Sunday, May 8, 2016, 3.20pm AEST, Etihad Stadium, watch on Fox Footy
St Kilda Saints: 12th
North Melbourne Kangaroos: Top
St Kilda Saints: 2-4
North Melbourne Kangaroos: 6-0
Last five match results
St Kilda Saints: LWLLW
North Melbourne Kangaroos: WWWWW
St Kilda Saints: $3.20 with Sportsbet.com.au
North Melbourne Kangaroos: $1.35 with Sportsbet.com.au
St Kilda Saints: +21.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
North Melbourne Kangaroos: -21.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
ARE North Melbourne finally the real deal?
That’s the question on every one’s lips after the Kangaroos’ stunning unbeaten start to AFL 2016.
And the developing St Kilda is just starting to make heads turn with a spritely win over Melbourne on the weekend.
A pair of key men at the peak of their powers are helping drive the two clubs in in 2016.
A quiet couple of weeks for the Saint they call Joey was preceded by four absolute pearlers to start season 2016, featuring games of 31, 29 and 27 touches, to go with a mammoth 40 possession performance against Collingwood.
The Saints tend to go as Leigh Montagna goes. When he plays well, they tend to win.
He is a ball magnet and, after back to back games of only 21 disposals, we are expecting him to be fired up and back to his best, relishing the challenge against an undefeated top of the table opponent.
Montagna took a long time to get going in his career, struggling to find the footy for three and a half seasons, but his average of a tick under 24 disposals against the Roos looks far more impressive if you remove his first couple of years.
And he had a blinder against them last season, racking up 18 kicks and 13 handballs on his way to 33 disposals in round 20.
He is $2.20 to snare 30 or more disposals and we feel like this is just about a lock for the gut running bull.
North Melbourne’s forgotten man Daniel Wells has been a revelation.
After two injury riddled seasons, including only two games in 2015, many had written off the wily midfielder as a spent force.
But he has been the cream on the top for the Kangaroos this season, and was perhaps their best player against the Western Bulldogs last weekend, gathering 27 disposals as he roamed all over the field, doing plenty of damage.
He has had 25, 16 and 17 in the past three weeks and looks primed to continue what is fast becoming a vintage season, harking back to 2011-13 when he was one of the best midfielders in the game.
He is $2.05 with Sportsbet.com.au to have more than 25 disposals and, with the Roos huge spread of midfielders very difficult to put a leash on. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, he is $9 to have 30 or more touches, but that feels a little short, considering he has not achieved that since round 20 in 2013.
Pick your own disposal markets
20 or more disposals ($1.01)
25 or more disposals ($1.22)
30 or more disposals ($2.20)
35 or more disposals ($6.40)
40 or more disposals ($13)
20 or more disposals ($1.15)
25 or more disposals ($2.05)
30 or more disposals ($9)
35 or more disposals ($25)
40 or more disposals (101)
Odds provided by sportsbet.com.au
Match winner: North Melbourne Kangaroos to win ($1.35 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Line: North Melbourne Kangaroos -21.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
For all the good efforts of the Saints, they are still a work in progress. North wants every one to believe they are the real deal and, for that to happen, they need to put the Saints in their place and absolutely whack them in this one. We love the gritty young Saints, with the likes of Luke Dunstan, Seb Ross and Jack Billings improving in leaps and bounds. But the more seasoned Kangaroos will be more than primed for this one as they look to be the first North Melbourne side to start the season with seven straight wins since 1979. They have enjoyed much success against the Saints in recent times, too, winning each of their past four matches – by an average of 50 points. The last time the Saints saluted was way back in 2011, where they hammered the Roos by 10 goals. There is no way that is going to happen, with the likes of spearhead Jarrad Waite and old stager Brent Harvey in the form of their lives. We also pity the Saints ruckman, with All Australian tap man Todd Goldstein backing up from a stinker against the Doggies. He only had eight disposals, but North was able to overcome that to win the match and we simply can’t see him lowering his standards so poorly again in this one. The line of 21.5 looks generous for the Roos, given the recent results between these two teams. Even though the Saints have definitely improved on last season, they are still along way off the mark the Kangaroos have set and will be hard pressed to get within six goals of their opponents.
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