I hope Lenny Hayes gets a hold of this match on Saturday. He is the definition of a big game midfielder. The sort of **** who can will himself to every contest and get harder and lower. The question will be whether he'll have enough help in there to consistently get the ball moving forward.
A big issue for me is forward line pressure. I think St Kilda have to play a defensive forward on Nick Maxwell. Maxwell's biggest asset is his ability read the play and just zone off and get to the drop of the ball. If you put the onus on him to mark an opponent, all of a sudden Collingwood lose the innitiative in the backline, opposed him him just floating around taking uncontested grabs.
If the saints, in particular your Schnieders and Milnes, can pressure the kicks coming out of the backline it will go a long way towards negating one of Collingwoods biggest assets, their movement from the backline. O'Brien is a key here, as is Dale Thomas when he drops back.
On the flip side, St Kilda have to display urgency and precision coming out of their backline. Collingwood are the best pressure side in the comp, it's the main reason for why they clinically disposed of Geelong. They need to help out each other so they can spot a target coming out of defence. They possibly need to take a leaf out of Collingwoods book and come out of defence along the boundary when a clear option isn't available in the midfield, that way, if there is a turnover their re-entry into the fifty becomes harder than if you have the whole 50 to spot a target.
Collingwood have a distinct style, they'll work the boundary. If you play man on man, you can't stop a lead up target provided the kick is good enough. They'll hit up along there all day. What St Kilda have to do is employ a zone to chop those link men off. But it's easier said than done.
I reckon Collingwood by 4 goals. But I hope Sainters get up in a close one.
Norm Smith: Allan Didak.