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Monday Wash Up: Round 22 v Richmond

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Nick Riewoldt of the Saints thanks fans during the 2016 AFL Round 22 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
St Kilda has now won more games in 2016 (11) than across both of Alan Richardson's first two seasons at the club.

Ian Stewart Medal for fast finishing Ross

On an ugly day of football, Seb Ross got the job done when St Kilda needed him to. He was tough, used the ball well and showed why he is one of the Saints’ best young leaders. The 23-year-old earned nine votes to secure the Ian Stewart Medal for best on ground honours, ahead of Leigh Montagna and Richmond’s Brownlow medal fancy Dustin Martin. Ross finished with a game-high 34 possessions – 2nd highest tally of his career – a game-high six clearances, six tackles, six inside 50s and the most pressure points on the ground at 51.8 points. On the back of a strong finish to the year, and a slowing from Jack Steven, could Ross be making a late surge for the Trevor Barker Award?

A long time between drinks for Holmes, but plenty to like

Jason Holmes was forced to wait almost 12 months between senior appearances, but he again showed his promise at AFL level. In the space between games, Richmond ruckman Shaun Hampson has been one of the most improved ruckmen in the game, wrestling the No. 1 ruck role away from Ivan Maric. On Saturday, the American product stifled the Tigers’ influence at stoppages, accumulating 25 hitouts to Hampson’s 22, leading the Saints to a +10 hitouts win and a narrow +2 clearances win. With Tom Hickey no certainty to return from a soleus injury against Brisbane on Sunday, Holmes appears more than capable of holding down the fort. Athletic Lions ruckman Stefan Martin presents a different type of challenge to Hampson, with his mobility around the ground always a difficult proposition to counter.

Join the players and coaches at the 2016 best and fairest and celebrate an exciting season

Not one for the memory banks

There definitely won’t be many outside of the football department flicking through the tape from the weekend. On a sunny, winters day, it was ugly. Windy conditions did play a part in poor skill execution, but both sides setup to strangle the other side’s ball movement fluency. St Kilda amassed 17 inside 50s to four in the first quarter alone, but managed to only lead by 10-points at the first break. But a win is a win, and those four premiership points have pushed the Saints back over the top of Melbourne into ninth position. With one game to play, St Kilda is one game adrift of North Melbourne, although an insurmountable percentage gap separates the two sides. Never say never, but it’s unlikely people will be scrambling for their calculators on Sunday to see whether or not the Saints can eclipse a 15.1 per cent gap.

Next generation gets the job done

While Leigh Montagna made a sizeable contribution with 33 possessions and 432 metres gained, and Nick Riewoldt did his usual thing with 21 disposals and 10 marks, Saturday’s win came from the next generation. Ross was best on ground, but others played significant roles. Jack Newnes was impressive with 28 possessions, while Blake Acres continued his late season surge, this time collecting 26 touches and 489 metres gained. Jack Billings overcame a quiet first half to spring in to life in the third quarter. The classy wingman touched the ball 12 times in the third quarter, adding a further eight in the last to finish with 25 for the day, after having only five in the first half. Wins like these epitomise St Kilda’s growth in 2016. No longer do they rely on Riewoldt, Montagna, Jack Steven or David Armitage to win games.

Another roadblock for McCartin to overcome

Poor Paddy. You could hear the sympathy in Alan Richardson’s voice in his post-game press conference: “He’s had a luckless run on the back of putting his head in the hole for his team and his teammates. He’s a courageous kid, he’s a tough kid. That earns respect. It’s bloody disappointing for him”. The 2014 No. 1 pick can’t take a trick this season. And at times he’s been the victim of his own bravery; a trait that will one day make him great and a trait the Saints love about the key forward. On Saturday afternoon, McCartin’s game and season ended after he broke his collarbone in the opening quarter, following a collision with Richmond defender Nick Vlastuin. Having clearly hurt himself in the incident, McCartin went back and slotted the goal from the pocket, his second goal by midway through the opening quarter. To emphasise the regard he is held in by the opposition, dual All Australian and soon to be three-time, Alex Rance, was playing on McCartin.

"He's had a luckless run on the back of putting his head in the hole for his team and his teammate" - Alan Richardson

A photo posted by St Kilda Football Club (@stkildafc) on Aug 21, 2016 at 8:15pm PDT

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