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The most embarrassing loss of the 2018 season (perhaps aside from the Preliminary Final) for Melbourne was the one it suffered in Round 15 against lowly St Kilda. The Demons came into the game as a red hot favourite but were embarrassed by the Saints' speed and willingness to take the contest right up to them for virtually the full four quarters. It was a defeat that they were to bemoan for the remainder of the season. Their arrogance in going into the game and taking an opponent lightly was a costly slip up that possibly cost them the double chance in the end. 

The lead up to this year’s meeting could not be more different to the last. This time, it’s the Saints who are the trendsetters and with three wins to date, they are equal league leaders. The Demons, on the other hand, are in deep trouble with a huge injury list and many players struggling to regain their form of 2018. After three consecutive losses to begin the season, their one win came last week against an equally out-of-form Swans, leaving them sitting in sixteenth place on the AFL ladder.

The glimmer of hope for the team was the way it lifted itself up by the bootstraps after trailing the Swans by 22 points halfway through the second term last Thursday night. Up to that point, the team that was the clearance king of 2018 was struggling to take the ball away from the stoppages despite Max Gawn’s usual dominance in the ruck. Suddenly, they were able to get on top in contested possessions and take advantage when inside the forward fifty. Goals flowed - significantly three of them came from one of the co-skippers in Nathan Jones who’s career many had written off just one week earlier.

And if Melbourne can take its advantage in contested possessions through the likes of Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw into this week’s game, it will go a long way towards atoning for its poor start to the season. Against this will be, the challenge of nullifying St. Kilda’s outside speed which has been so damaging so far this year. 

The Demons benefitted last week from the inclusion of Braydon Preuss, who despite his ungainliness, caused headaches for the Swans’ defence. He kicked a couple himself and made the other Demon forwards who had been struggling for goals despite their numerous opportunities, look taller and play better. He was in doubt for this game at the time of writing but, irrespective of whether he plays, it is to be hoped that coach Simon Goodwin has learned his lesson and affords some extra versatility and options in his forward line.

If the Demons have indeed learned their lessons from last year’s game and from the early rounds of this year, then I expect them to come marching in against the Saints and move forward in their process of resurrection.

Melbourne by 15 points.

THE GAME  

Melbourne v St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday 20 April 2019 at 4.35pm  

HEAD TO HEAD  

Overall Melbourne 121 wins St Kilda 92 wins 1 drawn  

At MCG Melbourne 59 wins St Kilda 36 wins  

Past five meetings Melbourne 3 wins St Kilda 2 wins   

The Coaches Goodwin 3 wins Richardson 1 wins   

MEDIA  

TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 4.30pm  

RADIO - ABC Triple M SEN 3AW  

THE LAST TIME THEY MET   

St Kilda 18.11.119 defeated Melbourne 18.9.117 at the MCG, Round 15, 2018  After an even opening term, St Kilda got the jump on Melbourne with a seven goal second quarter and the Demons were forced to played catch up for the rest of the game. Despite a late surge of goals they fell by two points and recorded their third-straight loss.

Screenshot_2019-04-18 Melbourne Vs St Kilda - Match Centre - AFL com au.png

MELBOURNE   

B Marty Hore Sam Frost  Neville Jetta 
HB Jordan Lewis  Michael Hibberd  Christian Salem 
C Nathan Jones  Clayton Oliver  James Harmes 
HF Angus Brayshaw  Sam Weideman  Jayden Hunt 
F Tom McDonald  Braydon Preuss  Jake Melksham 
FOLL Max Gawn  Jack Viney  Christian Petracca 
I/C  Bayley Fritsch  Charlie Spargo Corey Wagner  Josh Wagner 
EMG Declan Keilty Jay Lockhart Oscar McDonald Billy Stretch

IN Neville Jetta Jordan Lewis 

OUT  Oscar McDonald (omitted) Billy Stretch (omitted)

ST KILDA

B Jimmy Webster  Nathan Brown  Shane Savage 
HB Callum Wilkie  Josh Battle  Jarryn Geary 
C Blake Acres  Sebastian Ross  Jack Newnes 
HF Jack Billings  Josh Bruce  Matthew Parker 
F Jack Lonie  Tim Membrey  Jade Gresham 
FOLL Rowan Marshall  Jack Steele  Jack Sinclair 
I/C Dean Kent Ben Long Ben Paton Jack Steven
EMG Nick Hind Darragh Joyce      Jonathon Marsh Robbie Young

IN Jarryn Geary Jack Steven 

OUT Hunter Clark (omitted) Daniel McKenzie (concussion)

Injury List - Round 5  

Oscar McDonald (concussion) – available  Neville Jetta (knee) — test  
Jordan Lewis (hamstring) — test 
Jay Lockhart (shoulder) — test 
Braydon Preuss (shoulder) — test 
Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – TBA 
Steven May (groin) — 2-4 weeks 
Joel Smith (groin) —  4-6 weeks 
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) — 4-6 weeks 
Mitch Hannan (knee) — 6 weeks 
Jake Lever (knee) — 6 weeks 
Jay Kennedy-Harris (knee) — 8-10 wee ks 
Guy Walker (shoulder) — indefinite  
Aaron Nietschke (knee) — season

PreviewRd052019.jpg

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