St Kilda lifts AFL finals hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

St Kilda lifts AFL finals hopes

By Guy Hand 16/07/2005 07:16:13 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda immeasurably boosted its AFL finals hopes, and left Richmond's teetering, with a 69-point thumping of the Tigers at the MCG on Saturday.

The Saints overcame a spirited first quarter from the Tigers to take control of the midfield and the match in the second and third terms, running out 16.10 (106) to 5.7 (37) winners.

Stand-in skipper Justin Koschitzke booted five goals for the Saints, while midfielders Lenny Hayes and Nick Dal Santo had days out with 26 and 25 possessions respectively.

Richmond's pain at failing once more in a critical match was deepened with the loss of its second key defender in as many weeks - Darren Gaspar injuring his hamstring in the final quarter with scans on Sunday to decide his fate.

Already without Andrew Kellaway, missing with a broken jaw for at least six weeks, the Tigers head into a critical match against Port Adelaide next weekend likely to be without their two best defenders.

In contrast, St Kilda - plagued by injuries all season - is peaking at the right time and has plenty to look forward to in the six weeks leading into the finals.

Coach Grant Thomas expects injured stars Nick Riewoldt, Robert Harvey, Aaron Hamill and Luke Penny will likely be back in action within the next fortnight.

"If our luck can just change in that area (injuries), and we can keep our best players on the park and keep building momentum, it's at the right time of the year," Thomas said.

"We've had injuries for a long time unfortunately.

"But you've just got to adapt and do the best you can and to the players' credit, the players who are coming into the side and playing in unfamiliar roles are giving valuable contributions."

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