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Moments that mattered: Round 21 v Melbourne

Josh Gabelich  August 13, 2017 3:47 PM

AFL 2017 Round 21 - Melbourne v St Kilda

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 13: Jade Gresham (left) and Tim Membrey of the Saints celebrate during the 2017 AFL round 21 match between the Melbourne Demons and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 13, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Demons suck the wind out of Saints in first quarter blitz

After an enormous build up to arguably St Kilda’s most important game in the last five years, Melbourne bursts the Saints’ bubble in a big way. In a dominant eight-minute patch, the Demons boot four goals to open up a five-goal advantage by the first break. On the wide expanses of the MCG, the Demons looked at home at the home of football, cutting the Saints apart through the middle of the ground.

Billings slots to stem the flow

Just like he did seven days ago, Jack Billings stands and delivers for the Saints. While the circumstances are different, and nowhere near as decisive, the talented young forward converts truly from 40 metres out to stem the bleeding at the MCG in the second quarter. It’s another important kick by the 21-year-old forward who has had his goalkicking troubles in 2017.

Saints hang in just

Two kicks in two minutes keep St Kilda just in a game that appeared to be close to over before half-time. Mav Weller gets front and centre, crumbs a clever spoil from Jake Carlisle to kick his first goal. Then a minute later, Jack Billings receives a free kick from Neville Jetta and improves the angle by finding Luke Dunstan in the corridor. The South Australian slots another goal to reduce the margin to less than five goals with only a couple of minutes to go in the opening half. It's just what Alan Richardson's men needed.

Off to a fast start in the second half

St Kilda get exactly what they need: the first goal of the second half. Just like everything on Sunday, it doesn't come easy. Josh Bruce intercepts a rebound from Bernie Vince and pumps it deep, before Jack Billings feeds the ball to Tim Membrey who snaps truly from the edge of the goal square. One down, plenty to go.

Gilbert smacks in to create crucial goal

In a 50/50 ball on the forward flank, veteran Sam Gilbert puts his body on the line, cannoning into Melbourne young gun Christian Petracca. The ball spills the Saints way, Luke Dunstan gathers, tucks the ball under his wing and motors towards goal, before unloading from outside the paint to put the Saints within four goals. Minutes later, Jack Sinclair from point blank range puts the Saints even closer. Game on at the MCG.

Membrey puts the Saints within a kick

From the identical spot at the other end of the ground, Tim Membrey makes amends for missing on the three-quarter time siren by kicking the first goal of the last quarter to get the Saints off to a perfect start. All of sudden, after being 40 points behind, the Saints are just four points behind. The scene is set.