Saints defenders taught hard AFL lessons

Shane Savage will reach the 150-match milestone for St Kilda against Collingwood.
Shane Savage will reach the 150-match milestone for St Kilda against Collingwood.

St Kilda's defenders will show how quickly they've learned their AFL lessons when they try to contain the in-form Collingwood attack at the MCG.

Saturday's game will come a week after the Saints and Carlton defenders went through much the same thing - a devastating burst of goals that cost them the match.

For the Saints it was a four-goal run from West Coast late in the third term that decided their Saturday night match.

A few hours earlier, the Magpies had turned a looming massive upset loss to the Blues into a win with a five-goal surge at the end of the game.

"Probably the biggest thing that came out of that was our contest, for seven minutes," said Saints defender Shane Savage.

"We did a lot of things right, we probably went back to playing a bit conservatively, playing from behind."

The Magpies clash will be a big day for Savage and teammate Josh Bruce - Savage reaches 150 games and Bruce will play his 100th.

"I was probably at the crossroads a couple of years ago, but I've found some really good form, some consistency," Savage said.

"I've changed a few things in my game and it's really nice to get to this milestone."

The absence of Dylan Roberton and Jake Carlisle this season has meant Savage taking on more of a leadership role in defence and he has enjoyed the extra responsibility.

"Obviously that leadership side of things, they left a pretty big hole and it was an area where I really had to stand up," he said.

"But we've seen (Callum) Wilkie, (Josh) Battle, (Ben) Paton really flourish down there."

His backline responsibilities did not stop Savage from snapping a freakish goal against the Eagles.

It earned him a goal of the week nomination and some ribbing from teammates.

"I had a brief look inside, I wasn't all that selfish, but I was under pressure, so I thought why not go for it?," he said

"It went in - an absolute fluke.

"I was covering the outlets at the time. I wasn't getting too high - I came from a good defensive position.

"But I copped a bit of flak, for sure."

Australian Associated Press