St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs
Where: Etihad Stadium
In years gone by, the prospect of the Saints and Bulldogs facing off would have set fanatics’ mouths salivating. In 2012, unfortunately, Saturday night’s clash will see two mature and fatigued sides clash with very little fanfare.
Both under new coaches, the two sides have completely altered their game plans from years past. Tonight’s game looms as yet another day of teething, and neutrals won’t be expecting much cohesive football as the sides attempt to master the tactical alterations.
There have been some shining lights, however, in the shape of some young players who are proving themselves at AFL level. Clay Smith converted 4 goals on debut against the in-form West Coast for the Bulldogs, and father-son selection Ayce Cordy will also take the field tonight. Dogs fans will be hoping that Cordy finally manages to cement a spot in the line-up, with the 202cm ruckman in desperate need to assert himself.
St Kilda’s new recruit Terry Milera has begun his AFL career with a bang. The former Port Adelaide Magpie has scored three goals in his first two games, and has been a real livewire for the slowing Saints.
Rhys Stanley converted two goals one against Gold Coast last week, with St. Kilda hopeful the tall forward is starting to deliver on his potential.
Justin Koschitzke vs Brian Lake: Former number two draft selection Koschitzke has been promising this year, with the forward finally beginning to assert himself as a key post in St Kilda’s forward structure.
The returning Lake, whose still overcoming the string of injuries that wrote off his 2011, will have a job on his hands if he is to keep ‘Kosi’ scoreless.
Matthew Boyd vs Brendan Goddard: Both of these premier midfielders are considered the crown jewel of their respective sides. Boyd is a clearance monster while Goddard is perhaps the best utility in the competition. Expect them to go head-to-head tonight, the winner is a good chance to be on the winning side too.
Liam Jones vs Sam Fisher: Fisher has carried his good 2011 form through to this season, but the young Dog in Jones appears to be seriously suffering without Barry Hall by his side.
Fisher looms as another tough opponent, and Jones will need to have his kicking boots on to capitalise on every half chance.
With both sides looking to inject youth into teams that have seemingly passed the ‘premiership window’, this game comes down to how well the stars play.
The Bulldogs are well represented with Boyd, Cooney, Lake and Griffin, but St Kilda just appear to have more depth in this area.
Saints by 17 points.
B: Easton Wood, Brian Lake, Ryan Hargrave
HB: Robert Murphy, Lukas Markovic, Dylan Addison
C: Daniel Cross, Ryan Griffen, Liam Picken
HF: Daniel Giansiracusa, Liam Jones, Jarrad Grant
F: Shaun Higgins, Jordan Roughead, Luke Dahlhaus
Foll: William Minson, Matthew Boyd, Adam Cooney
I/C: Ayce Cordy, Nathan Djerrkura, Thomas Liberatore, Clay Smith
Emg: Patrick Veszpremi, Justin Sherman, Tory Dickson
In: Ayce Cordy
Out: Tory Dickson
B: Jarryn Geary, Sam Gilbert, Jason Blake
HB: Tom Simpkin, Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster
C: Jack Newnes, Lenny Hayes, Brendon Goddard
HF: Jack Steven, Nick Riewoldt, Jamie Cripps
F: Stephen Milne, Rhys Stanley, Leigh Montagna
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Clinton Jones, Nick Dal Santo
I/C: Justin Koschitzke, David Armitage, Tom Ledger, Terry Milera
Emg: Farren Ray, Dean Polo, Beau Wilkes
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