Saints and Giants Finally Meet

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday August 25, 1.45pm

TV & RADIO: Fox Footy (live), 3aw, Triple M

BETTING: St. Kilda $1.00, GWS $31.00,

The early Saturday game this week sees Greater Western Sydney take on St. Kilda for the first time in their short history. GWS are coming off two respectable losses and a win in the last three weeks, whilst the Saints will be looking to bounce back from their heartbreaking loss in which Geelong ended their finals ambitions.

With finals no longer on the Saints’ radar, it will be interesting to see how coach Scott Watters manages his list against the young Giants. In particular, Saints captain Nick Riewoldt may be put on ice for the rest of the season after injuring his knee against Melbourne a fortnight ago, and Sam Dunell looks a likely chance to be recalled after a solid performance in the VFL.

The Rundown

Saints

Whilst the season is gone for St. Kilda, circumstances like these can often be valuable from a coaching and development point of view. Watters now has two games in which to experiment with no real pressure to win, which gives him a lot more freedom to play with his structures.

Stephen Milne and Ahmed Saad have combined well for a collective 76 goals so far this season, yet the Saints key position forwards have often struggled to gel. This week provides Watters with another opportunity to find the right mix of talls in the forward 50, so expect to see Beau Wilkes, Rhys Stanley and Brendan Goddard tried in a few different combinations. Justin Koschitzke was appalling at times last week and finished the night with a meagre return of zero kicks and one handpass…it will be interesting to see how his coach reacts.

The selected team will give us a hint as to how adventurous the coaching panel are prepared to be in the next two weeks. Will they stick with their best available 22, or will we see the inclusion of more young talent?

Giants

All the talk surrounding the Giants lately has been a case of the good and the bad. The good is Toby Greene. Unquestionably the best first year player in the AFL, Greene has the extraordinary stat of collecting over 30 disposals in six of his last seven outings.

The bad has been the much publicised lack of impact of rugby convert Israel Folau. Big Izzy has struggled to find the ball with any regularity, however this week has an opportunity in to present with Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton likely to miss. Expect Mark Williams to give Folau every opportunity as the main forward target in the GWS 50 meter zone against the undersized St. Kilda defence.

Prediction

St. Kilda would be disappointed with their form in the last fortnight, in particular their second half efforts. Irrespective of how experienced the selected side is, the focus will no doubt be to run the game out. On the other side of the coin it’s hard to see where GWS are going to find enough goals to be competitive.

St. Kilda by 70 points.

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