Rebels hand finals destiny to Force as Brumbies win thriller


The Melbourne Rebels have handed their finals destiny to the Western Force after they fell agonisingly short against the Brumbies at AAMI Park.

The Force’s dramatic win against the Waratahs on Saturday night saw them leapfrog the Rebels into third place on the Super Rugby AU ladder and left Melbourne with a simple equation.

Rob Valetini of the Brumbies tackles Matt To’omua of the Rebels during the round nine Super RugbyAU match between the ACT Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels.Credit:Getty

Beat the Brumbies and they could control their own finals destiny against the Waratahs in the final round of Super Rugby AU at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.

Lose and that destiny would be handed to the Force, who face the Reds at HBF Park on Friday night.

The pressure told. Melbourne could not emulate the Force’s post-siren heroics against the Waratahs on Saturday night, and heading into the final round, the Force (14 points) sit above the Rebels (12) in third place. The top three sides progress to the finals.

The Rebels had their chance to win at the death when, trailing 26-20, the home side had a lineout deep inside the Brumbies’ 22, and one last chance to complete a comeback after they took a 19-7 deficit into the half-time break.

Reesjan Pasitoa of the Brumbies runs with the ball.

Reesjan Pasitoa of the Brumbies runs with the ball.Credit:Getty

But a knock on from Joe Powell, who was one of Melbourne’s bes, sparked jubilation for the Brumbies (29 points), who have the bye next week and can’t overtake Queensland (32). The Brumbies will host either the Force or Rebels in a preliminary final.

“The scoreline probably didn’t reflect how we felt at half time. They probably had every right to be 20 up, considering the territory,” Melbourne captain Matt To’omua said post match.

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Brisbane Lions win historic first AFLW premiership over the Adelaide Crows


In a letter addressed to Lions fans before the start of the 2021 AFLW grand final, Emily Bates penned what she called a “true cliche”:

Against the star power of Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and the other usual suspects, Brisbane did indeed prove Bates — who would finish the final as the game’s equal highest possession-getter —  and the cliche true in their 18-point victory over Adelaide.

It was utter jubilation for the Lions at the final siren.(

AAP: Matt Turner

)

As Bates — a member of the leadership group — would go on to write, it is true that the Lions “do not rely on individual star power”. 

In fact, as reported last week, the Lions have had nothing short of an exodus of talent as a consequence of the competition’s expansion — losing eight players in 2019 to the Gold Coast including their former captain and vice-captain Leah Kaslar and Sam Virgo. 

As if that wasn’t enough, they lost marquees in Sabrina Frederick and Tayla Harris to Richmond and Carlton respectively, Kate McCarthy and Nat Exon to St Kilda and the quartet of Kaitlyn Ashmore, Tahlia Randall, Jamie Stanton (now at Gold Coast) and Brittany Gibson to North Melbourne in 2018.

The laundry list of body blows makes the underdogs’ victory over the Crows — in front of a typically hostile South Australian crowd of 22,934 — even more impressive. 

It also speaks to the culture of a club that withstood every challenge it has faced this season — including last-minute COVID-induced changes that, in just one example, had players confined to their hotel before their final match of the season after a Brisbane-based outbreak.

A cheering Brisbane player runs with her arms outstretched.
Jessica Wuetschner of the Lions celebrates a crucial goal in Brisbane’s win over Adelaide. (

AAP: Matt Turner

)

“We have a pretty special culture at this club,” said captain Emma Zielke at the pre-game press conference, who injured her right hamstring during the game.

“One of the things the girls always talk about is how much they enjoy getting down to the club.

“Whether it’s preseason, whether we’re getting smashed in the hot sun or on game day … it’s the culture, the energy and enjoyment that you have that breeds success because you want to be around each other as much as possible.”

Defence win premierships

While Brisbane might not have the star-studded team the Crows are renowned for, they do rely on a rock-solid backline, proving yet another sporting cliche true:  defences win premierships. 

Unbelievably, the Crows dominated the Grand Final inside 50s 44-24 (the sixth most in an AFLW game), but scored just three goals. The Lions, meanwhile, recorded an incredible 40 rebound 50s. 

All day, Adelaide wasted scoring opportunities with poor inside 50 entries, causing them to — as Chyloe Kurdas commented on ABC Grandstand —  “capitulate in a way we haven’t seen” in the competition’s history. 

That was credit to the relentless pressure the entire Lions team applied — but also to their brilliant backline.

