A brilliant five-goal display from Nick Riewoldt helped St Kilda outlast the improving Greater Western Sydney by seven points in Saturday’s AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.
The Saints claimed victory 15.5 (95) to 13.10 (88) to remain unbeaten after two rounds, while the Giants narrowly failed to match their winning form of round one when they upset Sydney.
Eighteen-year-old second-game player Eli Templeton calmly kicked his second goal from 40 metres out at the 24-minute mark of the final term to put the Saints seven points ahead.
The Giants did much of the attacking in the last five minutes but failed to score.
Five points up at three-quarter time, the Saints kicked three goals to the visiting side’s two in the final term.
Small forward Devon Smith booted five goals for the Giants and ruck/forward Jonathan Giles kicked four majors. Key forward Jeremy Cameron kicked only one goal for the visitors.
St Kilda’s David Armitage grabbed a possible mark of the year amongst a pack of players at the seven-minute mark of the first term, clutching the ball to his chest before landing heavily on his back. Fittingly the left-footer slotted through the goal from 50 metres out.
GWS scored four of the first six goals but the Saints booted the last three of the first quarter and moved clear by four points, 5.0 (30) to 4.2 (26).
The Giants outscored St Kilda five goals to three in the second quarter to jump out to an eight-point advantage at halftime, 9.3 (57) to 8.1 (49).
Smith’s fourth goal midway through the third term gave the Giants a 20-point lead.
But Riewoldt.booted two goals in two minutes as the Saints scored four in six minutes to reclaim the lead late in the third term and hold sway by five points at three-quarter time.
Riewoldt’s fifth goal in the second minute of the final term, after a deliberate out-of-bounds penalty was paid against Heath Shaw, was followed by a Luke Dunstan goal which was the Saints’ sixth in a row.
Goals to Giants’ pair Giles and Smith kept the Giants in the game but they lacked scoring firepower late in the contest.
Armitage and Clint Jones were busy for the Saints and Callan Ward was a strong contributor for the Giants alongside big men Shane Mumford and Giles, who kicked four goals.