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Melbourne is, not for the first time, paying for lapses in matches whereby the club leaks multiple goals without answer and which usually cost the club in those all-important eight point games as it did last week against the Western Bulldogs which replaced the Demons in the AFL top eight.

And this week, they come up against a team that reputedly plays in the same mode as the Bulldogs but has been able to prevail over better opponents than Melbourne. It’s not that the Demons are out of form or a poor side. Over the course of the last four matches they have been beaten comprehensively in only one quarter - that being the third term or the “premiership quarter” last week where they were completely destroyed, conceding 6 goals 1 behind to a few points.

St Kilda is still in the race for a double chance while for Melbourne, this week’s clash is virtually a case of the last chance saloon. The Demons are likely to be buoyed by the return of captain Max Gawn and former skipper Nathan Jones who would both have come in handy last week in the face of the Bulldogs’ onslaught.

A major challenge for Melbourne is to take advantage of a winning ruck by winning clearances at the stoppages. When opponents gain the upper hand moving the ball out of scrimmages and into the open and they gain territory by run or by swift ball movement, it’s often panic stations for the Demons. The ace card for the Saints this week could be Jack Steele who last year bested Clayton Oliver. Steele is a class act and if he’s on Oliver again this week, it could spell trouble for Melbourne and their leading midfielder who last week managed only 15 touches.

While people might think that the midfield is the be all and end all to the puzzle of the team’s inconsistency, you can’t ignore the almost complete breakdown last week of Melbourne’s forward line in terms of its failure to exert the pressure necessary to keep the ball inside the attacking region, to gain possession and to score goals. Most of the mid and small forwards were dysfunctional at the weekend while Mitch Wallis on his own showed them up with four goals. And even Sam Weideman’s goal scoring for the day was done and dusted one minute into the second quarter when he kicked the last of his two goals. The club needs a four quarter effort of pressure football from all players, especially the forwards, if it’s to maintain touch with the top eight.

It’s do or die for the Dees ... and unfortunately, on form, I have to tip the Saints by 22 points.

THE GAME

St Kilda v Melbourne at TIO Traeger Park on Saturday 29 August 2020 at 7.40pm   

HEAD TO HEAD   

Overall Melbourne 121 wins St Kilda 94 wins 1 drawn   

At TIO Traeger Park Melbourne 0 wins St Kilda 0 wins Past five meetings Melbourne 2 wins St Kilda 3 wins 

The Coaches Ratten 1 Goodwin 0 wins   

MEDIA   

TV - Channel 7 Live at 7.30pm Fox Footy Channel Live at 7.30pm   

RADIO -

THE LAST TIME THEY MET    

St Kilda 15.14.104 defeated Melbourne 13.7.85 at Marvel Stadium, Round 19, 2019 

The Demons held sway in the first half and led by as much as 19 points in the second quarter before the Saints reeled them in early in the third term and the game see sawed until early in the last when they took control to win by 19 points. For the second time in the season it was St Kilda’s outside run that enabled it to prevail.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

FB Adam Tomlinson Steven May Jake Lever
HB Christian Salem Oscar McDonald Michael Hibberd
C Aaron vandenBerg Jack Viney Ed Langdon
HF Trent Rivers Sam Weideman Angus Brayshaw
FF Mitch Hannan Mitch Brown Jake Melksham
FOL Max Gawn Christian Petracca Clayton Oliver
I/C Nathan Jones Kysaiah Pickett Charlie Spargo Josh Wagner
EMG Oskar Baker James Harmes Tom McDonald Braydon Preuss

IN Mitch Brown Max Gawn Nathan Jones Oscar McDonald Trent Rivers Josh Wagner

OUT Bayley Fritsch (omitted) James Harmes (omitted) Jay Lockhart (omitted) Tom McDonald (omitted) Braydon Preuss (omitted) Tom Sparrow (shoulder)

ST KILDA

FB Jarryn Geary Callum Wilkie Nick Coffield
HB Ben Paton Hunter Clark Dougal Howard
C Jack Billings Zak Jones Sebastian Ross
HF Bradley Hill Josh Battle Dan Butler
FF Tim Membrey Max King Rowan Marshall
FOL Paddy Ryder Jack Steele Dean Kent
I/C Nick Hind Ben Long Ed Phillips Jack Sinclair
EMG Jack Lonie Daniel McKenzie Jonathon Marsh Dylan Roberton

IN Hunter Clark Ed Phillips

OUT Jack Bytel (omitted) Jake Carlisle (omitted)

Injury/Suspension List: Round 14

Max Gawn (knee) – available
Nathan Jones (quad) - available
Alex Neal-Bullen (suspension) – 1 match
Luke Jackson (hamstring) –  4 weeks
Tom Sparrow (collarbone) –  4 weeks
James Jordon (finger) –  4 - 6 weeks
Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

PreviewRd142020.png

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