Brisbane players celebrate a goal on the AFL field
Courtney Hodder kicked two goals for the Lions in the 18-point win over the Adelaide Crows.(

AAP: Matt Turner

)

According to Champion Data, Kate Lutkins — who was deservedly crowned best on ground —  had 10 rebound 50s, including seven contested possessions to go with her 18 disposals.

Lutkins also played the match carrying an injury —  she tore the plantar fascia in her left foot in round eight —  a remarkable achievement given her performance.

But the medal could just have easily gone to the entire Brisbane defence, with Bri Koenen enormous with six rebound 50s of her own and Koenen, Lutkins and Shannon Campbell taking 17 marks between them. 

On a day when they lost their skipper Zielke, it was also telling that all of Campbell, Lutkins and Koenen are members of the club’s official leadership team. 

Leaders again felled on big stage

In the lead-up to the AFLW’s biggest game of 2021, all talk focused on the outstanding leadership of Adelaide skipper Chelsea Randall, who missed the chance to clinch a third premiership for her club under the AFL’s newly-introduced concussion protocols.

The rules force players to miss a minimum of 12 days if they are affected by concussion, but the Crows skipper was rightly lauded for ruling herself out from the game despite having the option to undergo additional concussion testing on the Monday after the preliminary final where she brutally collided with Melbourne’s Eliza McNamara. 

In a video recorded for her club’s website, Randall said she had made the decision because fighting to play would have sent the wrong message to “grassroots footballers”.

“When I was 20, I was watching an E-division grand final and a young man died in front of my eyes. The week prior he’d been concussed; went to seven different doctors, got approval to play, was the captain of his team.  [At the game] he received a normal bump at the centre square and never got back up.”

No-one could say that Adelaide would have won with Randall playing, but her absence was even more painful for the Crows on a day when their stand-in skipper Ange Foley was likewise hit with a knee injury. 

To the naked eye, the incident eerily appeared to take place on the same patch of grass where then co-captain Erin Phillips was struck down with an ACL in 2019.

In front of 53,034 in 2019, Phillips’ ACL brought a hush to an otherwise boisterous crowd before she went on to win best on ground and a Premiership medallion. 

In 2021, however, the game’s best player was as uncharacteristically quiet as her team, while the one-eyed crowd had already fallen silent until eventually — surreally — the crowd broke out into a “Lions” chant with just minutes remaining on the clock.

Adelaide Crows AFLw players look dejected after their grand final loss to the Brisbane Lions.
Adelaide Crow Anne Hatchard and teammates react after their loss.(

AAP: Matt Turner

)

Once again, the letter Bates penned to fans read almost like a premonition:

The Lions’ spirit not only shielded them. It roared them into contention with Adelaide for the AFLW’s champion team after three grand finals in five seasons and now — finally — a premiership. 

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A win for Peninsula youth with funding boost


Seawinds Councillors

The Mornington Peninsula Shire has welcomed a significant funding boost to build an integrated youth services hub in Rosebud.

The 4.3M allocation from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund is one of the largest amounts ever issued through this funding source. This is on top of the 1.5M commitment from the Federal government to help build the new hub.

The funding announcement was made by Minister for Local Government and Suburban Development Shaun Leane, and Member for Nepean, Chris Brayne who visited the proposed site of the hub in Rosebud to share the news with Shire councillors. They were joined by Acting Mayor Cr Sarah Race and Shire Councillors Antonella Celi, Lisa Dixon, Debra Mar and Kerri McCafferty.

The project encompasses a multi-use and fit-for-purpose new Youth Hub, that will be co-located on an existing sporting and civic site on Besgrove Street Rosebud, servicing the Southern Peninsula region and incorporating a strong focus on youth mental health.

The project will deliver an accessible youth-friendly facility with an innovative design to promote greater utilisation, maximise occupancy and enable a full suite of youth services, including but not limited to: Art and craft space; Break-out lounge; Classrooms; Clinical support services (including Headspace operation); Cooking activities ; Drop-in centre; Employment and education assistance; Games and recreational space; Holiday programs; IT Hub; Meeting rooms and work spaces.

The current Youth Services team has operated from the Y Lounge Youth Centre in Rosebud since 2007. This site is too small and has very limited service capacity. Recent evidence shows that an integrated model of service, that includes a strong focus on mental health, will deliver the best outcome for young people.

Council is continuing its advocacy efforts to seek other funding sources to see the Hub come to fruition

The first stage of planning will be undertaken before 2022 with further community and stakeholder consultation set to take place later this year. It is anticipated the two-year build will commence late-2022 with a construction completion date in late-2024.

