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VFLW: Southern Saints power home

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 05:  Southern Saints coach Peta Searle speaks to her players during the round one VFLW match between the Southern Saints and Collingwood Magpies at RSEA Park on May 05, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/Getty Images)
The Southern Saints have recorded their third straight win in an impressive 28-point victory over Melbourne Uni.

The Southern Saints have surged into fourth place on the VFLW ladder, with just percentage edging them out of third.

Peta Searle's side recorded their third straight win in an impressive 28-point victory over Melbourne Uni at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday

Kate Shierlaw put in a stellar effort up forward, slotting two pivotal goals for the home side.

Caitlin Grieser also kicked two, taking her season total to seven from five games and earning her the title of fourth-highest goal scorer in the competition.

Also imposing were Jacqui Vogt and Leah Olsen, who lifted the Saints after a sluggish first half to help their side run out to a 6.13 (49) to 3.3 (21) victory.

It was the away side who had the better of the play in the opening term, beating the Saints to the ball and winning far more of the contest through the middle.

Things looked to be heading south when pivotal midfielder Samantha Johnson went down to injury within minutes of the first bounce, but confidence was restored soon after when Shierlaw managed to put her first away.

The lead was short lived however, with Melbourne firing back with a goal of their own at the nine-minute mark to tie the scores.

The second quarter saw both defences holding strong but Melbourne’s managing to come out on top, nabbing a second goal and securing a five-point lead just before half time.

The Saints came out of the blocks hard in the third term, ready to seize back control.

Greiser slipped in a brilliant shot from a tight angle, before goals from Vogt and Shierlaw in quick succession cemented a strong lead.

Formidable in defence, the Saints conceded not a single point to the Uni side all quarter, heading into three quarter time with a 17-point lead and the match well and truly back on their terms.

Melbourne Uni slotted one early in the fourth, but the Saints held firm, hitting back with two unanswered goals from Grieser and Owen to secure a comfortable victory.

Head coach Peta Searle attributed the team’s success to their ability to refocus and increase their determination following an average first quarter.

“Especially in the first 10 minutes, our ball use wasn’t the best. We were playing into their hands a bit and just weren’t making the most of the intercepts that we were getting,” she said.

“But after speaking a bit about it at quarter time we managed to start winning the ball and probably halved the contests.”

“In the third quarter we had at least six marks inside our 50 which is pretty impressive for any level of footy.” 

“We knew that they would challenge us, but our structure and communication behind the ball was really good.”

Next week the Saints take on Hawthorn in what Searle is sure will be an interesting match up.

“They’ve got some really strong, physical players and that’s probably not our strongest point at the moment,” she said.

“We need to get back to the drawing board this week and continue to work on the things that we’ve been working on.”

“Our physicality and tackling are areas for improvement, and that will be really important against such a physical side next week.”