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Dons beaten by Saints

Highlights | Rd 2 The Bombers and Saints go head to head in round two.

St Kilda has defied expectations to start the season 2-0 after an 11-point win against a lacklustre Essendon outfit at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

The Saints set up well defensively to stop the free-flowing run the Bombers possess when on song, recording a 10.16 (76) to 9.11 (65) victory.

Costly blunders littered Essendon's play. Late in the opening term, Kyle Langford conceded a free kick to Jack Lonie but instead of manning the mark, he and Matt Guelfi ran to the bench.

That allowed Lonie to play on and run down the wing.

Then, deep in defence, Aaron Francis kicked the ball straight into Michael Hurley.

A couple of established stars in Dylan Shiel and David Zaharakis let Jack Steele slip through their respective tackles in the second term, allowing him to set up a Luke Dunstan goal.

Minutes later, Matthew Parker marked about 30m out but with Darcy Parish not paying attention on the mark, the Saint bolted in and booted it through from a metre out.

Another piece of play in that quarter saw Zaharakis and Andrew McGrath collide into each other when one should have marked and had a set shot.

For the Saints, Josh Bruce showed what his club had missed last year when injuries meant he was barely seen.

He has returned with a vengeance, starting 2019 in terrific form and pulling off a brilliant mark over Hurley.

Mercurial Bomber Jake Stringer stood up for his team, looking dangerous and snapping his side's first goal for the match, nine minutes into the second term.

Speedy Essendon forward Orazio Fantasia will rue his inaccuracy, finishing with four behinds, including a missed shot on the run early in the final term that would have given his side all the momentum.

The Saints' goalkicking woes from the past two years continued in the opening term. Jack Sinclair, Steele, Tim Membrey and Jack Billings were the chief culprits and their side should have led by more than 17 at the first change.

Steele showed his defensive prowess though, helping nullify the influence of Shiel and Zach Merrett, and Sinclair had some important moments.

Several scuffles broke out throughout the contest and Match Review Officer Michael Christian could find opportunity to dish out a few fines, while Dean Kent will be looked at for a high spoil on Francis in the third term.

The patch of re-laid turf in front of the interchange benches appeared to hold up well, but whether it holds up well on Sunday when North Melbourne and Brisbane clash will be the real test.

MEDICAL ROOM
Essendon: Stringer went off in the third term after hurting his right ankle but came back on to the ground later that quarter. McGrath lay on the ground early in the final term after copping a huge, and fair, hit from Parker, but eventually jogged off the ground and came back later on. 

St Kilda: Ruckman Rowan Marshall went to the bench in the fourth quarter with a right calf problem, but he returned to the field.

NEXT UP

Essendon will try to revive its season when it takes on Melbourne next Friday night at the MCG. St Kilda will try to make it three wins in a row when it flies across the country to face Fremantle at Optus Stadium from 3.20pm AWST the following day.

ESSENDON     0.2     4.5      7.8       9.11      (65)
ST KILDA        2.7     7.9     8.12     10.16     (76) 

GOALS
Essendon: 
Heppell 2, Baguley, Bellchambers, Myers, Brown, Smith, Stringer, McKernan
St Kilda: Membrey 2, Bruce 2, Gresham 2, Dunstan, Kent, Parker, Sinclair 

BEST 
Essendon: 
Stringer, McGrath, Hurley, Francis, Heppell
St Kilda: Gresham, Steele, Bruce, Ross, Sinclair, Newnes 

INJURIES 
Essendon: 
Nil
St Kilda: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Stephens, Hosking 

Official crowd: 44,252 at Marvel Stadium