Council would also like to thank the following organisations for their support of the project:

Alfred Health, Anglicare Victoria, Brotherhood of St. Laurence, Family Life, Headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Mentis Assist, Mind Australia, Mission Australia, Monash Health, Neami National Oakwood School, Peninsula Health, Salvocare Eastern, SkillsPlus, TaskForce, Youthlaw, YSAS

Quotes attributable to Cr Sarah Race (Acting Mayor)

“The integration of services will mean greater collaboration and cooperation between service providers, schools and other stakeholders resulting in better outcomes for Peninsula youth”.

“On behalf of the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council I’d like to thank Minister Leane as this significant funding boost brings our vision for a much needed integrated youth hub a little closer.”

Quotes attributable to Seawinds Councillors Antonella Celi, Debra Mar and Kerri McCafferty

“This integrated youth hub sets a precedent for the delivery of mental health & wellbeing services, programs and activities to our local young people here on the Peninsula so they don’t have to travel long distances to Frankston or Dandenong. We acknowledge the tremendous work put in by the Shire Youth Team and the consortium of organisations that have worked over the many years to make this vision a reality”

“As Seawinds councillors we are delighted that the Hub will be built in Rosebud and will provide much needed support to our young people.”

Photo L-R: Debra Mar, Chris Brayne, Antonella Celi, Shaun Leane, Sarah Race, Kerri McCafferty and Lisa Dixon.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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Greater Western Sydney GWS Giants stun Sydney Swans for first Sydney derby win at Spotless Stadium; AFL 2021


The Giants’ other co-captain, Callan Ward, won the Brett Kirk Medal for his inspiring 31-possession effort, as his young side answered all questions about their ability to last four quarters by overwhelming the Swans 6.4 to 0.5 in the last term.

It was easily the most significant of the four wins GWS has achieved, the others coming against Gold Coast and Port Adelaide in 2012 and Melbourne last year.

“Going through these tough times really does make you enjoy the days that are good,” midfielder Ward said.

The Giants led 19-12 early before the Swans kicked three straight goals to set up a 13-point lead at the first break.

The Giants celebrate the win after the match.Credit:Anthony Johnson

Cameron said during the delay he addressed areas like contested ball and clearances in which they subsequently lifted after play resumed.

Swans coach John Longmire lamented his side’s inability to capitalise on a dominant period in the second quarter in which they led by as much as 24 points, but were outscored 3.0 to 1.6.

“We didn’t take those chances in that first half, that second quarter in particular,” Longmire said.

“Then they really lifted after halftime and we couldn’t go with them.

“We should have responded particularly in the last quarter.

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“We didn’t hit the bodies hard enough and weren’t clean enough. We missed tackles – all the things you can’t afford to do.”

Asked about Franklin’s effort Longmire said: “He was quiet, we had a few.”

The day started badly for Sydney, with co-captain Kieren Jack pulling out with a sore back.

It got even worse during the reserves match when defender Alex Johnson suffered another knee injury and will require a third knee reconstruction in a year.

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Jack Riewoldt bags five goals in crushing win at Marvel Stadium


Change agents

The murmurings had been around for days that Rowan Marshall wouldn’t get up for this game off a five-day break and that St Kilda were also contemplating resting Zak Jones given the midfielder’s injury history. Ratten said on game eve that both men were on track to play, but either he was being a bit cheeky or things changed at some stage between Wednesday morning and Thursday night. As it turned out, both men were replaced, and it was a clear downgrade with their respective understudies. Recycled ruckman Paul Hunter kicked the first goal of his AFL career early in the game but was largely ineffectual, even tapping the ball straight to Shane Edwards for a third term major Richmond’s way. Dunstan, once billed as a future captain of the Saints, was playing his first senior game since round one last year and seemed to struggle with the weight of knowing this could be his last chance for a while. A shank out on the full was an all-too-familiar sight for St Kilda supporters. Meanwhile Ben Long was the medical substitute for the third week running. In his 50th game, the hard-nosed defender got a run after Jimmy Webster went off with a groin injury.

Brad spill

Things have not gone to plan for Bradley Hill since the wingman joined the Saints, and Thursday night brought yet another moment to forget. With his side on top in general play early in the second term, Hill dropped a straightforward mark at half-back, allowing Richmond to pounce with Marlion Pickett capitalising. Not only did Hill drop the ball, his second effort also left something to be desired.

