St Kilda sizzle in 3rd term to beat Dons

Josh Bruce helped St Kilda kick clear in the third term and record a 46-point win over Essendon in Sunday’s AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.

The Bombers, fresh from their remarkable second-half surge against North Melbourne, were competitive throughout the opening half and threatened to cause an upset.

But Bruce lifted after halftime, helping the Saints pile on six consecutive goals as they took control of the contest and prevailed 16.13 (109) to 9.9 (63).

Bruce, Paddy McCartin and Tim Membrey kicked a combined total of seven goals in the third quarter.

Bruce finished with five goals, while Jack Steven tallied a game-high 40 disposals for the winners.

Saints coach Alan Richardson will be thrilled with the way his key forwards clicked, given the entire side managed three goals in their preceding loss to West Coast.

But a scrappy opening half is likely to worry Richardson, likewise a couple of undisciplined elbows from veteran Leigh Montagna.

Montagna is set to be scrutinised by the match review panel, having prompted a scuffle in the second term when he lashed out at Mark Baguley after being tackled without the ball.

A total of nine behinds were kicked in the first quarter, a sloppy start to an error-riddled contest.

The Saints conceded the opening goal, when Joe Daniher converted after clutching a contested mark.

St Kilda regained the lead in the 14th minute of the first term and never relinquished it, although their buffer was in single figures for most of the opening half.

Saints Steven, Seb Ross, Luke Dunstan and Nick Riewoldt all got plenty of the ball and used it well.

Ross, who re-signed with St Kilda last week, challenged Steven for best-on-ground honours and was responsible for one of the game’s highlights.

Ross conjured a goal from nothing in the pocket, dummying and dancing his way out of trouble to snap truly with the help of McCartin’s shepherd in the goal square.

James Kelly and Adam Cooney both worked tirelessly and impressed for the undermanned Bombers, while Mitch Brown kicked four goals for the losers.

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