St Kilda Saints dig deep to hold off GWS Giants, notch five straight wins

Greene only had eight touches to half-time, but that included five score involvements, two intercepts and three shots at goal for 1.2. But the Giants just didn’t have enough forward-50 supply in the second half to allow Greene to have a greater influence.

It was a mixed night for St Kilda’s small forward Higgins, who also had 1.2 to his name in the first half, which included two missed set shots from within 20 metres. But he kicked three important goals in the third term, to give his side back the lead, and was arguably the best player on the ground by night’s end.

St Kilda’s marquee forward Max King threatened to blow open the game, but had a wayward night in front of the sticks, finishing with 1.7.

Dissent rule tested

After the AFL’s footy operations boss Brad Scott made it clear that umpires would crack down on abuse, it took just minutes for the shored-up interpretation to come under scrutiny.

Preuss was called for holding the man, after having a fist full of Marshall’s jumper in a boundary throw-in ruck contest near the Saints goal. The infringement was clear, but Preuss looked ready to quiz the umpire before deciding to put his hands on his head and accept the decision.

The umpires then overlooked a potential infringement for dissent by Ben Long after he was penalised for a dangerous tackle. Long expressed his displeasure at being pinged, before also taming his reaction.

Daniel McKenzie was the first to get penalised for dissent in the second quarter, after he gestured towards the ground, trying to argue that the ball had hit the ground in a marking contest paid to Callan Ward. The umpire paid a 50-metre penalty, which led to a Giants goal.

Saints champion and commentator Nick Riewoldt described the inconsistencies as a “farce” during Fox Footy’s half-time coverage.

Young gun injured

Mature-age recruit Hayes suffered an ACL tear in the opening term, which could mark the end of his first season in the league.

The 26-year-old’s knee appeared to give way in a marking contest with Nick Haynes, and the Saint tried to play on, but his left knee again appeared to shift inwards when he tried to stop suddenly on the mark in front of his bench.

The tall forward was substituted out for Jarrod Lienert before quarter-time, with Josh Battle forced into the ruck in the second half.

GWS Giants 3.4, 7.7, 7.9, 8.12 (60)
St Kilda 4.5, 5.8, 9.12, 10.17 (77)
Goals: Giants: M Flynn, C Ward 2, T Greene, B Hill, H Himmelberg, B Preuss. Saints: J Higgins 4, B Crouch, J Gresham, J Hayes, M King, R Marshall.
Best: Giants: B Preuss, M Flynn, C Ward, J Kelly, N Haynes. St Kilda: J Higgins, J Steele, J Sinclair, M King, J Battle

8 – Jack Higgins (St Kilda)
7 – Jack Steele (St Kilda)
7 – Jack Sinclair (St Kilda)
7 – Brayden Preuss (GWS Giants)
7 – Matt Flynn (GWS Giants)

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