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AFL.com.au  June 16, 2017 11:04 PM

Team song: St Kilda Watch the Saints celebrate their round 13 win

ST KILDA is back in touch with the top eight but has work to do to break in after snapping a three-match losing streak with a 17-point win against North Melbourne in a scrappy clash at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The Saints responded to their coach's demand for change and played a more attacking style, pressuring the Kangaroos and taking more risks on their way to a 12.17 (89) to 10.12 (72) win.

It was a crucial victory that squared their season at 6-6, but it came against a flat North Melbourne team that offered little resistance, with a wasteful St Kilda still unable to kill off the Roos until late. 

After the Saints opened up a 42-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Kangaroos came to life for a rare period on Friday night, kicking five late goals to cut the margin to a flattering 17 points.   

Brad Scott's men were otherwise listless and took a step backwards after what had looked to be the start of a mid-season revival following wins against Adelaide, Melbourne and Carlton. 

Seb Ross was the star for the Saints, using the ball with the poise missing from so many others to finish with a game-high 32 possessions and five clearances in a best-on-ground performance.

He was well supported by veteran Leigh Montagna (28 possessions and four inside 50s) and Jack Sinclair (21, five clearances and a goal), while defender Dylan Roberton (22 and seven rebound 50s) was excellent. 

Half-forward Jack Billings produced a brilliant first half that netted two goals, with two more overruled on review once the ball was back in the centre.

Defenders Nathan Brown and Jake Carlisle held tall pair Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown to a combined 2.4, with the Kangaroos' service to their forwards making life difficult. 

A shining light for North was the committed tagging job of Declan Mountford, who shadowed dynamic Saint Jack Steven and kept him to 16 possessions, although Steven bobbed up for back-to-back goals in the second quarter.  

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson made his wish clear in the lead-up to Friday night's clash, declaring: "The message to the players is that we are really aggressive and bold in the way we play, the way we defend and the way that we attack".

The coach would have been pleased with what he saw in the first half, with the Saints aggressive with their movement and tackling ferociously in the front half.

They built a 38-point lead at half-time and looked to be on their way to a percentage-boosting win before a scrappy second half that saw the skills of both teams disintegrate.

The Kangaroos suffered a blow 90 minutes before the match when important half-back Jamie Macmillan was withdrawn with hamstring tightness and replaced by Jed Anderson.

Macmillan leads the Kangaroos for metres gained this season and Anderson went stat-less in the first half, finishing with nine possessions, so it was a significant change.

Scott put the heat on ruckman Todd Goldstein to respond after a quiet fortnight and he was much-improved, finishing with 34 hit-outs, 17 possessions and a goal.



NORTH MELBOURNE  2.5   2.6   4.9   10.12 (72)
ST KILDA                   5.3   8.8   9.15  12.17 (89)

GOALS

North Melbourne: Clarke 2, Waite, Goldstein, Ziebell, Mullett, Hrovat, Wood, B.Brown, Turner
St Kilda: Billings 2, Steven 2, Membrey 2, Bruce 2, Roberton, Acres, Sinclair, Gresham 


BEST

North Melbourne: Goldstein, Cunnington, Mountford, Gibson, McDonald, Ziebell
St Kilda: Ross, Sinclair, Roberton, N.Brown, Montagna, Geary 


INJURIES

North Melbourne: Macmillan (hamstring tightness) replaced in selected side by Anderson, Waite (left shoulder) 

St Kilda: Dunstan (calf) 

 


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Fisher, Schmitt, Fleer, McInerney


Official crowd: 26,107 at Etihad Stadium