Saints hang on to beat North - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints hang on to beat North

By Roger Vaughan 03/07/2011 09:34:28 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda are back in the hunt for the AFL top eight, using all their formidable defensive pressure to hold off North Melbourne on Sunday by eight points.

While St Kilda failed to score in the final term, the 12.7 (79) to 10.10 (70) win elevated them to 12th and put them only one win plus percentage behind eighth-placed Essendon with nine games left.

But Saints captain Nick Riewoldt, who returned to form with three second-term goals, will come under video scrutiny for an incident behind the play with opponent Lachie Hansen during the second quarter.

Hansen was seen complaining to nearby umpires about Riewoldt after they jostled several times.

After more goalkicking yips in the first term, Riewoldt kicked the first two of a five-goal burst before half time that set up the win.

The Saints led by as much as 26 points after two goals early in the third term but did not kick another goal from 13 minutes into the second half.

Coach Ross Lyon said a combination of fatigue after the bye, turnovers and North's desperation were to blame for the scoring drought in the last term.

"You wouldn't say we put the cue in the rack and didn't go forward," Lyon said.

"We had shots to take and we just passed them off and butchered them.

"There's no doubt of a fatigue off the bye and credit to North Melbourne, they're an emerging team.

"I thought it was a really good performance by us that we should take something out of - how much is yet to be determined."

Lyon also noted they had six turnovers in their defensive 50m during the last term - as many as they would normally have for a game.

After their well-documented woes at the start of this year and inconsistency early in the season, the Saints have now won four of the last six matches.

"All football clubs need hope ... once finals are mathematically out of the equation, then it becomes trying to prove you're part of the solution and not the problem," Lyon said.

"The reality is if we can win and keep winning, we're a chance, as are the Western Bulldogs and a couple of other teams.

"We spoke about (that) there's an opportunity to improve and also an opportunity that you should believe, if you're good enough - and that's yet to be proved over another nine games."

Midfielder Nick Dal Santo starred with 31 disposals and Brendon Goddard and Sam Fisher were solid across half-back, while North ruckman Todd Goldstein was clearly his team's best.

The Kangaroos would have gone into the top eight had they won and they continue to struggle against St Kilda, but coach Brad Scott said his team was also headed in the right direction.

"There were more positives to come out of today than negatives, but we sit here bitterly disappointed because we didn't get the result," he said.

"It's probably a pretty accurate reflection on where we're at, we're improving, we've improved in a lot of areas, but we're not quite there yet."

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