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Blues readying for 'contender' St Kilda

Ben McKay, AAP  May 12, 2017 12:37 PM

Bolton talks St Kilda and inclusions Brendon Bolton spoke to the media at Ikon Park this morning as the boys prepare for this weekend's clash with St Kilda.

Brendon Bolton is preparing Carlton to face a premiership contender on Saturday when it plays St Kilda.

That's how highly the Blues coach rates the emerging Saints ahead of their Etihad Stadium clash.

"They've built their list really well and they've got a good balance between offence and defence," Bolton said on Friday.

"That balance says they're going to be a contender.

"They have many and varied strengths. They intercept the ball well in defence and rebound well.

"They've got really good midfield depth, which is using the ball really well forward of centre. As a result they're scoring well.

"They'll give us a real challenge this week which we're looking forward to. I've got a lot of respect for them."
 

Bolton's flattery might have its genesis in two head-to-head meetings with Alan Richardson's side.

In the pre-season, St Kilda defeated the Blues by 92 points. Last year, the Saints' 32-point win in Round 12 understated their dominance.

But on the evidence of the last fortnight, St Kilda should bring a healthy dose of respect to Docklands as well.

The Blues have impressed in earning back-to-back wins over Sydney and Collingwood.

"It's more validation we're heading in the right direction," Bolton said.

"But we can't be blinded by two wins of late. We've still got a lot of work to do.

"You saw a really determined St Kilda beat a really talented side in the GWS (last week) so we're under no illusions it's going to be a big contest."

The Blues have recalled teenagers Zac Fisher and Jack Silvagni in place of more experienced duo Sam Kerridge and Billie Smedts.

St Kilda has also made two changes, with Koby Stevens suspended and Nathan Wright dropped.

Richardson has brought in hard-nut duo Mav Weller and Luke Dunstan.

As a result, the Blues will once again give away significant years in experience to their opponents.

The upside of fielding young players was on display against Collingwood in the form of Samo Petrevski-Seton.

'Samo' won a Rising Star nomination for a best afield performance but has pleased Bolton most with his off-field attitude.

"He did play a really special quarter last week," the coach said.

"The one thing I want to emphasise about Samo and a lot of our first-year players is they've got real gratitude.

"Samo, from where he's come from to now, just oozes gratitude. That's a great value and one we want right through our footy club."