AFL 2 years ago

St Kilda will beat Collingwood if...

  • St Kilda will beat Collingwood if...

BREAKING NEWS: Nick Riewoldt has been omitted from the St Kilda lineup. He will no longer be lining up as discussed in the "Watch out for..." section.

St Kilda will beat Collingwood if...

The midfield battle will be crucial. The Magpie midfield has struggled in 2015 and St Kilda will want to press home their advantage in the centre.

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The Saints average 11 centre clearances per match, compared to the Magpies' nine. Last weekend the Saints tore apart the Suns' midfield with their hunger for the contest, and if they can maintain that intensity, they'll have a strong chance against Collingwood.

The good news for the Magpies is that they're ranked second for contested possessions, despite their depleted engine room. Additionally, mercurial ruckman Brodie Grundy is a step ahead of the Saints' Billy Longer. If he fires, it'll help a lot to even out the midfield contest.

Collingwood will beat St Kilda if...

The coaches talk about "sharing the load" but the Magpies still rely hugely on key forward Travis Cloke. St Kilda's defence has been a weakness for years and Cloke could easily tear it up.

The big man is notoriously unreliable but can kick five to eight goals when firing. He booted five goals against the Saints last year as the Magpies delivered an 86-point mauling.

For years the Saints have lacked a "gorilla" in defence. (Their tallest defender tonight will be the 194cm Luke Delaney.) If Cloke can exploit this weakness and kick a handful, the Magpies will be hard to stop.

Watch out for...

The emergence of Josh Bruce means that the 'Pies can't just double-team Saints spearhead Nick Riewoldt.

Elevated rookie Jack Frost had the job on Adelaide captain Taylor Walker last week, despite his inexperience. Frost is nimbler than full-back Nathan Brown and coach Nathan Buckley must've figured that agility counted more than experience.

This suggests Jack Frost will take running man Riewoldt and Brown will take man-bun hero Bruce. It'll be a tough assignment for the young Frost and it'll be interesting to see how he handles it.

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