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The Western Bulldogs secured their place inside the top eight after defeating St Kilda by 40 points at Etihad Stadium.
Western Bulldogs 13.12.90
St Kilda Saints 7.8.50
Indigenous round continues as the Western Bulldogs host the St Kilda Saints at Etihad Stadium in what is shaping up to be one of the matches of the round with both sides vying for spots in the top eight. Join The Roar from 1:45pm (AEST) for live scores and commentary.
Point-six of a percent is what separates the eighth-place premiers and the Saints who sit in ninth after succumbing to a Sydney onslaught last weekend.
This weekend’s round is arguably the most significant to date with all four teams currently sitting at five wins and four losses playing each other.
The Bulldogs and St Kilda are two of these teams and will face off in a blockbuster ‘eight-point’ clash before Richmond and Essendon square off at the MCG.
With the competition being so even every Premiership point acquired is crucial, with losses proving to be all the more costly this season.
A win for either side will see them in the top eight at the end of the round, leaving a four-point gap between themselves and the teams outside the eight.
Neither side have really showcased what they’re capable of so far, however the victors will be provided with some much-needed breathing space on the ladder.
The match’s significance has been amplified due to both sides conceded losses last weekend. After clawing their way back into the match last week against Geelong, the Bulldogs were ultimately outclassed in the last quarter conceding seven goals to their two, going down by 23 points.
The reigning premiers could be staring down the barrel of a third straight loss should they not be victorious this afternoon.
Meanwhile it was a week to forget for the Saints who started as favourites against the Swans at home but failed to jump into the top eight as the visitors romped to a 50-point win.
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The last time these two sides met was late last season where the Saints upsetted the Bulldogs by 15 points.
Jack Steven was the best on ground that day with 39 disposals whilst Nick Riewoldt led by the front bagging four goals.
Tackling has forever been known as an art in footy and it looks as though the Bulldogs have certainly mastered it. After being the second best tackling side last season, the Bulldogs have climbed to the top of the pack after nine rounds averaging 78.2 tackles per match.
Luke Beveridge has swung the axe this week following last week’s loss, making three unforced changes. Travis Cloke, Jack Redpath and Lukas Webb have all been omitted and replaced by Jake Stringer, Shane Biggs and Tim English who will make his debut.
The Saints meanwhile welcome back Shane Savage and Darren Minchington who will replace an injured Nick Riewoldt and Luke Dunstan.
With the stakes being what they are St Kilda will be looking towards young key forward Paddy McCartin to break the glass ceiling.
The 20-year-old has kicked three goals from the three matches that he has played this season and will be determined for a big performance against the reigning Premiers.
After only taking six marks inside fifty against the Swans, St Kilda will be looking towards their key forwards to rectify that figure.
This ‘eight-point’ contest is ultimately too close to call with both sides looking to release themselves from the shackles and showcase what they’re capable of.
Bulldogs 12 points.