ST KILDA has recorded a comprehensive 64-point victory over Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
The Saints relegated the Blues to their 49th consecutive score of under 100 points in a barnstorming eight-goal-to-two second half.
They celebrated their fourth win for the season with a 16.20 (116) to 7.10 (52) score line, with Carlton in trouble from the moment it lost ruckman Matthew Kreuzer to a mystery ailment nine minutes into the game.
Kreuzer, wearing a helmet after his recent brush with concussion, was unable to catch his breath after being tackled and was treated by the emergency physician in the rooms.
While he stabilised and avoided an immediate trip to hospital, he took no further part in the game and the cause remained unknown.
The Saints also had injury issues with Jimmy Webster (groin) failing to finish and Jake Carlisle treated after concern with his ribs, although he did come back on.
There was no love lost between the sides following on from the infamous Carlisle/Marc Murphy sledging controversy in Round 8 last year, with the game punctuated with scuffles.
Carlisle was centre of a few, but Jed Lamb will lose the most sleep over an action on Jade Gresham in the first quarter where the Blue made vigorous contact to his opponent’s face.
However, it was Kreuzer’s absence that caused Brendon Bolton the biggest headache.
Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow had first crack at Tom Hickey, which saw Patrick Cripps spend time forward, but by quarter-time it was evident the combination was robbing the Blues of both firepower and midfield drive.
So, after the first break when the Saints were eight-points clear and Sam Gilbert had used two intercept possessions to contribute to two goals, Bolton changed things up.
Defender Liam Jones left his opponent Rowan Marshall, who was solid in his eighth AFL game, and rotated with Sam Rowe against Hickey.
In response, Curnow kicked a goal and McKay – who put in an encouraging performance all up – nearly did before the main break, but with Jack Steven, Luke Dunstan and Jack Steele having monster quarters, the Blues struggled for consistent delivery inside 50.
In fact, it dried up all together after that with the Saints piling on 37 entries to 16 after the main break.
Such was its dominance with the ball, St Kilda got away with inaccuracy in front of goal that saw it kick more behinds than goals for the 12th time this season.
Their 23-point half-time lead turned into 54 by the final change, courtesy of a six-goal-to-one quarter where Steven and Jack Billings kicked two each.
Steven was the Saints’ best with 33 possessions and eight marks, while Steele struggled to curtail midfield bull Cripps, but put together an impressive offensive game instead.
Luke Dunstan overcame early concussion issues to collect 28 possessions, David Armitage was a big factor in driving them into attack and Billings showed his class.
Ed Curnow and Jones were the leading tacklers for the Blues with six each, but overall it was an area they let themselves down in as the Saints recorded 77 to 53 across the four quarters.
More to come.
ST KILDA 4.5 8.10 14.14 16.20 (116)
CARLTON 3.3 5.5 6.8 7.10 (52)
St Kilda: Membrey 3, Newnes 3, Marshall 2, Billings 2, Steven 2, Lonie, Sinclair, Steele, Weller
Carlton: Cripps, C.Curnow, Fisher, Kennedy, Pickett, Thomas, Simpson
St Kilda: Steven, Steele, Billings, Sinclair, Newnes, Membrey, Armitage, Dunstan
Carlton: Cripps, Fisher, Murphy, E.Curnow
St Kilda: Ross (illness) replaced in selected side by Rice, Webster (groin)
Carlton: Kreuzer (ribs)
Umpires: Dalgleish, Stevic, Gianfagna
Official crowd: 33,780 at Etihad Stadium
Source: Carlton Blues website