The Saints' Tim Membrey celebrates a goal in his side's 18-point win over Carlton. Image by Michael Dodge/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

Attacking Saints blitz Blues in AFL clash

2020-07-02 23:27:20

St Kilda will leave Victoria as one of the AFL’s in-form teams after downing a slow-starting Carlton by 18 points.

As Melbourne-based teams prepare to relocate to interstate quarantine hubs, the Saints produced another scintillating display under the roof at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night.

After taking care of reigning premiers Richmond last week, St Kilda came out firing with an attacking seven-goal to two first-half to set-up the 11.7 (73) to 8.7 (55) victory.

Despite some brief Blues resistance in the third quarter, they left themselves too much to do and St Kilda kicked away again early in the final term.

Stacked with off-season recruits under new coach Brett Ratten, the Saints have rectified last year’s woes in front of goals and are playing an exciting brand of football AFL fans are crying out for.

“The momentum in games now is shifting so quickly and it is so hard to get back (once it’s gone),” Ratten said.

“If you kick three or four (goals) in five minutes the game’s changed on its head, so it’s really important to maintain your scoreboard pressure.”

Bright young forward Max King converted two solid contested marks during a promising first half, with former Tiger Dan Butler again creating havoc inside-50 to continue his electric start with his new club.

The Saints were buoyed by returning skipper Jarryn Geary slotting multiple majors for just the second time in his 191-game career.

Dashing defender Ben Long brought down two extraordinary marks; one courageous grab running back with the flight of the ball and the other a high-flying Mark of the Year contender.

In a much-anticipated clash between two of the AFL’s big improvers, it was a familiar tale for the Blues, who continued their serious inconsistency within games.

Despite using the ball better and putting in a more determined effort after halftime, David Teague’s team left their run far too late, ensuring all three of their defeats this year have come following disastrous first halves.

“We didn’t play our way. St Kilda jumped us and came out and hit us pretty hard; we were expecting it but didn’t handle it and didn’t respond,” Teague said.

“Our effort was there in the sense we were chasing the ball but we weren’t clean with the ball.”

Co-captain Patrick Cripps, veteran Kade Simpson and Jack Martin were Carlton’s best in a trying night for the Blues.

Carlton veteran Marc Murphy was reported in the last quarter for striking Jake Carlisle but contact with the St Kilda defender’s stomach appeared minor.

The only downer for the Saints was a right hamstring injury to veteran midfielder Dan Hannebery, but Ratten is hopeful it’s not serious.

St Kilda move to 3-2 ahead of a planned game against Geelong next Thursday night, while the result leaves the Blues with a 2-3 record.