St Kilda confirm place in AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

St Kilda confirm place in AFL finals

By Greg Buckle 28/08/2011 07:26:04 AM Comments (0)

St Kilda confirmed their place in next month's AFL final series with a 65-point win over North Melbourne in a fiery clash on Saturday night.

St Kilda's 19.21 (135) to 10.10 (70) victory at Etihad Stadium ended North's finals hopes and showed the gap in class and discipline between last year's grand finalists and the Kangaroos.

Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt kicked five goals in a best-on-ground performance.

Young Kangaroos midfielder Jack Ziebell appeared to have his number taken for a high bump on Riewoldt in the third quarter and North's Levi Greenwood also looked like he was reported by the umpire for a high hit on David Armitage during the second term.

Small forward Steven Milne kicked four goals to help spark the Saints while Adam Schneider and big man Justin Koschitzke contributed three each.

Leigh Adams, Kieran Harper, Drew Petrie and Aaron Edwards kicked two goals a piece for the Kangaroos who didn't give a yelp after halftime and struggled to overcome St Kilda's relentless defensive pressure.

St Kilda kicked 15 of the last 18 goals of the game. North's only goal of the second half came on the fulltime siren from Edwards.

Trailing by 20 points at the 18 minute mark of the second quarter, the Saints kicked the next five goals, including three to Riewoldt, to lead by 14 points at halftime.

The Saints scored nine consecutive goals to race ahead by 42 points before the shellshocked Kangaroos finally hit back with goals to Daniel Wells and Edwards midway through the third term.

A six goal third term to North's two gave the Saints a healthy 45 point advantage at the last change as Riewoldt shrugged off concerns from medical staff that he may have concussion.

Shaun Dempster did a fine tagging job on Roos captain Brent Harvey who had little influence on the game.

Ziebell, Andrew Swallow and Wells were among North's better players.

With their finals hopes over, North play Richmond next Sunday at Etihad Stadium, while the Saints face Carlton at the MCG next Saturday as they jockey for positions inside the eight in the final round of the home and away season.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon said his team had stood up "to a man" against the in-form Kangaroos who were desperate to keep their finals hopes alive.

Lyon praised Riewoldt in particular for his strong leadership.

"He was good, considering he has been under the spotlight (for an apparent knee problem and inconsistent form)," Lyon said.

"His team gave him good supply.

"He (showed) magnificent leadership tonight in a big game and that's why we love Nick."

Lyon said the Saints were capable of being a threat in the finals if their two power forwards Riewoldt and Koschitzke continued to fire.

"As a tandem act with Milne and Schneider at their feet, that's a really dangerous front half," Lyon said.

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott confirmed Greenwood and Ziebell had been reported.

Scott blasted the process of match-day reports.

"The whole reporting on the day of the game needs to be completely just thrown in the bin because it's a complete waste of time," Scott said.

"The match review panel deals with that, the video review deals with that and we've seen instances this year where umpires make mistakes, the match review panel throws it out, but you still get a free kick played against you."

Scott said he knew nothing of TV and radio reports that Harvey had complained to the umpires at halftime about an onfield incident.

"'Boomer' (Harvey) hasn't said anything to me," Scott said.

Poor defensive efforts late in the second quarter allowed the Saints to get back into the game and they were simply outrun in the last half.

"Their run was terrific," Scott conceded.

"They proved they're a better side than us right at the moment, we know we've got a lot of hard work to do."

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