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Monday Wash-Up: Round 13 v North Melbourne

Josh Gabelich  June 19, 2017 12:30 PM

AFL 2017 Round 13 - North Melbourne v St Kilda

How good was this guy on Friday night?

What did you think was going to happen?

The spotlight shone brightly on Leigh Montagna in the lead up to Friday night and ‘Joey’ revelled in its glow, setting Etihad Stadium alight. After copping the brunt of St Kilda’s form slump in the media, following an article in the Herald Sun, the dual All-Australian was arguably the most influential player on the ground. Montagna reignited the Saints’ stagnate ball movement of recent weeks, transforming his side into a far more aggressive side on transition out of the back half. Playing like someone with a point to prove, Montagna collected 28 disposals, an equal game-high eight intercepts, seven marks, five rebound 50s and a whopping 707 metres gained – the 3rd highest reading of the round. Midway through his 16th season, the 33-year-old might have plenty more in the tank.

Wasteful Saints set up win in first quarter

In his post-game press conference on Friday night, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said the final margin flattered his side. And when you look closer at St Kilda’s inaccuracy, his point is justified. On an ugly night for football purists, St Kilda kicked 3.5 in the second quarter and 1.7 in the third term to not put them game to bed when the opportunity presented. But unlike at Adelaide Oval seven days earlier, Alan Richardson’s men made the better start, booting five consecutive goals in the opening term to wrestle control of the contest early. It was exactly what the Saints needed after a disappointing month. And by the final siren, it was almost an identical margin that helped snap St Kilda’s three-game losing streak and breathe life into a season that was teetering on the brink.

Ross rise continues at Etihad Stadium

36. 33. 32. 31. 31. 37. 30. 39. 32. They are Seb Ross’ last nine weeks. It’s been a phenomenal run by the emerging midfield star who has rapidly ascended into the upper echelon of midfielders in the game this season. While triple Trevor Barker Award winner Jack Steven was well held by Kangaroos tagger Declan Mountford on Friday night, Ross continued to find the ball like has done all year long. This time, the 24-year-old collected 32 possessions (11 contested), six tackles, five clearances (four centre clearances) and 59.5 pressure points – the most on the ground. Richardson heaped praise on the North Ballarat product in his post-match press conference. But this level of performance has quickly become the norm in 2017 for a man who would be leading the Trevor Barker Award after 13 rounds.

How stiff was Jack Billings?

Jack Billings nearly had a big night against North Melbourne on Friday night. Twice he had goals stripped off him when they were already scribbled down in the record and play was back in the middle and ready to restart. On both occasions, a slight nick of an opponent's finger reversed the goal umpire's initial decision, meaning he went from three goals to two on two occasions. The first happened late in the first quarter when the 21-year-old appeared to have booted his third major in less than 15 minutes. The same thing occurred in the second quarter with the video umpire retracting the goal umpire's decision by the time Billings was already off the ground, having come to the bench after the goal. He missed his easiest opportunity of the night late in the game, so potentially could have ended up with a handful. Despite the frustration, the classy forward continued his dazzling run of form, finishing with 18 disposals, four inside 50s, and as Richardson noted post-game, eight tackles – the most of any Saint.

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