Saints too strong for Melbourne
Tight in close ... St Kilda's Jack Steven and Melbourne's James Magner fight for the ball. Photo: Getty Images
ST KILDA 0.1.2 2.6.8 2.8.8 2.10.13 (91)
MELBOURNE 1.2.2 1.3.4 2.5.6 2.7.6 (66)
Nine pointers: St Kilda: J Newnes N Dal Santo. Melbourne: L Dunn N Jones.
Goals: St Kilda: S Milne 2 T Milera 2 J Koschitzke L Hayes N Dal Santo N Riewoldt S Gilbert T Dennis-Lane. Melbourne: J Sellar 2 D Rodan J Hogan J Toumpas L Tapscott S Byrnes.
Umpires: Stuart Wenn, Ben Ryan, Shane McInerney.
Venue: Casey Fields
The stars returned to the St Kilda line-up and helped lead the Saints to a 25-point victory over Melbourne in their pre-season cup match at Casey Fields.
The Saints won the match 2.10.13.(91) to Melbourne's 2.7.6.(66).
Victory was set-up by a dominant second quarter performance, when veteran goalsneak Stephen Milne kicked three goals to help turn around his team's fortunes.
Both teams had chosen to rest players in the hot conditions, but captain Nick Riewoldt and star midfielder Lenny Hayes both played their first pre-season match this year for the Saints.
It was the Demons who started better in the tough conditions.
Ruckman Mark Jamar grabbed control of the ruck early and was able to give his midfield first use of the ball. Recruits Shannon Byrnes and Cameron Pedersen were productive early and the Demons quickly shot out to a 22-point lead.
St Kilda by contrast looked rusty in the first quater.
They turned the ball over in the backline and their kicking out of defence was poor early in the game. Melbourne had the benefit of a hot wind behind their backs in the first term, and Lynden Dunn used it to good effect to kick a super-goal after a strong mark.
Trailing by 15 points after the first quarter, some of the Saints more experienced players stood up in the second.
As well as Milne, the likes of Hayes and Leigh Montagna became influential in the game.
The Saints kicked two supergoals through Jack Newnes and former Swan Dennis Trent-Lane to give them a 31-point lead at the main break.
The predicted stifling conditions forced the AFL to relax the rules around the interchange bench with teams allowed unlimited interchange rotations and six players to come off the bench.
The game slowed down after half time and scoring became more difficult in the hot conditions.
Melbourne controlled much of the play in the second half but the Saints were able to counter any attack.