Scott Watters
Scott Watters

St Kilda coach Scott Watters has blamed Carlton for a spiteful final round clash at Etihad Stadium, suggesting the emotion of the last week got the better of the Blues' players.

Although it may have been a dead rubber between two sides that both narrowly missed the finals, there was no shortage of nastiness as the two teams traded blows throughout an encounter that St Kilda eventually won by 15 points.

Before the match even began, Carlton's Andrew Walker and Saint Stephen Milne were engaged in a heated wrestle that saw the pair reported within 15 seconds of the opening bounce.

There will be plenty of other incidents assessed by the match review panel on Monday as Milne (first quarter elbow on Ed Curnow) along with Carlton's Eddie Betts (second quarter elbow on David Armitage) and Mitch Robinson (first quarter bump on Leigh Montagna) will all have incidents looked at.

And Watters himself wasn't pulling any punches in his post-match press conference, saying an emotional week where Carlton coach Brett Ratten was sacked may have played a part in the fiery encounter.

"There was obviously a bit of emotion in the game I think at different times," declared Watters.

"It was probably more emotional than a few games I've seen them play, but that doesn't really bother me as a coach and it shouldn't bother our players, we need to be able to handle that.

"There were some efforts that I saw from them today that I hadn't seen from them in a few weeks, so maybe that was brought about by the events, but our job's to focus on what we need to do, so I thought our players generally held their nerve pretty well."

Although Watters refused to mention the incidents that concerned him he could not resist having a go at Carlton's defenders and particularly Walker for the close attention paid to Milne.

"I guess what does probably amaze me and I will say this is, do forwards often wrestle with defenders? Do forwards often target defenders? I don't think so. It's generally the other way around."

Watters said he didn't blame Milne for losing his focus a little.

"He's only human," declared Watters.

"Cops a fair bit of attention, Milney.

"At times I question how much he's protected."

But when asked whether his players had been overly physical in the contest, Ratten threw the blame back at St Kilda.

"Please," declared an incredulous Ratten.

"Have a look at behind the goals," Ratten added. "Rhys O'Keefe got picked off the ball 30 metres away.

"If he wants to talk about all that stuff, I think the review panel will have a very good day at dissecting that.

"There's a couple of ways to take confrontation, isn't there?

"You back down and cower or you meet the challenge head on and I suppose depending on what resistance you get back is how hard you push back physically and I don't think there was punches thrown.

"So the umpires will pick through that.

"(But) St Kilda have probably had the wood on Carlton for a few years and this was an opportunity to maybe go into a fresh season with maybe a victory over them and I thought, to the boys' credit, they pushed really hard to get that result."


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