DETAILS: Melbourne v St Kilda
DATE: Saturday 22 January
TIME: 3:10pm (AEDT)
LOCATION: Casey Fields
BROADCAST: Seven Network, Fox Footy and Kayo Sports
TICKETS: Available here
PRIDE ROUND | GAME DAY GUIDE: Available here
LAST TIME WE MET: Round 6, 2021 | Melbourne v St Kilda | Casey Fields
In Round 6 of last season, the Demons were desperate to secure a win after consecutive losses saw them drop outside the top six. This desperation gave them a major kick-start to the game, with a two to zero-goal first term pushing them to an early lead.
This early lead was held for the remainder of the match, with Melbourne dominating majority of the play, excluding a short second-quarter surge from the Saints. Despite the Demons’ inaccuracy in front of goal, their entries inside 50 (40 to 15) helped them reach 21 scoring opportunities in comparison to St Kilda’s seven.
Melbourne finished the day with a 44-point over the Saints, putting them back into the top six and ultimately helping them secure a spot in the 2021 AFLW Finals Series.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Melbourne
Paxman is one of the league’s top competitors, with her powerful skills and running ability among the best. In Melbourne’s win over the Saints in 2021, the tenacious midfielder controlled the play through the centre, registering 24 disposals and two tackles. In season 2022, Paxman really came into her game in last week’s win over Richmond, with 23 disposals, two tackles and one goal. The No.4 will look to use that momentum coming into Saturday’s game against the Saints.
Last season, Pearce’s talent was on display in the Round 6 game, as she came out firing from the very get-go. The No.6 got the Dees on the board early and finished with 13 disposals and two goals. For season 2022, there’s no doubt Pearce has shone in the Demons’ forward line these past two weeks, creating multiple scoring opportunities for not just herself but her fellow teammates, whether that be contested marks or ground-ball gets. A pioneer of the game, Pearce is always a player on the opposition’s radar and this week will be no different.
Heath unfortunately missed last week’s match under the AFL’s Health and Safety Protocols, but if she is available for selection and is named in Melbourne’s Round 3 side, she poses a great threat to St Kilda’s forward line. While she may only stand at 160cm tall, you can’t underestimate the fiery defender, who brings a lot of power to Melbourne’s defence. Providing great run off half-back, Heath could create the needed composure coming out of the back line.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: St Kilda
Vesely had a breakout year in 2020 winning St Kilda’s Best and Fairest Award, highlighted for her talent through stoppages and her ability to win the ball in contest. After missing the 2021 season due to injury, Vesely has returned to her strengths this season, with back-to-back performances in St Kilda’s midfield, currently averaging 15.5 disposals.
The experienced Saints captain has continued to demonstrate why she is a one of the side’s top players. Deemed the best on ground for St Kilda in last season’s match up, Priest knows how to bring control to the team, with her leadership on field important to the side’s dynamic. The 29-year-old had a particularly strong display in Round 2 of the 2022 season, with 16 disposals and four tackles.
Dillon has become a key factor in St Kilda’s midfield ever since the club’s inaugural season back in 2020. The inside-mid brings grit and strength through stoppages, often seen leading the tackles and clearances. Dillon was named among the best in the side’s challenge against Collingwood last weekend, with 14 disposals and three tackles.
COACH'S VIEW: Peter Mercoulia
“In last week’s win, we showed our ability to reset after a slow start, with Richmond kicking two early goals. In previous years, the outcome may have been different, which shows great growth and maturity from the group,” Mercoulia said.
“Looking to this weekend’s game against St Kilda, we’re concentrating on our contest method and our ability to control the ball in offence. The Saints are a well-structured unit, who play forward-half football and the group is very-much looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re also excited to be making our return to Casey Fields for our first home game and even-more so with the opportunity to celebrate Pride Round in front of our Melbourne supporters.”