St Kilda break losing streak in scrappy win over Kangaroos

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    The game was ugly, the crowd was low and the result was beautiful for St Kilda as they posted a vital 17-point AFL win over North Melbourne.

    Breaking a run of three-straight losses, the Saints dominated much of the Etihad Stadium clash for the 12.17 (89) to 10.12 (72) win.

    Just 26,107 fans attended the Friday night fizzer, which was blighted by skill errors.

    But that will not bother the Saints, who answered coach Alan Richardson’s call during the week to play with more daring.

    Saints star Nick Riewoldt will come under scrutiny for a second-term incident where he threw a punch at Scott Thompson.

    After the North defender elbowed him to the midriff, Riewoldt wheeled around and threw a roundhouse at Thompson’s back.

    The margin flattered the Kangaroos, who had honoured retired legend Brent Harvey with a pre-game lap of the ground.

    They kicked the last four goals of the game after the Saints led by 42 points early in the last quarter.

    Ending a dirty night for North, forward Jarrad Waite had to be helped from the ground when he was crunched in the last couple of minutes.

    Midfielder Seb Ross starred with 32 disposals and Jarryn Geary played an outstanding captain’s game across half-back.

    Riewoldt did a power of work with his hard running but let himself down with poor kicking for goal.

    St Kilda’s ordinary form had prompted plenty of scrutiny and commentator Dermott Brereton took aim earlier in the week at Leigh Montagna.

    The veteran defender responded with a strong game that featured 28 disposals.

    North recalled Declan Mountford for his second senior game and he stuck to star Saints midfielder Jack Steven like glue.

    But late in the second term, Steven went forward and he snapped two crucial goals.

    That blew the margin out to 38 points, with North only kicking 0.1 in the second quarter and two goals for the first half.

    The margin would have been worse but for the video review, which cruelled Jack Billings.

    The Saints forward kicked two goals and thought he had two more in the first half but they were ruled to be touched after North defenders appealed to the umpires.

    North lost Jamie Macmillan before the bounce with hamstring soreness and his replacement Jed Anderson had a quiet night.

    There was some speculation about whether Saints defender key Jake Carlisle might also be a late withdrawal, but he was solid particularly in the third term.

    © AAP 2017