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VFL: Marshall fires, Acres back

Rowan Marshall and Blake Acres played critical roles in the Sandringham’s thrilling draw against Coburg. - St Kilda Saints,VFL
Rowan Marshall and Blake Acres played critical roles in the Sandringham’s thrilling draw against Coburg.

Several Saints played a key role in salvaging two points against the winless Coburg in a game that almost slipped away from the Zebras on Saturday afternoon.

After a relatively even first half, Aaron Hamill’s side dominated the third quarter but were ultimately unable to do enough damage on the scoreboard, kicking 5.5 for the term.

Despite taking a 32-point lead into the final break, wayward kicking looked to have proved the decisive factor late in the game, when after a four-goal surge from the Lions, the Zebras were staring down the barrel of a six-point deficit.

And it was the rookie Saint Doulton Langlands who bore the responsibility of retrieving any reward for the Zebras.

With the ball was in his hands at the final siren, the 18-year-old converted truly, levelling the scores and sending a wave of relief through the Sandringham camp.

READ: VFL mid-season review

Rowan Marshall was a standout for the Zebras, kicking three goals and taking eight strong marks to firmly make his case for a senior recall.

At 201cm, the 22-year-old’s impressive size and athleticism shapes as an ominous weapon for the Saints if he can continue his strong VFL form.

Blake Acres played his first game back from injury, with continuing groin soreness keeping the budding midfielder sidelined for over two months.

The Western Australian produced a stellar performance on his return to football, amassing a game-high 31 disposals and eight tackles.

Tom Hickey was again influential, dominating the ruck battle as well as showing his worth at ground level, collecting 27 touches and laying five tackles.

Irish forward Ray Connellan posted two straight majors on a day where inaccurate kicking marred the Zebras’ dominance around the ball, while the ever-energetic Jack Lonie picked up 25 touches and laid eight tackles.

Ben Paton returned to his early season form, winning 23 disposals and laying a game-high 10 tackles, proving he’s taken his defensive game to another level.

Sandringham is back home next weekend, hosting the third-placed Cats at 2pm on Sunday 15 July at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Coburg                3.2         4.3         6.4         12.7 (79)
Sandringham      3.4         5.7         10.12     11.13 (79)

Goals: Marshall 3, Connellan 2, Noone, Langlands, Answerth, McLean, Lamb, Haidon

Best: Acres, Answerth, Paton, Lonie, Goddard, Marshall