Saints flog soft Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints flog soft Cats

By Chris Lines 28/03/2004 06:06:08 AM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Grant Thomas had said the turmoil of rape allegations against two of his players would galvanise his team, and the Saints proved good to his word with a thumping win over Geelong.

The re-match of the Wizard Cup final combatants promised a match as intriguing and close as that game, but instead the Saints overcame a slow start to flog Geelong 19.8 (122) to 9.7 (61) in AFL round one at the Telstra Dome.

It was Geelong's heaviest defeat since 2002 and a similarly poor performance to the opening round last season, with their difficulty in a finding a reliable route to goal again critical.

Stephen Milne played while a rape investigation involving him and Leigh Montagna proceeded, and he was not shy to celebrate his opportunistic four goals amid predictable boos from Cats fans.

The Cats had been vocal over the past three weeks claiming they were as good a side as the Saints, with Paul Chapman claiming Geelong played better in a losing Wizard Cup final effort, but there was no comparison in the game.

Geelong started brightly, kicking three early goals to sprint to a 19-point lead and had a seven-point margin at the first break.

When Joel Corey goalled after a minute of the second term for Geelong, the gap was 13 points but the Cats would not kick another goal for 52 minutes, in which time St Kilda had kicked 11.

The decisive spell came in time-on of the second quarter, when Fraser Gehrig - who had been well held to that point by Matthew Scarlett - exploded with three late goals to turn a two-point deficit into a 16-point half-time lead.

Geelong players trudged off at the main break, already looking like their spirit had been snapped, and it was borne out in an embarrassingly one-sided third quarter when the Saints kicked eight goals to one to end the contest.

The power of the Saints forward line - Gehrig, Nick Riewoldt and Aaron Hamill - was in stark contrast to that of Geelong, where Ben Graham, Kent Kingsley and Matt McCarthy were entirely anonymous.

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