ST KILDA 4.2 5.5 12.11 16.11 (107)
MELBOURNE 0.3 2.7 4.9 12.10 (82)
St Kilda has recorded a comfortable 25-point victory in a scrappy affair at the MCG to keep its slim finals hopes alive, but it has come at a cost with captain and leading goalkicker Nick Riewoldt injured in the first quarter.
Riewoldt led and bent down to gather a footy in the forward line, but appeared to hyperextend his knee as it pivoted into the ground and went down in a lot of pain.
He was substituted off at quarter time, and had scans after the second quarter to clear structural damage and allow the Saints to breathe a sight of relief for their skipper.
It was later reported that he had a slight tear in a knee tendon, but it didn’t fuss the Saints’ forwards on the day.
Beau Wilkes bettered his best bag of three goals – also against Melbourne, earlier in the year – with five amongst 13 marks in an impressive display to spearhead the forward line.
He was one of five multiple goalkickers for the Saints as they proved too much to handle for Melbourne’s backline, especially in James Frawley’s absence.
With the delivery from classy midfielders Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna, as well as Brendon Goddard as the utility roaming the wings and forward line, it was the experience that allowed them to break free.
It truly took them until the third quarter, however, when they kicked 7.5 to just one behind in a relentless display in a period of twenty minutes going into the fourth.
That came after Melbourne clawed back a small St Kilda lead after the first half, in what was a clumsy display with a poor overall skill level.
They also clawed the lead back in the last quarter, kicking eight last-term goals, including five to young gun Sam Blease in a personal best effort. However, it was all too late, attempting to reduce the margin from 56 points.
Amongst the others in Melbourne’s best were co-captain Jack Grimes and top midfielder Nathan Jones, who both kept on keeping on in what has been fantastic seasons for the duo.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was four premiership points for St Kilda, and they’ll be looking towards the last few weeks to earn enough to push for what still remains an unlikely shot at another finals series.
St Kilda: Wilkes 5, Milne 2, Koschitzke 2, Cripps 2, Saad 2, Riewoldt, Steven, Goddard
Melbourne: Blease 5, Sellar 2, Howe, Dunn, Jetta, Green, Sylvia
St Kilda: Wilkes, Dal Santo, Armitage, Dempster, Hayes, Montagna, Geary
Melbourne: Blease, Jones, Grimes, Rivers, MacDonald
St Kilda: Farren Ray (back, replaced by Tom Ledger), Clint Jones (unknown, replaced by Jamie Cripps). Nick Riewoldt (knee)
Melbourne: James Frawley (quad, replaced by Matthew Bate), Colin Sylvia (ankle).
St Kilda: Nick Riewoldt replaced by Tom Ledger at quarter-time.
Melbourne: Brent Moloney replaced by James Magner at three-quarter time.
Umpires: Stewart, Hosking, Kamolins
Official crowd: 23,464 at MCG