The encounter with Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night will be something of a grudge match for highly capable St Kilda coach Brett Ratten.
The coach of Carlton from 2007 to 2012 Ratten was unceremoniously dumped by the Blues even though he had achieved 60 wins, 59 losses and one draw, with an ordinary team.
He had a stint at Hawthorn before his association with the club also ended in a disappointing fashion.
This led through to Ratten being given the chance to display his ability with St Kilda.
Late last season, under his care, the Saints had three wins and three losses, one of which by four points to the Blues.
A skilfully planned recruiting campaign aimed at lifting the club from 14th place has enabled the Saints to be more competitive this season with victories over the Western Bulldogs and Richmond and a two point loss to North Melbourne.
Jack Billings, Jack Steele and Jake Carlisle, who starred against The Tigers, should again be difficult to counter as will Dan Butler and Tim Membrey, who each kicked three goals.
The Blues – 16th last season – are also displaying improvement since being taken over by a very cool David Teague.
The club’s outstanding captain Patrick Cripps is leading the way and is receiving support from players all around the ground.
Kade SImpson, who will be playing his 327th game, is continuing in extraordinary form while Levi Casbolt is, at last, realising his full potential.
In a tight, hard fought match, which will have a vital bearing on each club’s 2020 prospects, St Kilda might just have the edge.
Despite the interest in the Saints-Blues clash the “match of the round” will be
between Brisbane and Port Adelaide at The Gabba on Saturday night.
The only unbeaten side Port benefitted from a six-goal performance by Charlie Dixon on its way to a comprehensive victory over a half-hearted West Coast last weekend.
A great deal will depend on Dixon against the Lions and a four or five goal contribution from him could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Brisbane is third – below the Gold Coast on percentage – with three wins but while the Lions are playing in entertaining style the side is still lacking the cohesion necessary to win a grand final.
However, there is no doubt the likes of Charlie Cameron, Eric Hipwood and Lincoln McCarthy will be a constant worry for the Port defenders.
Another acid test is coming up for the Suns, who go in against the struggling Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday evening.
It seems that the older Cats – Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood, Harry Taylor and company – are feeling their age and they could have difficulty coping with the fast, flashy Suns.
Last Week Tipped: 6
2020 Total: 17
St. Kilda by 6pts
Collingwood by 17pts
Sydney by 25pts
Gold Coast by 10pts
Western Bulldogs by 18pts
Port Adelaide by 8pts
Fremantle by 16pts
Richmond by 23pts
GWS Giants by 16pts