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Round 3 Team v Collingwood

Selection Insider: Round Three Senior Assistant Coach Rohan Welsh takes us through St Kilda's team selection for our Round three match against Collingwood Magpies.

St Kilda has made one change to the side that loss to Western Bulldogs last weekend, with creative forward Darren Minchington earning a senior opportunity following an impressive fortnight with Sandringham.

The 22-year-old replaces first-year midfielder Jade Gresham, who has been omitted after debuting at Adelaide Oval in Round 1 and playing the first two games of the season.

After collecting 44 possessions against Box Hill Hawks two weeks ago, Minchington continued his strong form in at the lower level last weekend by booting five goals to demand a chance in Alan Richardson’s side.

Experienced key defensive pair Sam Fisher and Sean Dempster have been handed big roles in the opening two weeks, with the dual Trevor Barker Award winner Fisher doing a job on Port Adelaide’s Charlie Dixon in Round 1, before the ultra-reliable Dempster put the clamps on Western Bulldogs’ Jake Stringer last Saturday night.

Both Fisher and Dempster, as well as the back six, will have another testing encounter on their hands in the form of powerhouse forward Travis Cloke, the athletic Darcy Moore and difficult match-up Alex Fasolo, who is fresh from a best on ground, six-goal performance against Richmond last weekend.

Despite a 0-2 start to 2016, the Saints have been clinical around the stoppages, ranked No. 1 in the competition for clearances (45.4 per game) and third in hit outs (47.0 per game), courtesy of Tom Hickey’s brilliant performance against the Power in Round 1.

On the flipside, Collingwood has struggled around the ball, with Nathan Buckley’s team suffering from Dane Swan’s absence, ranked 17th for clearances (28.5 per game). Although their ruckwork hasn’t been of assistance thus far, with the Magpies also ranked second last for hit outs (28.5 per game).

Given the strong starts to the year by reigning best and fairest winner Jack Steven and David Armitage, as well as Luke Dunstan’s and Seb Ross’ ability in close, Richardson will be looking to get an upper hand through the Saints work around the stoppages.

The return of All Australian key defender Ben Reid last week could see Collingwood go head-to-head with the Saints three key talls, with Nathan Brown and Jack Frost also holding down defensive key posts. The match-ups loom as intriguing encounters, but will also depend on how much time Nick Riewoldt spends on a wing.

In his 300th game last weekend, the Saints captain split his time evenly between wing and in attack, collecting a game-high 14 marks to go with 23 possessions and two goals. But a score of just 5.6 may prompt the Saints to keep their champion forward closer to goal this weekend.

Following a low-key return to senior football against the Dogs, 2014 No. 1 draft pick Paddy McCartin returns to the scene of his debut against the same opposition and in the same round as last year.

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Round 3

St Kilda v Collingwood
Saturday 9 April

B: J. Geary, S. Fisher, D. Roberton
HB: J. Newnes, S. Dempster, S. Gilbert
C: L. Montagna, D. Armitage, S. Savage
HF: M. Weller, N. Riewoldt, J. Billings
F: J. Lonie, J. Bruce, P. McCartin
R: T. Hickey, L. Dunstan, J. Steven
Interchange: S. Ross, J. Webster, J. Sinclair, D. Minchington
Emergencies: T. Lee, B. Longer, T. Membrey


IN: D. Minchington
OUT: J. Gresham (Omitted)