A scratchy St Kilda has successfully staved off a fierce six-goal flurry from North Melbourne to end the game 19 points clear, however all headlines will be surrounding the fate of Jimmy Webster following an incident with Kangaroo's skipper Jy Simpkin.

Webster is certain to face the Tribunal this week after colliding with Simpkin on the boundary line during the first quarter, sparking a near all-in fracas which saw both sides come to blows at multiple times throughout the match.

North Melbourne subsequently ignited after half-time with an unanswered six-goal run either side of three-quarter time to hit the front, however fell just short as Tim Membrey, Cooper Sharman and Liam Henry jagged critical majors late to see their side through 11.18 (84) to 10.5 (65).

Membrey, Sharman and Max King all finished with multiple majors by the close of play, however outside of the closing two goals from the former pair, were unable to hit the scoreboard after quarter-time as the Roos put the blockade up in defence.

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North Melbourne’s physical and fiery approach, capitalisation of opposition turnovers and weight of entries forward stagnated the home side after they rocketed through eight goals in the opening half, with Zac Fisher (35 disposals) and Harry Sheezel (31) leading the charge to the tune of Nick Larkey’s three majors.

It could have been a far more drastic comeback for the visitors had St Kilda taken full advantage in the second term, registering 3.10 with a healthy wind on-side to lead by 34 points at the game's midpoint.

The Saints' skill errors - compounded by 50-metre penalties and several free kicks against - opened the door for the Roos to put their foot to the throat after the main break, however the final three goals of the game to the red, white and black - backed by the breeze - kept their pre-season ledger in the positive.

Cooper Sharman's (two goals) high-flying grab and goal yielded a crucial buffer moments on from Tim Membrey's composed checkside to put the home side's noses narrowly in front.

But it was Henry's slice of magic with a minute to go which both bettered Membrey's earlier attempt and put the cherry on top of his side's last-quarter salvation.

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Riley Bonner was again an influence down back and threat outside the arc with another long-range roost, with his place in the side come Round 1 another step closer, particularly with Webster’s likely impending absence.

The ex-Power defender led St Kilda’s total disposals with 30, worked hard both ways with seven inside-50s, six rebound-50s and a game-high 727 metres gained, while Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (29) and Ryan Byrnes (28) found plenty of the Sherrin; the latter spending time at centre-bounce in rotation with skipper Jack Steele, Seb Ross and Hugo Garcia.

Tristan Xerri had the better of the ruck duel against Rowan Marshall to give his side advantage around stoppages, while Mitch Owens had the say of the forward group with 19 disposals and two goals.

Owens moved to the centre at times after Mattaes Phillipou was rested after half-time as a precaution with hip soreness, with Lance Collard entering the game fully after the main change.

Zaine Cordy was also injected into the game in the dying moments as Dougal Howard left the field with a hamstring complaint, while Anthony Caminiti also had some minutes alternating between the forward line and ruck.

St Kilda will begin the season proper on Saturday 16 March, facing off against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium; a venue the Saints haven’t won at since 1999.

ST KILDA  5.2  8.12  8.14  11.18 (84)
NORTH MELBOURNE 
3.1  4.2  9.5  10.5 (65)

GOALS
St Kilda: King 2, Owens 2, Membrey 2, Sharman 2, Bonner, Marshall, Henry
North Melbourne: Larkey 3, Duursma 2, Zurhaar 2, Stephenson, Coleman-Jones, Goater

BEST
St Kilda:
Bonner, Owens, Wanganeen-Milera, Byrnes, Steele, Henry
North Melbourne: Fisher, Sheezel, Xerri, Larkey, Scott

INJURIES
St Kilda:
Phillipou (hip), Howard (hamstring)
North Melbourne: Simpkin (TBC)

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