Saints Over Melbourne In AFL Thriller

Admist heavy rain, St Kilda prevailed against an improving Demons outfit.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

St Kilda put last week’s disappointing effort behind them to beat the Melbourne Demons in the rain at the MCG 12.12.(84)-10.6.(64).

Melbourne showed as much effort with their back to walls as any team has this season but after failing to score in the final quarter, remain winless in 2012.

Melbourne played the most heart they’ve displayed in a long while, contesting everything around the ground and as a result benefiting on the scoreboard.

While the Saints could only hit the post with their first couple of shots on goal, Brent Moloney and Matthew Bate kicked two goals to surprise St Kilda early.

They finally got a major on the board when Beau Wilkes marked and goaled, then Jack Stevens added another at the 12 minute mark, emerging from a pack and shrugging a would be tackler before kicking one across his body.

Wilkes then took his second mark inside 50 for the Saints third in a row, but Nathan Jones kicked a couple of classy goals to keep Melbourne in the game. The Saints went into quarter time with a nine point lead as Riewoldt and Stanley were able to kick goals as the rain pelted down.

The first goal of the second quarter came when Jack Watts intercepted a handball on the last line of defense to kick a goal and cut Saints lead to just a point.

Milne made no mistake with goal number 499, winning a one on one, but Rohan Bail was quick with the response as he collected a slippery ball in a congested pack and found just enough space to snap a quick shot.

Another Demons goal courtesy of a bouncing ball by Davey gave them a four-point lead just past the halfway mark of the term and Bail smashed a second three minutes later as the Melbourne midfield continued to win across the ground.

The St Kilda response was immediate. Hayes won a free kick at the center bounce and after a long ball inside 50 Montagna came up with a soccer goal to keep the Saints in touch.

Milne became the 50th player in history to kick 500 goals with an effort from 49 meters after taking a sliding mark. His goal gave the Saints their first lead in a while which they carried into half time.

Jack Steven opened the third with a goal and it would take another 10 minutes before a second would be added. Wilkes smashed another to give St Kilda a 15 point lead before coach Scott Waters bizarrely gave him the red vest after kicking three goals as the prominent forward in the match.

Lynden Dunn backed himself and kicked a long goal before he too was given the red vest for Melbourne five minutes before three-quarter time. Bartram then kicked a highlight goal, shrugging off and avoiding a few defenders before throwing a banana onto his boot with under a minute remaining. The Bartram goal meant the Demons would go into the final term just three points behind the highly touted Saints.

The Saints were on the attack from the first minute although it them nearly 13 minutes to get a breakthrough goal courtesy of Lenny Hayes. Riewoldt marked close to goal and booted the sealer with three minutes to go.