ST KILDA: 3.3 8.6 10.12 15.20 (110) MELBOURNE: 6.2 6.5 9.7 11.8 (74)
By MATTHEW BALMER
St Kilda extended its unbeaten streak over Melbourne to fourteen games at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, recovering from a slow start to defeat the Demons by 36 points.
The result ensured Melbourne’s hoodoo at Etihad Stadium continues, the side now having lost 24 out of the past 25 matches at the venue, while St Kilda continue their streak of 14-in-a-row against Melbourne (a club record), their last loss against the Dees coming in the 2006 elimination final.
Melbourne led at quarter time after kicking six goals, with 2014 No.2 draft pick Christian Petracca bagging a pair, however the ‘Red and the Blue’ could only muster five more over the rest of the contest.
St Kilda broke the game open midway through the second quarter, booting six goals in a row to secure them a 29-point lead midway through the third term.
However, Melbourne brought the lead back to within five points in the final term, but St Kilda snared five of the last six goals for the match to storm home victorious.
The result could have been far worse for the Demons if not for an inaccurate final quarter from the Saints, where they kicked 5.8.
St Kilda’s 2016 leading goalscorer Tim Membrey continued his strong season as the most prolific attacker in front of the posts to lead St Kilda’s goals tally with four.
St Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey had one of his best games of his 57 game career with a career high 21 disposals as well as 27 hitouts.
Post-match, Melbourne coach Paul Roos acknowledged that his side still had plenty to learn.
“We’ll play finals when we’re good enough to play finals,” Roos said.
“We’ve got to keep educating them, we just didn’t have enough really good individual efforts.”
Melbourne’s 2014 draftees Christian Petracca (19 disposals, two goals), Angus Brayshaw (23 disposals) and Oscar McDonald (11 disposals, six marks) showed some positive signs for the future. Jayden Hunt also showed dash across half back and has been one of the better individual performers for the Demons in 2016.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was content with the win, aware that his side can show even more potential in 2016.
“I liked the way we played,” Richardson said.
“We want to focus on being much more consistent with our performances… On the whole, the boys were pretty strong.”
The win sees St Kilda leapfrog the Demons on the ladder, sitting in 10th place with the Demons a game behind in 11th.
St Kilda will face fellow Etihad Stadium tenants the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, while Melbourne will have a big test against top eight team West Coast in Perth on Saturday.
THE WRAP-UP GOALS ST KILDA: Membrey 4, Weller 3, Geary 2, Bruce 2, Montagna, Riewoldt, Roberton, Dunstan MELBOURNE: Petracca 2, Garlett 2, Gawn 2, Watts, Vandenberg, Hogan, Viney, Kennedy BEST ST KILDA: Hickey, Membrey, Weller, Steven, Montagna, Ross, Newnes MELBOURNE: Viney, Vince, T.McDonald, Harmes, Jetta, Petracca, Brayshaw INJURIES ST KILDA: None MELBOURNE: Sam Frost (illness) replaced in selected side by Josh Wagner REPORTS: Jesse Hogan (Melbourne) for striking Jarryn Geary in the fourth quarter UMPIRES: Jordan Bannister, Andrew Stephens, Matthew Nicholls OFFICIAL CROWD: 25,322 at Etihad Stadium