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AFL ROUND 6 – HAWTHORN vs. ST KILDA

 

Hawthorn (15th) vs. St Kilda (11th)

University of Tasmania Stadium

Saturday, April 29, 1.45pm (AEST)

BY MICHAEL RAMSEY

St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt booted his 700th AFL goal as the Saints handed Hawthorn a 75-point thrashing in Saturday’s clash in Launceston.

The dominant Saints piled on eight goals to one in the third quarter on their way to a 19.16 (130) to 8.7 (55) win before a crowd of 15,571 at York Park.

Hawthorn went into the clash boasting a 19-game winning streak at their Launceston fortress – it was five years to the day since they were last beaten there, going down to Sydney by 37 points.

But such dominance looked like a distant memory for the hapless Hawks, whose lack of pressure and dreadful skills would surely be raising alarm bells for coach Alastair Clarkson.

There was plenty to like for St Kilda, who led by 22 points at halftime but deserved to be further ahead with twice as many scoring shots.

The Saints corrected their wayward goalkicking after the break, with Riewoldt reaching the 700-goal milestone with a clever snap around his body.

It was the start of an ugly quarter for the Hawks, who conceded seven straight majors as St Kilda ball magnets Jack Steven, Seb Ross and Dylan Roberton repeatedly hit targets over the back of the Hawks defence.

The statistics at three-quarter time made for damning reading – the Hawks had 67 fewer disposals, 18 fewer tackles and 14 fewer inside-50s.

Riewoldt finished with four goals, while former Western Bulldogs midfielder Koby Stevens had two majors and 28 touches in his Saints debut.

Hawthorn ruckman Ben McEvoy had two goals and 26 hitouts, while off-season recruit Tom Mitchell fought hard to finish with 35 disposals.

But the Hawks barely resembled the side that belted West Coast by 50 points at the MCG last week, and questions are bound to be raised about a number of key players.

Star recruit Jaeger O’Meara returned after a fortnight on the sidelines with a knee complaint but looked well off the pace, finishing with just 14 disposals.

Jack Gunston, Luke Breust, Josh Gibson and Isaac Smith were among the Hawks’ premiership players who struggled to make an impact.

Breust and Gunston both hit the scoreboard late but it will be cold comfort for the 1-5 Hawks, whose hopes of making the finals are slipping away fast.

© AAP 2017

ST KILDA 3.5 6.8 14.13 19.16 (130)

HAWTHORN 2.1 3.4 4.5 8.7 (55)

Goals: St Kilda: N Riewoldt 4 J Bruce 3 T Membrey 3 D Roberton 2 J Gresham 2 K Stevens 2 M Weller 2 J Carlisle. Hawthorn: B McEvoy 2 D Howe J Gunston J Sicily L Breust T Mitchell T O’Brien.

Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Matt Stevic, Nicholas Foot.

Official Crowd: 15,571 at Aurora Stadium.