Saints march on with win over Dogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints march on with win over Dogs

By Sam Lienert 25/07/2009 09:59:38 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda have continued their unbeaten march through the AFL season by shrugging aside another of their nearest rivals, notching a convincing 45-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

The third-placed Dogs entered the match rated a reasonable chance of breaking the Saints' 16-game winning streak, particularly with St Kilda missing key forward Justin Koschitzke and key defender Zac Dawson through suspension.

The Bulldogs' only losses in the previous 10 rounds had been narrow shaves against the other members of the top four - by two points to Geelong in round nine and by one point to Collingwood in round 15.

But, after the Saints overwhelmed another top four contender Adelaide by 57 points last weekend, they again showed their class on Saturday night with a 16.10 (106) to 9.7 (61) victory to stretch their winning streak to 17.

Once again, it was St Kilda's defensive hold across the ground which formed the backbone of their win.

The Bulldogs had come into the match as the competition's highest scoring side this season and with a well-earned reputation for moving the ball with skill and pace.

But their normally slick style came unstuck badly against the Saints and their lack of a truly dangerous key forward was exposed.

The Bulldogs' attack had almost no impact on the match, with much of their meagre scoreline contributed by midfielders.

While Dawson has been a revelation for the Saints this season, his absence was barely noticed, as Sam Gilbert, Max Hudghton and Sam Fisher excelled in defence to keep a tight rein on their Dogs' opponents.

The Bulldogs were competitive in the midfield for long stages of the match, but never made it count in goals.

St Kilda's defensive intensity in other areas of the ground also made a major contribution to their own score, with a large number of the Saints' goals coming as a result of the Dogs' errors and turnovers, particularly as they tried to move the ball out of defence.

While the Bulldogs failed to capitalise on their attacking moves, St Kilda forwards Nick Riewoldt and Stephen Milne, with five goals each, were constant threats.

After trailing by 29 points at halftime, the Dogs staged a minor rally with a 3.3 to 1.2 third quarter which reduced the margin to three goals at the last change.

But much of their hard work was undone by a terrible mistake, when they started the last term with an extra player on the field, resulting in a St Kilda free kick and 50m penalty, from which Riewoldt goaled.

Within five minutes Milne had added another, the lead was 30 points and the contest was over.

Ball-winners Brendon Goddard and Lenny Hayes also starred for the Saints, particularly prevalent when they built their lead in the first half.

For the Bulldogs, midfielders Matthew Boyd and Ryan Griffen were probably their side's best.

Adding to the Dogs' pain, young midfielder Shaun Higgins went off injured early in the second half.

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