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Gritty Saints prolong Blues’ woes

Gritty Saints prolong Blues’ woes

Carlton’s nightmare AFL season has continued with an error-riddled 13-point loss to fellow AFL battlers St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.

Sunday afternoon’s 9.14 (68) to 8.7 (55) defeat was the Blues’ ninth loss from 10 games, magnifying the pressure on coach Brendon Bolton on a weekend in which North Melbourne counterpart Brad Scott announced his sudden resignation.

The departing Scott denies having spoken to any other clubs but there is speculation he might link up with the Blues should they move on Bolton at season’s end.

Bolton has led bottom-placed Carlton to just four wins from their past 42 games.

The Saints led for most of Sunday’s match but endured some nervous late moments before snapping a four-game losing streak to climb to 10th on the ladder.

After a humiliating 93-point loss last weekend to GWS, the Blues appeared determined to respond and opened up an early lead.

Held to one of his quietest performances in recent memory by GWS tagger Matt de Boer, star skipper Patrick Cripps made a sparkling start and was involved in two of the Blues’ first three goals despite close attention from Jack Steele.

But the Saints, led well by Steele and Jade Gresham, soon managed to slow the tempo and use their superior polish to control the play.

The Saints dominated the third term to lead by 16 points at the final break and held off the Blues, whose lack of contributors was glaring.

Cripps was reliably strong, top draftee Sam Walsh gathered 28 disposals and veteran backman Kade Simpson returned well from injury but few of their teammates stood up.

Carlton held a player-only meeting after their dire showing against GWS, with their lack of response to Shane Mumford’s big hit on midfielder Marc Murphy addressed.

Only Cripps remonstrated with Mumford after he collected Murphy. The veteran will be out for a few weeks with fractured ribs.

The Blues ensured there would be no repeat of that, flooding en masse to St Kilda forward Ben Long after he flattened Levi Casboult with a late bump.

Despite being reported for the third-quarter incident, Long is unlikely to face sanction, given he had not appeared to make contact with Casboult’s head.

Teammate Luke Dunstan was also reported in the final term for striking Carlton forward Michael Gibbons.

Blues forward Mitch McGovern left the ground with a suspected ankle issue during the final term.

© AAP 2019

ST KILDA 2.2 5.7 8.10 9.14 (68)

CARLTON 3.4 5.4 6.6 8.7 (55)

Goals: St Kilda: J Bruce 2 M Parker 2 T Membrey 2 E Phillips J Newnes L Dunstan. Carlton: C Curnow 2 M Gibbons 2 D Cuningham H McKay M Kreuzer N Newman.

Best: St Kilda: J Gresham J Steele L Dunstan S Ross J Battle J Billings. Carlton: P Cripps K Simpson S Walsh N Newman.

Umpires: Craig Fleer, Curtis Deboy, Leigh Fisher.

Official Crowd: 35,058 at Marvel Stadium.