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Preview: Saints vs. Blues

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AFL Media's Dinny Navaratnam previews Carlton's Round 8 clash with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium:

Both teams enter this clash with momentum. St Kilda comes in after an exciting win against premiership fancy Greater Western Sydney and will relish the chance to play off an eight-day break, after having only six days off before its previous two matches. Meanwhile, Carlton was thrilled to spoil Collingwood’s 125th anniversary celebration and could bring its season back on to an even keel by posting its fourth victory of the season. The Blues’ defence has stood up well this season, with Caleb Marchbank and Sam Rowe having looked impressive, and will need to be on its game to combat a forward line with multiple threats. Nick Riewoldt, Tim Membrey and Josh Bruce offer marking targets while Jade Gresham and Jack Billings have proven dangerous as small options. Alan Richardson’s midfield stood up against the Giants last week and will again face a tough task, with Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Ed Curnow and Patrick Cripps to offer a stern challenge.


WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday, May 13, 2.10PM AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide


R20, 2016, St Kilda 19.8 (122) d Carlton 7.9 (51) at the MCG
R12, 2016, St Kilda 17.8 (110) d Carlton 12.6 (78) at Etihad Stadium
R4, 2015, Carlton 18.13 (121) d St Kilda 12.9 (81) at Westpac Stadium
R16, 2014, Carlton 24.7 (151) d St Kilda 10.6 (66) at Etihad Stadium
R8, 2014, Carlton 15.11 (101) d St Kilda 9.15 (69) at Etihad Stadium


1. St Kilda controlled the contest from start to finish when these sides last played. Tim Membrey booted five goals while Josh Bruce kicked four. Jack Newnes picked up 37 disposals.

2. Not in Carlton's favour is its clearance work, which is ranked last with 33.3 per game. However, the Saints' numbers have been only slightly higher, ranked equal-13th with an average of 35.9.

3. One advantage for St Kilda could be marking the ball inside 50. It is ranked third with 13.7 per game, well ahead of the Blues, averaging 10.4 per game.

4. In St Kilda's favour is its record against Carlton at Etihad Stadium, winning 13 games to seven despite the Blues winning three of the last four.

5. St Kilda last won three straight games in rounds 16-18 in 2016, while the Blues will be looking for three consecutive wins for the first time since rounds 6-8, 2016.

6. Improved midfielder Seb Ross is ranked No. 76 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, up from No. 167 at the start of the season.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… Billy Longer

The ruckman was very good for the Saints last week, going up against physical Giant Shane Mumford, and will be setting himself for another bruising encounter with Matthew Kreuzer.