1. Gavalas is the Roos’ “hidden” gem – With any side boasting the Broadway names of Kearney, Riddell, Garner and Bruton, there’s bound to be a couple of others who fall off the radar slightly. Ellie Gavalas should not be one of them. The 24-year-old former soccer player from Tasmania had a fine debut season in 2020, where she averaged just over 13 touches and more than five tackles per game. In 2021’s two hitouts she has accumulated 37 kicks and handballs alongside an exciting four goals – three more than she kicked in the entire 2020 season. Her presence was vital against a niggling Saints side and with the amount of improvement possible from her fledgling career in the oval-ball code, the sky is the limit.
2. Saints’ long march continues – Last week’s performance at home was a sign that the second year might be one of growth for Peta Searle’s women; if their efforts against the star-studded Kangaroos are any indication, it may be that St Kilda pushes to join sides like Carlton and Fremantle in the conversation for finals favourites sooner than expected. Like the Gold Coast Suns in 2020, the Saints made the home ground of Arden Street anything but a happy hunting ground at times – holding them goalless in the second quarter and refusing to be dominated for much of the game. The final term was difficult for the young side who, despite highest on ground disposals from Georgia Patrikios (27) gave the Roos too many looks at goal when the result was still on the line. Plenty of work to do, but holding the competition’s most fearsome attack to just five goals at home is no mean feat.
3. The Kangaroos have gears on gears – For all of the Saints’ work to frustrate and at times blunt the potency of North Melbourne-Tasmania, the Roos were rarely if ever truly challenged. While the Shinboner faithful would surely love to see scorelines like 71-9 in their favour every week, the reality is premierships are won by teams who can win in both stupendous and subdued fashion. The Fab Four were more like the Functional Four sometimes, but they still managed to rack up 81 touches, 16 marks and 16 clearances to once again remind the league that their combined footballing acumen is not to be slept on, blow out result or not.
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