Jack Lonie has made a successful return from injury in Sandringham’s loss to North Melbourne.
The important forward bagged three goals in his first game back from a knee injury that threatened to curtail his entire season.
Lonie slotted three of his side’s five goals, and could have nailed two others despite the Zebras falling to a slick North Melbourne outfit 14.14 (98) to 5.11 (41).
Jonathon Marsh and Brandon White were others to stand tall for Sandringham, but found themselves under siege as the Zebras suffered without a key forward in attack.
Marsh notched up a game-high 14 marks, while White’s 23 disposals (20 kicks) and five marks were the product of being tried in various positions throughout the day.
Darragh Joyce (14 disposals, five marks) fought on despite being ill, while Bailey Rice finished with 20 possessions, playing in a variety of positions as the Zebras tried in vain to find a target up forward.
Coach Aaron Hamill was full of praise for Rice who never gave an inch despite the lop-sided scoreboard.
Robbie Young bounced back following a quiet outing against Richmond, spending time through the midfield to finish with 14 touches and four tackles, while Sam Rowe competed well in the ruck despite giving away plenty of size to North’s Tom Campbell.
Although a disappointing day for Hamill’s men, the return of Lonie provided some positivity.
Lonie had been sidelined for over 10 weeks after sustaining medial damage to the lateral side of his right knee.
Prior to his injury, the 22-year-old had booted six goals and averaged four score involvements per game, with his harrowing presence at ground level a major asset to the Saints’ attack.
Sandringham will be desperate to bounce back next Saturday against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, with the game serving as a curtain-raiser to St Kilda’s clash with the top-of-the-table Cats.
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.2 7.6 11.12 14.14 (98)
SANDRINGHAM 2.1 3.4 5.6 5.11 (41)
North Melbourne: Taylor 4, Morrison 3, Rippon 3, Garner 2, Campbell, Xerri
Sandringham: Lonie 3, Answerth, Rice
North Melbourne: Taylor, Holmes, Campbell, Garner, Rippon, Morrison
Sandringham: Lonie, White, Marsh, Seccull, Rice, Young