Sun, Apr 10, 10:06am by Kevin Pitstock
When and Where:
4.40pm at Etihad Stadium
St Kilda – 63
Essendon – 137
Draws – 4
Last Time They Met:
Essendon 16.12 (108) d St Kilda 11.9 (75), round 18, 2010 at Etihad Stadium
Essendon – WL
St Kilda – LD
Current Ladder Positions:
St Kilda – 11th (1-1-0)
Essendon – 9th (1-1)
When in full flight, Nick Dal Santo is one of the most damaging players in the competition. The 27-year-old moves across the ground smoother than a baby’s bottom and his efficiency by foot, especially heading inside forward 50, is crucial to his team’s success. Dal Santo has begun 2011 well with 22 and 30 disposals against the Tigers and the Cats respectively. But with Lenny Hayes out for the rest of the season, he needs to perform at peak level today.
Look up ‘ball magnet’ in the Oxford dictionary and Brent Stanton is your definition. The midfielder has an enormous tank, which allows him to run all match and get to as many contests as possible. It seems as though Stanton has improved his kicking accuracy over the summer, so the more ball he gets today, the more likely the Bombers win.
St Kilda Team Changes:
IN – Adam Schneider, Jack Steven, Rhys Stanley and Alistair Smith
OUT – Steven Baker (foot), Lenny Hayes (knee), Jason Blake and Daniel Archer
Essendon Team Changes:
IN – Angus Monfries
OUT – David Myers (hand)
ST KILDA – Alistair Smith (20, Perth)
From a pure on-field perspective, this is the game of the round.
After Friday night’s inexcusable draw to Richmond, footy experts have raised serious concerns about the Saints, who currently sit in 11th spot with one draw and one loss. Some harsh critics believe they are a weak side, while others think they could miss the top eight if they continue playing the way they are.
With star midfielder Hayes out for the rest of the season due to a tragic knee injury, the Saints need to inject some youth into the side, an argument supported by senior player Jason Gram. And that’s exactly what they’ve done at the selection table, with Stanley, Smith and Steven all coming into the side.
The Bombers were brought back to reality against the Swans last week. They led by five goals at one stage, but were outplayed by an inspired Sydney outfit. Only two players gathered 20 or more disposals, mainly because of the Swans’ excellent ability to deny them the ball.
On a positive note, first round Rising Star nominee Dyson Heppell impressed again with 21 touches, while Jobe Watson continued to show his improvement as both a player and a leader.
The Bombers have had the wood over St Kilda in recent years. They have won the past three matches and eliminated St Kilda from this season’s NAB Cup competition as well. However the Saints have a lot to prove on Sunday night and will be keen to announce to the rest of the competition they are still a force to reckon with. It should be a close game, but you get the feeling the Saints might pull a special performance out when they need it the most.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
St Kilda by 1-39 points ($2.48 – Centrebet)
Also Sportingbet Australia is doing a first goal scorer special on the AFL, on top of the usual first goal scorer payout. If your first goal scorer bet scores the second goal, the guys at Sportingbet will pay you out as well! If he kicks the first two, they will pay you double! Get on!
Other Suggested Bets:
First Goal Scorer – Stephen Milne ($10.00 – Sportingbet)
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