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VFL: Armitage leads Zebras resurgence

Veteran Saint David Armitage's 29-disposal haul helped turn the tide for Sandringham. - St Kilda Saints,David Armitage,VFL
Veteran Saint David Armitage's 29-disposal haul helped turn the tide for Sandringham.

Another reliable performance from David Armitage has played a major hand in steering Sandringham to an unlikely 11-point victory over the Northern Blues at Marvel Stadium.

Leading the charge alongside skipper Brede Seccull (30 disposals, one goal), Armitage’s 29 touches served as the connective tissue for the yellow, black and blue to mount an inspiring second-half comeback.

The Zebras trailed by 16 points at the main change after a scrappy opening half marred by poor skill execution in attack.

Sandringham's defence fared no better early on, with the Zebras conceding 15 inside 50s in the first quarter.

But the home side turned it around in the second half, booting six unanswered majors in the third term from 16 entries and regaining ascendancy in the clearances to storm home to victory.

Although the Blues closed the margin late, a trio of second-half goals from St Kilda staff member Sam Fox proved enough for Sandringham to secure its fourth win of the season.

 

The defensive efforts of Nick Coffield (21 disposals) were just as telling, as too was the influence of assistant coach Jake Batchelor (18 disposals) and Darragh Joyce (16 disposals), who eased his way into the game after a slow start.

Hunter Clark (29 disposals) and Nicholas Hind (20) continued to find plenty of footy through their inside work, with the latter spending time across the forward line in the second half.

Haphazard forward-50 entries meant Max King was limited to seven touches, but the promising key forward still ended his afternoon with two goals.

The victory was all the more impressive following the loss of Billy Longer at half-time through concussion, leaving the ruck responsibilities to ex-Saint, Sam Gilbert.

Oscar Clavarino was a force down back in the second half, and the young tall looks to have all the makings of a long-term defensive institution for the Saints.

Similarly, Doulton Langlands enjoyed an improved second half to finish with 19 disposals along the wing, while Bailey Rice toiled hard with nine disposals and a goal.

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But among the throng of budding talent, it was Armitage who stood tallest in Sandringham’s resurgence.

The midfield veteran’s combination of inside grunt and outside run helped connect the Zebras all over the ground, as too did his clearance work as he was involved in 21 of the 25 centre bounces.

While he’s yet to break into the senior line-up this season, Armitage’s solid string of form could see him in the selection frame for an international appearance for St Kilda next week.

Sandringham will head to Coburg’s hunting ground, Piranha Park, next Sunday in the hopes of securing its fifth win for the year.

SANDRINGHAM  2.2  4.4  10.5  12.8 (80)
NORTHERN BLUES  5.2  7.2  7.6  10.9 (69)

GOALS
Sandringham:
Fox 3, King 2, Answerth, Armitage, Haidon, Hind, Owens, Rice, Seccull
Northern Blues: Kerr 3, Lebois 2, Owies 2, Keppel, Lang, Setterfield

BEST
Sandringham:
Armitage, Seccull, Fox, Coffield, Clark, Tahana
Northern Blues: Kerr, Fisher, Setterfield, Lebois, Owies, Phillips