Shai Bolton keeps gribs on Brad Crouch.Credit:Getty Images

Pickett power

Dual premiership Tiger Pickett’s career has been about as unorthodox as they come, so it was on-brand that the 184-centimetre West Australian chipped in as Richmond’s relief ruckman during the third quarter on Thursday night while Toby Nankervis had a spell. Pickett had not previously recorded a hitout in his 24 AFL matches before this game but looked relatively competent when pinch-hitting. He’d occasionally been used in the role when playing for South Fremantle in the WAFL.

BEST: Richmond: Graham, Edwards, Riewoldt, Nankervis, Martin, Bolton, Lambert, Castagna, Baker
St Kilda: Clark, Steele, Coffield, Battle

VOTES:
J. Graham (Rich) 8
S. Edwards (Rich) 8
J. Riewoldt (Rich) 8
T. Nankervis (Rich) 7
D. Martin (Rich) 7

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An Agreeable win for Freedman camp


HORSE RACING

ANTHONY and Sam Freedman’s promising filly Agreeable returned to the winner’s stall on Saturday 03 April with a comfortable victory in the Bill Collins Handicap at Caulfield.

Having been winless since her debut victory at Geelong in May last year, Agreeable has collected two fourth’s in the Group Three Quezette Stakes and the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes as well as finishing fifth in last year’s Group One Thousand Guineas.

Ridden by Jamie Kah, Agreeable hit her customary ‘flat spot’ at the 600m mark before picking up and reeling in her rivals with ease. The three-year-old daughter of Sebring won by one-length over the Symon Wilde-trained Pride Of Jenni despite wanting to wait for her rivals once hitting the lead.

Freedman’s stable representative Steve Adams said Saturday’s win came as a much-deserved confidence boost for the filly after racing super consistently throughout her eight-start career.

“She won her first race start and she’d been running well in between races but it’s good to see her get her confidence back today and win another race,” Steve Adams said. “I was a little bit worried when she came off the bit and [Jamie Kah] had to give her a couple of reminders at the 600m but then on the corner when she made that ground up, I thought she’d finish over the top.”

Jockey Jamie Kah said being able to sit closer in the run has made a massive difference this preparation.

“It’s nice to see her come back and actually travel and jump a bit better than she used to. She’s just switched on a bit more I think and today she showed that she could jump a bit better and sit closer and that’s probably what was holding her back last prep,” she said post-race.

“She was solid today and she was probably still waiting for them on the line so I thought it was a really good win.”

The Freedman stable said they were still working out what trip best suits the promising filly.

“We’re not sure if she runs quite a strong 2000m,” Steve Adams said. “I think there’s a 1400m three-year-old stakes race in a month in Adelaide and then we might just keep her at stakes grade and out to a mile after that.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 6 April 2021

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Matt Dufty inspires St George Illawarra Dragons to upset 26-12 win over previously unbeaten Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium


For the unbelievers, this was supposed to be the Dragons’ undoing. Sure, they beat the struggling Cowboys, a hapless Sea Eagles and a Knights team who could have called the coal miner from across the fence to chuck the boots on so decimated they were with injuries last week.

But the unbeaten Eels at fortress Bankwest?

Well, that wasn’t much of a problem in a pulsating first half where the Dragons had the help of the eyes in the sky to blast to an 18-0 lead.

Mikaele Ravalawa scores in spectacular style off a Matt Dufty pass.Credit:Getty

“They had a better attitude than us in the first half and it made it too hard for us in the second half,” Arthur said. “They came up with some big tackles at big time.

“I’m disappointed we came undone like that because we knew what the Dragons have come up with in the last four weeks. We’ve got to worry about ourselves; it shouldn’t come down the decisions in the bunker. We scored a nice try by playing the power game through them then we lost our heads and a lost a bit of patience.”

There was nothing contentious about Jack Bird’s first NRL try in the Red V, racing onto a rocket of a pass from the superb Dufty, who also threw the final ball for the third with a cut-out for Mikaele Ravalawa, his fifth try in four games at Bankwest Stadium.

In between, the little No.1 was awarded a penalty try of his own when he split the defence and kicked past opposite number Gutherson, only for Nathan Brown to drag him back as he tried to sneak around the goalpost to ground the bouncing ball.

The decision infuriated Eels captain Gutherson, who would have felt just as aggrieved when the bunker ruled Bryce Cartwright had passed off the ground when Parramatta had used their captain’s challenge to contest a knock-on call. The Dragons scored their third try off the next possession.

