Back-to-back wins has seen St Kilda re-enter the AFL Finals frame in 2021. But a tough run home makes their task a difficult one.
An outside chance? Slimmer than a glimmer? Whatever the case, St Kilda’s 2021 remains alive after back-to-back wins against reigning premiers Richmond and Collingwood in the last fortnight. Two weeks ago, following a heartbreaking loss to Adelaide in Cairns, the Saints were distant $26 Top 8 hopes with Palmerbet. But the win over the Pies on Sunday — plus a host of favourable results amongst fellow AFL Finals hopefuls — has them into $7 with Palmerbet.
They’re hanging on…
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) July 4, 2021
Following the Crows loss, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten admitted that “it‘s going to be an unbelievable result for us to make it” into the AFL Finals. “Especially with our percentage, and the quality of players we‘ve got out, that doesn’t make it easy. It might not be our turn, but we‘ve got to make sure our expectations moving forward are pushing to the highest levels.”
But he wasn’t expecting what was to come either — a 44-point win over the reigning premiers. In the last fortnight the Saints have conceded just 10 goals. Barring a final quarter lapse against the Pies, they’ve tightened up. Without doubt one of the biggest factors in their return to form is the return of dual big men Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.
St.Kilda are literally about 300% better when both Marshall and Ryder play
— Darren Parkin (@Darren_Parkin) July 4, 2021
The biggest roadblock to the Saints making a surprise AFL Finals appearance is their run home. Ranked the second-hardest of all 18 teams, St Kilda’s final seven games are ALL against sides still with a chance of playing finals footy, including premiership fancies Brisbane and Geelong (both currently $5.00 with Palmerbet). Currently at 7-8, the Saints will likely need 12 wins to squeeze into September action, meaning they’ll likely have to go 5-2 with this crop of games to come:
- Round 17: Brisbane at Gabba
- Round 18: Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium
- Round 19: West Coast at Optus Stadium
- Round 20: Carlton at Marvel Stadium
- Round 21: Sydney at Marvel Stadium
- Round 22: Geelong at GMHBA Stadium
- Round 23: Fremantle at Marvel Stadium
A key midfielder could make his return this Saturday against Brisbane 👊
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) July 7, 2021
The AFL has just announced (on Wednesday afternoon) that Saturday night’s clash between Brisbane and St Kilda will be at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast. Ratten faces a Lions side who, ominously, are tracking well in their bid for a first flag since 2003. Ten wins in their last 11 games (each by an average of 43.2 points) underlines their recent dominance after a shaky start to the season. Brownlow Medalist Lachie Neale should return.
(*Prices correct at 5pm Wednesday July 7)