Saints complete Dons double - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints complete Dons double

By Chris Lines 23/07/2004 10:24:32 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda's first double win over Essendon for a decade has ensured the Saints will remain at least equal top of the AFL ladder for another week while imperilling the Bombers' September hopes.

St Kilda's 20.7 (127) to 14.8 (92) win was its second over the Bombers this year - the first time it had completed that feat since 1994 - and their 14th in a row at Telstra Dome.

The Saints were powered to victory by their power forwards Fraser Gehrig and Nick Riewoldt, who combined for 15 goals, both playing deep in the forward line.

It was Gehrig's first match back from a two-week suspension and eight goals was his best performance since early in the season, silencing a growing chorus of nay-sayers about the declining output of the 'G-Train'.

The Bombers now face a critical home match against in-form Port Adelaide next week, and their attention will now be on the dotted line between the top eight and the rest, rather than harbouring any pretence to top-four ambitions.

Essendon's chances of upsetting the Saints were as good as over before the start of the game when captain James Hird (ribs) and full-back Dustin Fletcher (teeth) were late withdrawals.

The Bombers had consistently been found wanting against class opposition this year, and after conceding the first four goals of the night, they were never in this contest.

In the absence of Fletcher, Sean Wellman and Scott Lucas, Essendon had few key defensive options, and the Saints twin towers were manned by Mark Bolton - who had an error-ridden horror night - and Dean Solomon.

After conceding the poor start, Essendon locked down the game restricting St Kilda's scoring, but having sacrificed an attacking structure the Bombers were powerless to erode the deficit.

When St Kilda burst away early in the third quarter the margin was out to 44 points and a smashing appeared on the cards.

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