AFL Round One 2019: St Kilda v Gold Coast – Five Reasons to Watch

Bozza makes the case for why you should spend Sunday afternoon watching St Kilda and Gold Coast.

One of the more intriguing match ups of Round One sees the Saints and Suns square off at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. While the general consensus among the media is that both sides will struggle in 2019, they will both enter this match confident of victory.

Last Five Meetings

2018Rd 13StK11.14 (80)GC11.12 (78)MS10,181
2017Rd 14StK14.19 (103)GC10.12 (72)ES16,844
2016Rd 15GC15.18 (108)StK8.20 (68)MS14,071
2015Rd 2StK16.8 (104)GC10.16 (76)MS13,649
2014Rd 19GC17.15 (117)StK9. 10 (64)MS12,027

With four of the last five games played between these sides taking place on the Gold Coast, the Saints will relish the opportunity to host the Suns at Marvel Stadium. While the Saints have their nose ahead in the last five encounters and in the overall head to head, both sides have won four of the last eight matches.

Five things to watch

You’ve waited five months for footy

After five loooong months we finally have footy back and this is just the fifth time you get to see two teams fight for Premiership points. Remember the empty, hollow, feeling you’ve had as you’ve waited impatiently to watch football again? Don’t miss out on the chance to watch it now that it is finally back, you’ll regret it when there isn’t any to watch in October.

Both sides need, and expect, victory

Despite both teams winning just eight games between them in 2018, they will both take the field at Marvel Stadium extremely confident of victory in this match. For this reason, the stakes are possibly higher in this match than in any other in Round One. As a result expect to see a desperate battle between as both teams fight to avoid the consequences of missing the chance to claim victory in a winnable match.

Matt Parker

Two years ago when he was playing B Grade amateurs in Western Australia, an AFL debut would have seemed fanciful to Matt Parker. Yet, after an eye-catching season in the WAFL last year and a strong pre-season at Moorabbin, that is exactly what will take place on Sunday. A quick, skillful, line breaking player with a tackle that is hard to break, expect him to quickly become a St Kilda fan favourite in 2019.

Peter Wright

With the loss of Tom Lynch in the off-season, there will be a lot more responsibility on the shoulders of two-metre Peter to hit the scoreboard in 2018. With injuries and suspension leaving the Saints decimated down back, the 22-year old won’t get a better chance to do so than he has in this match. In his 50th AFL game will he take his opportunity and stand tall for his team or will he leave the Gold Coast fans to bemoan again the loss of the talented Lynch?

New Faces

There are a number of new faces for both teams, not surprising given their disappointing 2018 campaigns. The Suns will have a completely different look to last season with seven new players in the team for round one including former Cat Jordan Murdoch and Tiger Anthony Miles.

Dean Kent, Matt Parker and Callum Wilkie all pull on the red, black and white for the first time and represent an indication of the style of footy the club will play this year. All three are quick, skillful and capable of delivering intense defensive pressure which suggests the Saints will no longer be the slow and unimaginative team of seasons past.

The Verdict

It is hard to predict a winner in this match with any real confidence given their respective 2018 seasons and the tendency for Round One to throw up a few strange results. The Saints are missing a number of key players but still appear marginally better on paper, this and home ground advantage should prove decisive in the end. Saints by 15

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