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VFL: Saints defenders, Mayo show marked improvement

Sandringham's back six stood tall in the Zebras' 26-point loss to Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. - St Kilda Saints
Sandringham's back six stood tall in the Zebras' 26-point loss to Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.

A look in the mirror following a disappointing showing last week has seen Sandringham piece together a much-improved performance against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.

Brandon White (23 disposals, seven marks) was once again at his fluent best across half-back, headlining a competitive display which saw the Zebras go down 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41).

His trademark long sleeves ensured the defender stood out, but it was a clinic of precise kicking, proficient rebounding and commitment in the air that caught the eye.

The visitors held their own against the Cats for majority of proceedings and generally weathered their opposition’s pressure well, but despite bursts of their own, were eventually overrun in the final term.

Four unanswered majors from Cats – three of which were kicked in the opening five minutes of the last quarter – against Sandringham’s five behinds from 14 entries ultimately spelled the 26-point defeat.

Mid-season draftee Jack Mayo featured in a new role along the wing, utilising his building engine to cover plenty of ground and present as a linking option for his teammates.

Mayo’s unconventional height for a wingman (194cm) allowed him to also serve as a hit-up target for the Zebras coming out of defence.

The 19-year-old finished with 18 disposals, three marks and two tackles in what was the best performance of his six-game career.

But he wasn’t the only one getting his hands on the footy.

Geelong had almost double the amount of possessions in the first term (126-68), but were ultimately limited by Sandringham's defence.

Key defenders Oscar Clavarino and Darragh Joyce reeled in nine marks apiece and were sturdy in the contested plays, while Jonathon Marsh was a notable presence with 18 disposals, seven marks and an impressive running goal to boot.

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Marsh’s three-bounce dash from centre-wing and roost from the arc put the visitors up by 10 points midway through the second term.

And while the goal was greeted with an emphatic celebration, a subsequent inability to hit the scoreboard and capitalise let Sandringham down in the end.

But the positive performances against the Cats outweighed the negatives, particularly in light of the lacklustre showing against North Melbourne the week before.

Sam Rowe did his chances of a senior call-up no harm, amassing 24 hit-outs, 17 disposals and a game-high eight tackles against ruckmen Zac Smith (27 hit-outs) and Darcy Fort (17).

His efforts gave midfielders Doulton Langlands (20 disposals), Stephen Tahana (24), Sam Fox (23) and Sandringham skipper Brede Seccull (27) opportunities to launch from the stoppages.

Robbie Young was assisted off the field midway through the second quarter after copping a knock, but returned to notch up 12 disposals courtesy of additional midfield minutes – something which was seen last week against the Roos.

Sandringham will return to Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval next Saturday at 12:10pm to face the in-form Footscray. 

GEELONG  2.4  4.6  6.7  10.7 (67)
SANDRINGHAM 
2.0  4.3  5.6  5.11 (41)

GOALS
Geelong:
Black 4, Brownless, Fort, Jones, Parsons, Schlensog, Smith
Sandringham:
Batten, Haidon, Marsh, Noone, Seaton

BEST
Geelong:
Constable, Black, Fogarty, Smith, Henderson, Kennerley
Sandringham:
White, Seccull, Rowe, Joyce, Mayo, Marsh, Clavarino