Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Sunday July 21, 4.40pm AEST
What it means for St Kilda: A fresh start. It’s been inevitable for a while that Alan Richardson wouldn’t be coaching next year. That speculation will be gone now and the club will hope to receive the bounce that often seems to happen when an interim, in this case Brett Ratten, is placed in charge.
What it means for Western Bulldogs: At 8-8, making the top eight is a genuine possibility. However, the Dogs’ percentage of 94.8 is a fair way behind their rivals. Making up at least some of that margin would be significant for their finals chances.
The stat: Interim coaches are 2-0 in their first game in charge this season.
The match-up: Josh Dunkley v Jack Steele
St Kilda’s stopper could go to Marcus Bontempelli, but Dunkley makes more sense as a match-up, since he has similar physical characteristics to Steele. Considering how dominant Dunkley was against Melbourne, anything Steele can do to keep the Bulldog quiet would go a long way to the Saints emerging victorious.
It’s a big week for: Luke Beveridge
Missing finals for three successive years following a flag is something the Dogs coach would not be happy to see. He’s contracted until the end of 2020 and the club has made noises about extending that deal, so he’s not under significant pressure, but a win would be critical for their top-eight chances considering the club’s tough run home.
Father Dougal’s Tip: Bulldogs by 6 points.
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