Somehow, 18 points didn’t seem like it was going to be enough a few minutes into the second half when Sims was sin binned for repeated infringements in the ruck, sparking the Eels’ first points when Nathan Brown set up Isaiah Papali’i.

But despite their line being under siege for much of the half, the Dragons showed the type of resilience their fans haven’t seen for a long time.

And those same fans broke out into song in the final minutes after Zac Lomax’s penalty goal and Dufty’s final try announced them as genuine finals threats.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 26 (Matt Dufty 2, Jack Bird, Mikaele Ravalawa tries; Zac Lomax 5 goals) defeated PARRAMATTA EELS 12 (Isaiah Papali’i, Clint Gutherson tries; Mitchell Moses 2 goals) at Bankwest Stadium. Referee: Grant Atkins.

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NRL live: Eels meet Dragons as Cowboys strike through for first win of season




The Parramatta Eels take on the St George Illawarra Dragons, after North Queensland held on to beat Wests Tigers 34-30. Follow our ScoreCentre for all the live scores and stats.

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IPL 2021, cricket scores, RCB vs Mumbai Indians: Glenn Maxwell praised by Virat Kohli in Indian Premier League win


Glenn Maxwell played a “momentum changing” knock as Royal Challengers Bangalore prevailed in a last-ball thriller against holders Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League opener played behind closed doors on Friday.

South Africa’s AB de Villiers hit a quickfire 48 while Maxwell batted at No.4 and made 39 from 28 balls which left his captain Virat Kohli pleased.

“We wanted Maxi to bat at four,” Kohli said. “The set-up was such that if we get a partnership, then Maxi comes into the game and he can do what he does.

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Maxwell's 'momentum changing' knock

Maxwell’s ‘momentum changing’ knock

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Greater Western Sydney beats Collingwood for first win of AFL season as Carlton, St Kilda and Bulldogs score victories


Stand-in captain Toby Greene has kicked five goals to inspire an injury-hit Greater Western Sydney to its first win of the season, a superb 30-point victory over Collingwood at the MCG.

In other matches on Saturday, Carlton made it consecutive wins with an 11-point defeat of the Suns on the Gold Coast, while St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs also triumphed.

The Giants were 0-3 heading into Saturday night’s match, and reeling from injuries to skipper Stephen Coniglio, key defender Phil Davis and tagger Matt de Boer on top of an already-hefty injury list.

But Greene starred, while Callan Ward pushed through a first-quarter hand injury to rack up 37 touches and seven clearances as the Giants prevailed 14.6 (90) to 9.6 (60) in front of 29,866 spectators to condemn the Magpies to their second-straight loss.

It was a dirty night for Collingwood, who slipped to 1-3 and had vice-captain Taylor Adams limp off with an MCL injury in the third quarter, while Brayden Sier (illness) was substituted out for Levi Greenwood earlier that term.

In his first match for the season, veteran ruckman Shane Mumford limited the influence of Magpies star Brodie Grundy while Tim Taranto (34 disposals), Jacob Hopper (32 disposals) and Jeremy Finlayson (four goals) were all influential.

Jack Crisp (30 disposals), Steele Sidebottom (30), Jack Madgen (25) and defensive duo Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore all worked hard for the Magpies.

The Giants burst out of the blocks when Bobby Hill soccered through the opener but Collingwood responded through debutant Beau McCreery’s first goal.

In a cagey opening quarter there was no more scoring action until Finlayson dobbed a long-range set shot after the siren.

Greene snared three goals in the second quarter, then two in quick succession after half-time, while Jake Riccardi added another to nudge the Giants’ lead beyond four goals in the teeming rain before a previously listless Collingwood struck back.

Jordan De Goey and Josh Daicos’ instinctive snaps provided a spark, with Will Hoskin-Elliott adding another goal before Harry Himmelberg’s strike gave the Giants some breathing space at the final change.

There was controversy early in the fourth term when Collingwood star Sidebottom was penalised for a deliberate rushed behind, with Finlayson taking full advantage.

From there, the Giants largely held firm through Collingwood’s attempts to surge, and kicked away late through Josh Kelly and Finlayson.

Carlton outlasted a sloppy Gold Coast to claim an unconvincing 9.16 (70) to 8.11 (59) AFL win in Carrara.

Last week’s seven-goal hero against Fremantle, Harry McKay, kicked the crucial score in the final term on the back of some great desperation by Jack Silvagni as the Blues moved to a 2-2 record with the 11-point win.

Silvagni chased down Sun Jack Bowes with just under 10 minutes to play, earning a free kick next to the behind post for his effort.

