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An ‘8-point game’ sums up this crucial match between St Kilda and North Melbourne tonight from Etihad Stadium. Who gives their finals chances a massive boost? Live scores and commentary from this game is coming up from 4:40pm AEST
Who saw what North Melbourne did last week coming? I definitely did not and it’s fair to say that there’s very few who did.
North Melbourne was quick, intense and direct – traits of the Kangaroos that we really enjoy seeing from them when it happens.
And that’s the big issue – when it happens. Unfortunately, if you’ve been a North Melbourne fan for long enough, you’d know that the Kangas have been in these situations before, where they’ve had a massive win that could easily “set up their season” only to fail miserably at the next couple of hurdles.
It’s frustrating to say the very least for the North supporters. And it’s been made very clear from fans and the media all week. The heat has been on the footy club to make sure that they repeat their efforts from last week in what is now their biggest match of the season.
Time for the players to stand up and be counted. To be able to do that, it doesn’t require 3-hours worth of work, but consistent performances week in, week out.
If they can play like they did against Adelaide last week, they will be able to win this game and win it quite well.
But we’re yet to see the consistency. It’s hard to know whether we’ll see the three-pronged forward line fire again. It’s hard to know whether the likes of Ziebell, Adams and Wells will be able to continue their red-hot form in contested ball and clearances again. It’s hard to know whether Nathan Grima will be able to get close to the good game he had last week ever again!
St Kilda on the other hand has shown some consistency throughout the first half of the season. They’ve never been blown out of the water in matches they’ve lost and shown that their midfield is still going strong with Lenny Hayes revitalising their stocks.
On the road a fortnight ago against Adelaide, they never let the game go despite trailing by 5 goals at the final change. It was a gutsy effort that has got a lot of people on side with the Saints.
The likely inclusions of Farren Ray and Ahmed Saad are certainly pluses. But whether they can slot straight in is a big question, especially Saad – Stephen Milne, Adam Schneider and Terry Milera has really given the forward line some potency at ground level.
If there is something that needs to be sorted for the Saints is the back line. Four of the five losses they’ve had, St Kilda’s given up 30 scoring shots or more. While it’s great to score plenty of goals down your end, it’s imperative to make sure that your not seeing the ball sail over the defenders head’s too often either.
The other thing going against the Kangaroos is a pretty poor record of late against the Saints. But, at Etihad Stadium, they’ve won four of their last five including those two big wins throughout this year against Geelong and Adelaide.
So who comes out of this game with a better run at the finals? Will the Kangas show us their real intentions? Or will the Saints continue their run of form? It’s the match of the round from Etihad Stadium as St Kilda play North Melbourne. Join us for live scores and commentary from 4:40pm AEST.