Pickett lively as Dees sink Saints in AFL

·2-min read

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin lauded his side's improved forward pressure and ability to shift momentum within matches after grinding out a confidence-boosting 18-point win over St Kilda.

The Saints kicked five straight goals in a burst straddling quarter-time to briefly take control at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

But the Demons responded with five of their own to put a wedge between the sides in an error-riddled contest under the roof.

New co-captain Jack Steele helped drag the Saints back into the contest again before the Dees steadied and put the contest to bed, with livewire Kysaiah Pickett kicking two goals in the 12.19 (91) to 11.7 (73) win.

"To have the momentum against us like we had and to arrest that momentum is something we've really worked hard on, and building the behaviours to be able to do that within quarters," Goodwin said.

"I thought the boys were outstanding.

"They were talking about it on the bench, they actioned it and certainly went back to what they knew and got the game back on our terms."

Goodwin said the Demons' poor accuracy in front of goal was a "good problem to have" and noted there were four rushed behinds in his side's tally.

He was buoyed by strong contributions from Clayton Oliver, Christian Salem, Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson, as well as Pickett's lively performance in the front half.

The 19-year-old was dangerous around stoppages and provided the highlight of the night with a brilliant snapped goal, roving a pack and evading two tackles before kicking truly.

"He's still got a lot to learn and get better at but gee he's a good player," Goodwin said.

St Kilda midfielders Seb Ross, Jade Gresham and Steele won plenty of the ball and Dougal Howard and Tim Membrey worked hard at opposite ends.

Steele kicked three goals and Max King kicked two on return from a week out with concussion.

But the Saints were well beaten and coach Brett Ratten conceded the three-goal margin flattered his side.

Simple skill errors were costly, with star wingman Bradley Hill one of the main offenders with a series of kicks that missed targets.

"Our ability to use the ball, which has been a strength of ours, wasn't up to scratch," Ratten said.

"We missed too many easy options and I think when we were under pressure we tried to just manufacture something.

"That fuelled some of the scoring from Melbourne, so that was really disappointing."

The Saints' loss was soured by Jimmy Webster's suspected fractured jaw from an errant tackle that saw him substituted out of the match during the third quarter.

The defender joins fellow first-choice selections Dan Hannebery, James Frawley, Rowan Marshall and Jarryn Geary on a long injury list.