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Lonie rewarded for dominant form

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Jack Lonie of the Saints celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 AFL round 02 match between the West Coast Eagles and the St Kilda Saints at Domain Stadium on April 02, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media)
Small forward Jack Lonie has been recalled after two dominant displays for Sandringham.

St Kilda has made one change ahead of the final game of the home and away season, with small forward Jack Lonie replacing the injured Sam Gilbert for Sunday’s clash with Richmond at the MCG.

Gilbert, 31, has been seen for the last time in 2017 after he strained his abdominals in last weekend’s big win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

After two best on ground performances in the VFL, classy left footer Lonie has earned another opportunity at senior level and a chance to build some momentum into the season.

The 21-year-old has played 11 senior games in 2017, including seven in a row before he was left out of the side following the loss to Port Adelaide in Round 20.

Sandringham Coach Lindsay Gilbee has used Lonie as a midfielder since he returned to the reserves, where he has thrived around the ball, accumulating 37 and 31 disposals in the last two games against Casey and Richmond.

Unless St Kilda miraculously sneak into the top eight by the completion of this weekend, Sunday will be the final game of Nick Riewoldt’s stunning career.

The champion forward will depart the game as a six-time best and fairest winner, five-time All-Australian, as the third longest serving captain in the game’s history and with more than 700 goals next to his name. He is a true ornament of the game.

While Richmond has stamped themselves as a genuine premiership threat this season, St Kilda has won the last two encounters between the two sides.

When they last met back in Round 16, St Kilda stunned the football world, booting 14 goals to one in first half to open up an 82-point lead at half-time.

St Kilda’s season hasn’t panned out the way they would have hoped in the wake of that performance, but they can match the 12 wins – the most during Alan Richardson’s tenure – they banked last year if they beat the Tigers on Sunday.

Round 23 Team v Richmond
Sunday August 27 at 3.20pm
MCG

B: Jarryn Geary, Nathan Brown, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jack Newnes, Jake Carlisle, Jimmy Webster
C: Jack Billings, Luke Dunstan, Shane Savage
HB: Blake Acres, Nick Riewoldt, Jack Sinclair
F: Jade Gresham, Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey
R: Billy Longer, Seb Ross, Jack Steven
Interchange: Jack Steele, Jack Lonie, Koby Stevens, Maverick Weller
Emergencies: Brandon White, Daniel McKenzie, Bailey Rice

IN: J. Lonie
OUT: S. Gilbert (abdominal strain)

Milestone: T. Membrey – 50 games