BREANN Moody has stamped her All-Australian credentials as Carlton made short work of St Kilda, with intermittent rain no obstacle in the 27-point win.
The Blues took charge from the first bounce, ultimately dismissing the Saints 6.8 (44) to the Saints' 2.5 (17) in the first match of round seven.
St Kilda toiled away but simply could not break through Carlton's defensive setup, which featured star goalkicker Darcy Vescio, which starved the Saints' forwards of opportunity.
It was an arm wrestle around the contest as St Kilda duo Rosie Dillon (19 disposals, 252 metres gained) and Olivia Vesely (19 disposals, eight tackles) went head-to-head with the Blues' dynamic duo of Mimi Hill (26 disposals, eight clearances) and Abbie McKay (26 disposals, six score involvements), but it was the latter's ability to transition into space on the outside that resulted in their side's ascendency.
SAINTS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
They were aided by star ruck Breann Moody who bullied St Kilda's injury-hit ruck division, which also lost Simone Nalder due to concussion in the opening quarter. Moody finished the game with two goals, 22 hitouts and three clearances as she dominated both the air and the ground.
The Blues controlled territory for much of the game, just struggling to convert due to repeated goal-saving touches from Bec Ott on the last line of defence. But it was some quick thinking from veteran Jess Dal Pos that eventually saw the visitors break through, gathering the ball deep in the forward pocket and turning to snap, slotting a goal of the year contender late in the third quarter.
St Kilda coach Nick Dal Santo shifted the magnets in the final quarter to kickstart his side, throwing Nicola Stevens behind the ball and captain Hannah Priest onto the wing which injected some run and attack, resulting in two goals to the clever Jess Matin, but it was unfortunately too little too late for the home side.
Kerryn Peterson set the standard for Carlton early, getting involved in everything in her new position on the wing, finishing the game with 16 disposals and seven tackles, while Lucy McEvoy was solid as a rock coming out of defence with 17 disposals and six intercepts.
For the Saints, Molly McDonald was tireless on the wing with 15 disposals and five tackles.
With this loss, finals are now just one step too far for the Saints, while Carlton moves to ninth on the ladder after a slow start to the season.
Darcy down back
In round five, Carlton coach Daniel Harford threw reliable defender Gab Pound up forward to provide some experience ahead of the ball. This week it was Darcy Vescio playing as a small defender and just oozing class. Often matched up on Jess Matin, Vescio was clean at ground level, gathering the ball with one hand and using their run to set up teammates higher up the field. Vescio ended the game with 15 disposal, 10 intercepts and potentially a new starting position.
The tall battle
St Kilda was already thin on tall stocks with Erin McKinnon out, which was less than ideal when coming up against one of the best rucks in the competition in Breann Moody, so when Simone Nalder copped a concussion during the first quarter things got even tougher for the Saints. With Nalder out of action, defender Lucy Burke and the competition's equal-leading goalkicker Kate Shierlaw had to share ruck duties which put pressure on St Kilda's structure in front of the ball.
Carlton will open the round hosting Richmond at Ikon Park on Friday evening, while St Kilda will travel to Ballarat to take on the Western Bulldogs, who are trying to keep a hold of their top eight spot on Sunday afternoon.
ST KILDA 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.5 (17)
CARLTON 2.2 4.2 5.7 6.8 (44)
St Kilda: Matin 2
Carlton: Moody 2, Skepper, Peterson, Dal Pos, Pound
St Kilda: Dillon, Vesely, Stuart, McDonald
Carlton: Moody, Peterson, Vescio, McEvoy
St Kilda: Nalder (concussion)
St Kilda: Nil
Carlton: Annie Lee (illness) replaced in the selected side by Nat Plane
Crowd: TBC at RSEA Park