Roos subject Saints to second defeat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roos subject Saints to second defeat

23/08/2009 07:10:25 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda are top of the ladder with little to gain until the AFL finals come but suffered another blip on Sunday, this time to lowly North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

After 19 wins to start the season, the premiership favourites and minor premiers will enter the last round nursing successive close defeats after the Kangaroos clung on to win by five points, 10.4 (64) to 8.11 (59).

St Kilda stressed the loss, which followed a two-point defeat to Essendon, was no cause for panic so close to the finals, but admitted that on Sunday's showing, some Saints were thinking ahead of themselves.

Skipper Nick Riewoldt can be forgiven for thinking about what's coming up though after again failing to deliver the goal that would have saved his side.

With 15 seconds remaining and St Kilda trailing by six points, Riewoldt marked at half-forward, turned and kicked from outside 50 metres, but the ball was touched on the line. A goal would have levelled the scores.

That kick came a week after Riewoldt missed a set shot after the final siren against the Bombers, from 45 metres.

A draw and a share of the points against North would have been a fortunate result as the Kangaroos were the better side throughout even though they entered the match in 13th spot with a young side.

Saints coach Ross Lyon tried to draw positives but hinted he and his players would be happy once the clash against bottom side Melbourne was out of the way.

"Clearly we'd like to get going a little bit, but it's a marathon," he said.

"We're in no-man's land at the minute, aren't we? I'm not a psychologist, but sometimes footy teams are funny beasts."

Midfielder Leigh Montagna said the Saints spoke during their post-match meeting about getting ahead of themselves.

"We just spoke about maybe some blokes might be looking a bit too far ahead and thinking about finals," Montagna said.

"Just things like that, that we need to get back to the basics and we didn't win the contested ball again."

Lyon said he wanted to address some sloppy ball use and inefficiency in attack. The Saints went into attack 59 times to North's 36, but Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke (three goals apiece) were the only threats.

But Lyon put North's blistering start - the Kangaroos booted the first five goals and led by 32 points before St Kilda scored - down to the law of averages, as the Saints had won 17 first quarters this season.

"We're certainly, at the Saints, not panicking," he said.

"If you want to talk about it at any measure, it's a marathon and we're 19-2, we're injury free, there was some good performances in the seconds (reserves) ... and Max (Hudghton, playing in the VFL) didn't pop his hammy, so there's a bit to like.

"I reckon we're going forward in pretty good shape."

Riewoldt refused to be interviewed, but Montagna said it was important the forward did not blame himself.

"He's OK, we spoke about after last week for him not to drop his head," Montagna said.

"All the greats are not going to be able to get it right every time and he responded today, he was terrific, he was probably our best player."

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