only slightly better than the Saints. The Tigers have lost seven of their past eight matches and look nothing like the side that finished in fifth spot at the end of the 2013 season. They showed encouraging signs last week against the Swans, and could have won it, if they didn’t blow a 26-point lead. They did well to contain one of the most feared attacks in the AFL, and without the four goals from Lance Franklin, the result could have been a lot different. Club veteran, Dan Jackson, is pushing for a return into the squad. Jackson has been sidelined since round 11 with a hip flexor injury, and former captain Chris Newman could join him in returning, as he continues to battle a groin strain.

This is hardly the highlight fixture of the round, but desperate teams tend to play desperate football and we could be in for one hell of a dog fight. Richmond will be eager to separate themselves from the bottom of the ladder, and with the Lions to play next week, they could lift to as high as 12th, depending on results. If they lose however, it would allow the Saints to leapfrog them off the bottom of the ladder and leave just the Brisbane below them. The Tigers really should win this match, but at such short odds in the head-to-head market, it’s hard to see any value in a team that has performed so poorly this season.

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