Jack Higgins has the Saints on the board after he took a handball and went against the run of play but stepping back inside and snapping with his right foot.

Seb Ross’ smother led to the turnover of possession.

Saints 7, Dons 0 with 18 mins to go in Q1.

Saints coach Ross Lyon said pregame that Anthony Caminiti was unlucky to be out of the side and had made some big improvements over the preseason.

He has already pulled in a mark on the lead but his side went wide to the right.

Saints 1, Dons 0 with 18 mins to go in Q1.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon says some observers have compared debutante Angus Hastie with Geelong great Corey Enright.

“He is very quick, big runner, very skillful and very composed,” Lyon told Fox Footy.

“Some say he’s a bit like Corey Enright, so we have our fingers crossed.”

Lyon also acknowledged that running defender Josh Battle is starting to earn some plaudits for his play.

“He’s out of contract and supposedly the Hawks are looking at him,” Lyon said with a laugh.

St Kilda debutante Angus Hastie with his family.

St Kilda debutante Angus Hastie with his family.Credit: AFL Photos

Angus Hastie warms up.

Angus Hastie warms up.Credit: AFL Photos

Do not underestimate how big a late out Will Setterfield is.

He’s far from the biggest name in the Dons side but he’s made a very good start to the season.

Ben Hobbs.

Ben Hobbs.Credit: Getty Images

The big-bodied midfielder, who crossed from Carlton at the end of 2022, leads the Dons for clearances and contested possessions over the first two games.

His place in the 23 has been taken by forward Harry Jones.

This means youngsters Ben Hobbs and Archie Perkins should get some more midfield minutes today.

Will Setterfield (knee) is out and Harry Jones is in for Essendon.

Nick Hind (Bombers) and Angus Hastie (Saints) are the subs.

Essendon coach Brad Scott says the fall on the SCG “cricket wicket” has cost Will Setterfield his place in the side for today’s clash with St Kilda.

Setterfield’s knee swelled after the fall against Sydney last round and he wasn’t 100 per cent today so has been a late change.

Jason Horne-Francis is tackled by Will Setterfield.

Jason Horne-Francis is tackled by Will Setterfield.Credit: AFL Photos

Harry Jones will come into the side in his place.

“Will is out. It’s one of the challenges of naming your team a couple of days before you play. He had a minor knee complaint,” Scott told Fox Footy.

“He fell on the cricket wicket at the SCG and had a bit of swelling. We thought it would dissipate. He was close, he probably could play but we have a really strong policy to [only] play players who are 100 per cent.

“Jones is fresh, didn’t play last week and was unlucky to be out of the side. My experience in the last 18 months is that when players get their opportunity, they take it”

AFL great Leigh Matthews says the way to help wipe out concussion is to wipe out the interchange.

The Hall Of Fame Legend believes the game is more dangerous now than ever because full-time footballers are bigger, fitter and faster, and play with reckless courage.

Peter Wright after Saturday night’s loss to Sydney.

Peter Wright after Saturday night’s loss to Sydney.Credit: Getty Images

Matthews told 3AW the way to reduce “high-speed collisions” at AFL, suburban and junior level was to introduce fatigue by having players spend more time on the ground.

“Interchange has been the vehicle that coaches use to get maximum speed out of their players,” Matthews said.

“If we are serious about (reducing concussion), we have to either minimise big time, or reduce completely, or get rid of the interchange.”

Matthews was speaking in the wake of Bomber Peter Wright’s four-week suspension for his high-speed marking collision with Sydney’s Harry Cunningham.

The “Essendon edge” that Brad Scott wants as their AFL trademark faces another stern test against Ross Lyon’s St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.

The Bombers are coming off a five-goal loss to Sydney that also resulted in a four-game suspension for their tall forward Peter Wright, plenty of spot fires, and derisive comments from Swans star Tom Papley about Essendon’s physical approach.

Sam Durham celebrates with fans.

Sam Durham celebrates with fans.Credit: AFL Photos

If there’s a team that can handle heat in the kitchen as well as Sydney, it’s any line-up coached by Lyon.

“We know what’s coming, it’s going to be fierce, but it’s a challenge we’re up for,” Lyon said ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“Everyone wants to play a physical, on-edge brand, (a strong) mental brand, but we all know it’s easier said than done. “We’d like to think we stood up in a really fierce contest with a lot of pressure on us last week.

“We talk about (how) confidence comes from action … ”

Asked for a comment about Wright’s suspension, the response was pure Lyon.

He referred to last year’s controversial Brayden Maynard tribunal hearing, where the Collingwood defender was cleared for his high contact with Melbourne opponent Angus Brayshaw.

That case, combined with the AFL’s sensitivity to the concussion issue, prompted a tightening of tribunal guidelines around high contact.

“Try not to bump, lads. I don’t see anyone getting off if you bump,” Lyon said.

“There are no Maynards here – knock someone out and, you know, whatever it was and everything’s hunky dory. It doesn’t look like that anymore, does it?”

While Wright is a big loss for the Bombers, at the other end of the ground the Saints will be without their own spearhead Max King, who is also out with a one-game suspension.

Last year’s impressive rookie Anthony Caminiti is the obvious replacement for King.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s a part of football. They’re in the same boat, lose your big power forward,” Lyon said.

“He (Caminiti) has been in good (VFL) form and probably a little bit unlucky not to have been in.”

While the Bombers pushed Sydney, ultimately they conceded 131 points and big questions remain about their ability to defend.

The Saints will start favourites after their outstanding upset of reigning premiers Collingwood last week, which came despite losing Mason Wood and Liam Henry to injury during the match.


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