Saints score big win over Fremantle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints score big win over Fremantle

Roger Vaughan 05/08/2011 11:52:40 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda have consolidated their top-eight berth at Fremantle's expense, winning a superb AFL clash by 41 points at Etihad Stadium.

The Saints blew the margin out with six goals to two behinds in the final term and won 16.17 (113) to 10.12 (72) for their sixth-straight win.

Stephen Milne kicked four goals for the Saints, equalling the Stadium record, and utility Sam Fisher was best afield.

Milne now has kicked 299 goals at the venue, equalling the mark held by Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd.

The undermanned Dockers were brave through the middle of the game and heaped pressure on St Kilda.

But they could drop out of the top eight by the end of the weekend, with Essendon and North Melbourne in striking distance.

Dockers forward Adam McPhee is certain to be suspended after he elbowed Saints defender Sam Gilbert early in the second term.

The ugly incident sparked a melee and left McPhee with a ripped jumper.

The Dockers have now lost their past eight games against the Saints and have not won in Melbourne since round 13 last season.

This was a massive game for the two teams, with St Kilda seventh and Fremantle half a game behind in eighth a month out from the finals.

St Kilda threatened to break clear with the first two goals of the third term, extending their lead to 15 points, but the Dockers hit back immediately with three goals and led by five points.

Then Milne marked and kicked his fourth goal for the ninth lead change of the match as the Saints went into the last change with a three-point advantage.

The Saints withstood a fierce Fremantle revival in the second term, which featured six lead changes, for a four-point lead at the main break.

McPhee struck Gilbert in the jaw seven minutes into the second term.

The incident seemed to help spark Fremantle, who had looked in big trouble during the first term.

Only inaccurate goalkicking stopped St Kilda from having a bigger lead than 17 points at the first break.

But the Dockers kicked the first goal of the second quarter and then McPhee collected Gilbert.

Fremantle's pressure around the ball went up noticeably in the second quarter and they kicked six goals to four.

An accurate snap from McPhee at 23 minutes in the second quarter gave Fremantle a 10-point lead, but in-form St Kilda midfielder Nick Dal Santo responded four minutes later with his own impressive kick under pressure.

Justin Koschitzke was given a 50m penalty after a crude spoiling attempt from Paul Duffield and he goalled at 30 minutes to give the Saints the momentum at the main break.

Chris Mayne was superb for Fremantle, playing mainly as a defensive forward on Brendon Goddard and doing everything he could to unsettle his star opponent.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon was particularly impressed with his players' ability to overcome Fremantle's tactics with only minimal input from the coaching staff.

"They got organised and found the key to what needed to be done on the field themselves," he said.

St Kilda have a tough run to the finals, playing top side Collingwood next weekend, followed by Sydney away, North Melbourne and then Carlton in round 24.

"We keep ourselves alive in the competition and probably our enthusiasm and belief get fuelled a little bit," Lyon said.

"But clearly we're running into a top-flight footy team next week.

"If we get there (finals), we will have earned the right ... I just know how far away that is and how unrealistic it is to even think about it.

"There are some teams who are really dog-hungry and our hunger is going to be questioned each and every week, each and every minute, each and every quarter."

Dockers coach Mark Harvey said his team was terrific up to three-quarter time and said players such as Mayne and Tendai Mzungu would have learnt a lot from the match.

"It wasn't until the last quarter that fundamentally there was too much space forward of the stoppage, blokes were caught in transition," he said.

He said the Dockers' destiny was still in their own hands.

"We're fully aware of the situation, we (were) fully aware of the big stage, Friday night in Melbourne, and I thought we acquitted ourselves quite well," he said.

"The (final) margin was flattering, but it is what it is, 40-odd points ... probably the first three quarters get dismissed.

"The reality is, we're lacking in some class - that's the reality, I can't question the effort of 95 per cent of the guys.

"I'd like to think, if we have four weeks to go, that the team can still rally like we have through different stages of the year."

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