Demons win again in strong AFL pre-season

Melbourne have capped their solid AFL pre-season with a 26-point win over St Kilda at Casey Fields.

The Demons followed their easy win over North Melbourne with a tougher 18.11 (119) to 14.9 (93) Thursday night result.

After briefly losing the lead late in the third quarter, Melbourne kicked six goals to two in the last term and had 13 goalkickers for the match.

The Demons have not made the finals since 2006 but, increasingly, they have the look of a team who can break that drought.

"There's clearly a lot to like - it was a great game, a good hit-out for both clubs, a really contested game," said Demons coach Simon Goodwin.

"It was a perfect preparation in terms of heading towards round one."

While the Saints lost their two pre-season games, they rallied impressively in the third term.

Goodwin said the third quarter showed they had elements of their game that needed work, but added that Melbourne's start was outstanding.

Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver starred with 27 possessions and half-back Shane Savage impressed for St Kilda.

Saints coach Alan Richardson said the match gave them more clarity about how they could play.

"It was a disappointing start ... but thereafter, there was some really positive stuff," he said.

"It's ended a really constructive pre-season for us."

Melbourne booted eight goals to four in the first quarter and they had 12 scoring shots from only 15 inside 50s.

St Kilda had enough possession, but handballed too often and the Demons looked much better organised.

Melbourne key defender Oscar McDonald left the field early in the second term with back tightness and did not return.

Goodwin said that was only a precaution.

After slumping to a 39-point deficit, the Saints rallied in the second quarter.

Hunter Clark, the Saints' No.7 November draft pick, kicked an excellent snapped goal a few minutes before halftime, but he only had a handful of disposals for the match as he presses for round-one selection.

That brought the Saints to within 31 points at the main break, before they went up a gear in the third quarter.

It was their turn to split Melbourne open, kicking 6.3 to 1.3 and briefly taking the lead late in the term.

Savage had eight disposals in the quarter and Josh Bruce kicked three goals, but it was more a team lift in intensity and clear intent to kick more than they had in the first half.

Saints star Jack Steven had to be helped from the field late in the third quarter with a rolled left ankle.

Coach Richardson joked that Steven had been a drama queen and expected him to play in round one.

Jeff Garlett put the Demons a point in front at the last change with their only goal of the third term, before they kicked six goals to two in the last quarter.