Western Bulldogs dominate sorry St Kilda

Jason Phelan
Western Bulldogs dominate sorry St Kilda

In an AFL season of lows, St Kilda have slumped to a new one, with the Western Bulldogs handing Alan Richardson's side a 35-point defeat at Etihad Stadium.

That result looked fanciful after the Saints kicked the first five goals of the game to lead by 28 points early in the second term on Saturday night.

But Marcus Bontempelli booted four third-quarter goals as the injury-depleted Dogs turned the tables and swept to a 15.13 (103) to 9.14 (68) win in front of 20,748 fans.

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The Western Bulldogs have dominated St Kilda in their AFL fixture at Etihad Stadium. Pic: Getty

Jason Johannisen and Jack Macrae, with 42 and 36 possessions respectively, were also outstanding for the Bulldogs, who scored just their second win in their past 11 matches.

Seb Ross, who hadn't kicked a goal this season going into the match, booted three to go with his game-high 40 touches and was instrumental in the Saints' flying start.

But Luke Beveridge's side, appearing bereft of spark or confidence in a goalless first quarter, started to work himself into the game as the second quarter wore on.

Johannisen starred with 19 possessions in the first half as the Dogs chipped away at a 21-point quarter-time deficit to trail by four points at the main break.

The dour contest between two sides who fell out of finals contention long ago lifted in the third quarter thanks largely to Bontempelli's work inside attacking 50.

He was a threat every time the ball went near him as the Dogs piled on eight goals to none to lead the shell-shocked Saints by 45 points at three-quarter time.

St Kilda did what they could to drag themselves back into the contest in the final quarter but their inaccuracy in front of goal - once again - condemned them to their 14th loss of the season.

The result was a disappointing one for Nathan Freeman, who made his much-discussed debut 1718 days after he was taken with pick No.10 at the 2013 draft.

The injury-ravaged midfielder finished the game unscathed and gathered 19 possessions.

Both sides were a man down early, with the Saints losing Josh Battle and the Dogs Roarke Smith, who were concussed in first quarter.