An injury-riddled St Kilda outfit has been utterly outclassed by the Essendon Bombers on Saturday afternoon — even their most famous supporter has turned against them.
Essendon had lost 11 of their previous 12 games leading into the round three clash at Marvel Stadium, not recording an AFL win since round 14 last season.
But the Bombers — who also boast a heavy casualty ward — were at their destructive best on Saturday, kicking 12 goals in the first half and racing to a 49-point lead.
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With Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder unavailable for the match, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten was forced to deploy Shaun McKernan and Jake Carlisle in the ruck, the inexperienced pair conceding the first five centre clearances.
The Saints midfielders were also worryingly ineffective in the first half, registering just 13 tackles from 222 Essendon’s disposals.
Jake Stringer of the Bombers.Source:Getty Images
Former Bombers captain Brendon Goddard told ABC Grandstand: “Saints have been really poor defensively … we’re seeing too many Saints midfielders standing still and ball watching.
“If I was a senior member of the Saints backline … I’d be coming in at half time and saying to the midfield … your ability to slow the ball is absolutely horrendous.”
Even outspoken St Kilda superfan Shane Warne was unimpressed with the Saints performance, blasting his cherished side in a series of scathing tweets.
“Tackles way down, horrible out the middle, looked slow and nowhere near ferocious enough at the ball. Essendon look hungrier right now than us. Lift Saints — let’s play aggressive, fast and please can we use the ball properly,” Warne posted on Saturday.
“Saints look lazy and not interested — how can that be! Effort is free and it has to be said — there is zero effort from the Saints besides our skipper! Work rate is non-existent two weeks in a row. Wow, feel like turning the TV off, as this is embarrassing!
“Where’s the effort? Two weeks in a row! Horrific and hope the coach gives them the hair dryer treatment.”
Don’t you hate it in when the week before wasn’t a blemish. Saints not even close to mediocre. #AFLDonsSaints
Brett Ratten @stkildafc will be so disappointed with his team’s performance today. Lacklustre, spiritless, & just downright embarrassing. No emotional investment whatsoever. Too many 1/2 hearted efforts. Forget about who is not playing, let’s look at who is. #brutalreviewawaits
Saints doing a very good impression of a team that thought it would just happen this year. #AFLDonsSaints
To rub salt into the wounds, St Kilda midfielder Jade Gresham suffered a suspected Achilles injury in the second quarter, and at halftime was spotted on crutches in a moon boot.
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall told Fox Footy: “Gee that’s innocuous.
“I hope that’s not an Achilles because he just grabbed at it … That’s one of the worst injuries you can have.”
Essendon forward Jake Stringer was a standout performer, booting four majors in the first half, while teammate Cale Hooker mustered three.
The Bombers held a 16.10 (106) to 6.9 (45) lead at three-quarter time.
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