Saints focused on spoiling Harvey’s party

St Kilda have their own motivation to prevent North Melbourne veteran Brent Harvey celebrating his record-breaking game with a victory at Etihad Stadium.

The ninth-placed Saints’ seven consecutive wins at the venue this season leaves them poised to grab a finals place if a top eight occupant like the Kangaroos slip up in the next month.

“There’s no doubt this game, if we can part the milestone significance, there’s a bit more in it for both teams,” Saints coach Alan Richardson said.

“It’s an opportunity for them to cement a position and for us to stay alive in that space. That has really been our focus.”

Richardson is historically linked to Harvey’s AFL record 427th game on Saturday night. He played the last of his 114 games with Collingwood when the teenage Roo debuted in round 22, 1996.

“He has been incredibly resilient, he’s a very driven footballer that has clearly got the best out of himself and continues to play really strong footy,” Richardson said.

“Our plan is to try to spoil the party in many ways, but at the same time respect how fantastic he has been for the game and for the North Melbourne footy club.”

Richardson said it was critical his Saints again deliver the fierce pressure that unhinged the Western Bulldogs last round, particularly to deny supply to North’s tall targets Drew Petrie, Ben Brown and the returning Jarrad Waite.

“We’re really pleased the way the backs have been going.” he said.

“The Kangaroos do pose a threat with three big fellows (up forward) and Jarrad back in the team and Drew back in some reasonable form last week.

“We spoke at the meetings that we’re going to be undersized if we don’t get pressure on the ball.

“That’s something that has been pleasing, our ability to put pressure on the opposition and we’re going to need it again.

“It’s the most exciting opportunity we’ve had. If we get a positive result, the noise continues.”

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