McKay, who was kept relatively quiet for most of the match by Suns defender Sam Collins, stepped up to kick the goal with Silvagni forced off the field after injuring his right shoulder in the tackle.

The big Blues forward ended the match with two majors, with veteran Marc Murphy the other multiple goal kicker for the visitors with two majors in the first half.

Ed Curnow was a contender for best on ground with 32 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances and a goal.

Alex Sexton kicked two goals for the Suns, who struggled throughout the game for clean possessions in their first match since co-captain Jarrod Witts suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Without their main ruckman, the Suns lost the hit-outs 62 to 22 but ended up on top of the clearances count, 47 to 38.

Bowes finished with a match-high 34 disposals, while Noah Anderson had 30 disposals and 10 clearances.

Gold Coast suffered another injury setback just before half-time with defender Sean Lemmens suffering a concussion to be subbed out of the match at the main break.

Silvagni also got subbed out for the Blues after his fourth-quarter heroics due to his shoulder issue.

St Kilda has overturned a 33-point deficit midway through the third quarter to stun West Coast by 20 points in a rousing comeback at Docklands.

Coming off the most embarrassing defeat in Brett Ratten’s tenure as coach, the Saints produced a scintillating turnaround to boot the last eight goals and storm over the top of the tired Eagles.

Young forward Max King came of age with a career-high, five-goal haul, while skipper Jack Steele was heroic with 33 disposals as the Saints won 15.12 (102) to 13.4 (82) to at least partly expunge the memory of last weekend’s 75-point loss to Essendon.

Few people would have bet on the stirring comeback, with West Coast seeming to be cruising towards their third victory of the season when Jack Petruccelle snapped his fourth goal 16 minutes into the third term.

But the Eagles would not register another score until 17 minutes into the final quarter as St Kilda’s exciting brand of football hit top gear to completely change the contest.

The Saints controlled most of the match in general play but the Eagles were more efficient going forward early.

But once St Kilda started using the ball better inside 50, the floodgates opened as small forwards Dan Butler (three goals) and Jack Billings recaptured form.

Rowan Marshall made a welcome return to boost St Kilda’s flailing ruck stocks, but he sent a scare through the Saints camp after heading down to the rooms for the last 10 minutes of the second quarter.

But Saints medical sub Ben Long was not needed as Marshall returned to play out the match.

West Coast lost captain Shannon Hurn to a calf injury in the first quarter, with debutant Isiah Winder replacing the veteran defender.

Medical sub Winder did not see a lot of the ball but capitalised when he did get it by kicking his first career goal early in the second term.

Tim English was the star performer in a three-pronged tall forward set-up as the Western Bulldogs continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 19-point win over the Brisbane Lions in Ballarat.

A cold and windy day in Ballarat was hardly tailor-made for marking forwards, but English (three goals and nine marks), Aaron Naughton (two goals and eight marks) and Josh Bruce (one goal) still combined for the bulk of the Bulldogs’ tally in the 10.13 (73) to 8.6 (54) victory.

Eight days ago, Bruce had slotted a career-best 10 goals in the Good Friday flogging of hapless North Melbourne.

Against the Lions, he mostly played third wheel to high-flying duo English and Naughton.

The Bulldogs had the better of the early going in Ballarat.

But they only led by eight points at the first change after Laitham Vandermeer was hit with a 50-metre penalty for moving on the mark, allowing Harris Andrews to slot a late goal.

With Naughton and Bruce both hitting the scoreboard in the second term, the Bulldogs pushed their advantage to 26 points at the long break.

The Lions briefly threatened to get back into the contest in the third quarter when they kicked successive goals for the first time through Zac Bailey and Eric Hipwood.

The Bulldogs were able to steady through the impressive English, who kicked a difficult set shot into the wind after being paid a contentious mark, allowing the home team to hold a 22-point lead at the final change.

The Lions kicked the first two goals of the fourth term, including a remarkable dribbling effort by Joe Daniher from outside the 50-metre arc near the boundary line.

But as they had done for most of the day, it was the Bulldogs who had the last laugh with Tom Liberatore landing a long-range goal with just eight seconds left on the clock.

Onballers Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli, and defenders Alex Keath and Bailey Dale played well for the Bulldogs, while the Lions were well served by ruckman Oscar McInerney, midfielder Hugh McCluggage and backman Daniel Rich.

The Lions return to the Gabba to take on Essendon in round five, while the Bulldogs will look to extend their unbeaten start to the season against Gold Coast at Docklands.

AAP

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