Saints show spark before tough AFL run - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints show spark before tough AFL run

Sam Lienert 21/05/2011 07:28:39 PM Comments (0)

Good signs from St Kilda stars Nick Riewoldt and Brendon Goddard and their team's return to the style their coach wants have encouraged the Saints ahead of a horror AFL stretch.

St Kilda broke a three-match losing streak with a 16.10 (106) to 13.8 (86) win over a disappointing Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It increased the pressure on Melbourne coach Dean Bailey, with his side's thumping 96-point win over Adelaide in round seven shining like a beacon among poor defeats against West Coast, North Melbourne and the Saints in their past four games.

Remarkably, the Demons are yet to win at Etihad in Bailey's tenure.

The Saints are still well off both their best football and the top eight, and face matches against Fremantle in Perth, Collingwood, the Western Bulldogs and Geelong over the next month.

But they can take some heart from Saturday's game.

While neither captain Riewoldt nor star utility Goddard were back to their brilliant best, both made significant contributions.

Riewoldt kicked three goals without a miss and gathered 31 touches, while Goddard - playing mostly at half back - picked up 37 disposals.

Midfielder Leigh Montagna was a driving force, with 38 possessions and two goals.

While the Saints led almost all day, coach Ross Lyon was most heartened by their final quarter.

"We really competed in a man-on-man sense, (applied) good forward 50 pressure and because we did that, we were able to press up more," Lyon said.

"That's the modern game and that's the first quarter in a long time I thought we were able to deliver on the method that is in keeping with what's required to be successful."

Lyon said Goddard had improved on previous form this season, producing more of a "typical Brendon Goddard game".

He said Riewoldt benefited from better midfield supply.

Bailey said the Demons gave up too many cheap goals, through turnovers in defence or allowing the Saints to carry the ball the length of the ground too easily.

He acknowledged that while their intensity was better than in last weekend's fade-out loss to the Kangaroos, it was well off what they showed against the Crows.

"Even though we turned the ball over, at least we were trying to make the game, we were trying to get on with creating some play," he said.

"I thought that was a better sign than what we showed last week."

Bailey was particularly impressed by first-game midfielder Michael Evans and fellow youngsters Jordan Gysberts and Jordie McKenzie.

But he said the normally-classy Aaron Davey had to find form after a horror game, which included conceding one goal with a poor attempt to mark in defence and another by giving away a 50m penalty.

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