Saints butcher big chance against Collingwood
ST KILDA coach Alan Richardson has every reason to be furious.
With Collingwood having lost two stars (Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore) before the match, and with another important defender (Tom Langdon) ruled out with a knee injury at half-time, the Saints won't get many better chances to claim the scalp of one of the leading premiership fancies of 2019.
And, at times, particularly during the second term, Richardson's side looked to be having the better of the Magpies, spreading faster and quicker than the opposition.
But time and again - as is so often the case with the Saints - they butchered the ball going inside 50m, and couldn't take advantage of their ascendency during that quarter.
In essence, they left the door ajar, and in a final term that would have delighted coach Nathan Buckley, the Magpies barged through like a steam-train.
After leading narrowly by five points at the last change, Collingwood produced a stunning six goal to one final term that showed just what Buckley's side can do when they get a headful of steam.
Ben Reid nailed three goals to keep his hand in the selection ring, given Mason Cox is yet to return; Brody Mihocek nailed four majors; Steele Sidebottom was outstanding; Brodie Grundy overpowered Rowan Marshall; and Jaidyn Stephenson showed why a torpedo goal from 60m is still one of the game's most thrilling aspects.
The final margin was 41 points, which Magpie fans wouldn't have dreamed of during a scrappy, tight first half.
Saints fans - and their coach - would still be cursing a second term that could have put an early margin on the Magpies.
FIFTEEN WASTED MINUTES
There was no better example of St Kilda's waste than a 15-minute period during the mid-section of the second term.
The Saints had 15 consecutive inside 50s from the seven minute-mark of the second term to the 21 minute-mark for a miserly return of 1.4.
Too often this year the Saints have dominated general play at stages in games but left the door ajar the opposition.
RO V BRO
There was plenty of pre-game attention on the ruck battle between All-Australian Grundy and the one-time rookie Saint Rowan Marshall.
Marshall stirred Grundy's competitive juices when he outmarked him and scored an important goal from 50m during the second term.
It seemed to be the very thing the Magpie big man needed. From that moment on, he set about almost transforming the game and turned on another masterclass performance to inspire his team to an emphatic victory.
Grundy had 24 disposals and a whopping 49 hit-outs as he gave the young Saint a lesson in how to run out a game.
TRAV IN TROUBLE?
Collingwood forward Travis Varcoe faces a stint on the sidelines after being reported for a head-high bump on St Kilda's Ed Phillips, which also inadvertently collected Phillips' brother Tom during the first quarter.
Varcoe spoke eloquently during the week about his desire to wear the club's indigenous jumper over the next two weeks in honour of his late sister Maggie, who died last year after a freak football accident.
But the 31-year-old is unlikely to get the chance to take on Sydney at the SCG next week - and potentially Fremantle at the MCG - with his fate in the hands of the match review officer Michael Christian.
Ed Phillips had his head down low on the half back line near the end of the opening term when Varcoe crashed through.
The young Saint was immediately taken from the field for a concussion test as Varcoe had his number taken.
The only bit of good news for Varcoe was that Phillips passed his concussion test and was able to enter the game again, which could have a bearing on what sort of penalty the Magpie might receive in coming days.
The act could fall under rough conduct.
Depending on how it is classified by Christian - and whether it is deemed that he elected to bump - Varcoe could face up to a two-match penalty.
That would only be if it is graded as intentional conduct that was high - it would be either one or two matches depending on if it ticks low or medium impact.
If it is deemed to be careless, it will be either one game or a fine depending on whether it is medium or low impact.
Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said Varcoe could argue he had his hands down to contest the disputed ball even though he went past it at speed.
"The other thing in his favour is Phillips gets up and says 'I'm OK, I'm OK'.
"So there's a couple of things that will go in the discussion of whether he's guilty or not."
Varcoe didn't let the report affect him, kicking an early goal for the Magpies in the second quarter from a set shot.
COLLINGWOOD 17.10 (112) BT ST KILDA 10.11 (71)
Goals: Collingwood: B Mihocek 4 B Reid 3 J Stephenson 3 J Thomas 2 S Sidebottom 2 T Varcoe 2 W Hoskin-Elliott. St Kilda: T Membrey 4 R Young 2 J Battle J BruceR Marshall S Savage.
Umpires: Simon Meredith, Robert Findlay, Andre Gianfagna.
Official Crowd: 60,702 at MCG.