Australia

AFL star can actually take flight

Saints rising star Ben Long can actually fly.

That’s how it looked at least when he soared into the air and rode an explosive boost from the shoulders of teammate Nick Coffield to take the early mark of the year as the Saints put the Blues to the sword on Thursday night footy.

The Blues fell asleep in the second term and never really looked like troubling the Saints in the second half as St Kilda ran away to an 18-point win.

The Blues kicked the last three goals but were still never in the hunt in the 11.7 (73) to 8.7 (55) result.

Long’s freakish aerial display came as the Satins snuffed out any chance of a Blues fight back in the third term.

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The 22-year-old took flight over the top of a pack of three players and reached freakish heights after an accidental leg-up from Coffield.

Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor declared the mark the mark of the year so far — despite Brisbane star Charlie Cameron also taking a thrilling hanger last weekend.

“That is a classic, Bruce,” Taylor said in commentary for Channel 7.

“What a superb mark that was. Mark of the year so far, I would think.

“Have a look at this. A defensive mark. He got the lift and then the extended lift, Bruce. And he marked it on the chest and at a very high point. That is just an awesome mark. A

young fellow, Ben Long, with an absolute screamer, Bruce.”

YOU CAN WATCH THE SCREAMER IN THE PLAYER ABOVE

The Saints were celebrating for most of the night after opening up a 37-point lead in the second term.

The Blues responded by kicking five of the next six goals before Jack Billings kicked a key momentum-swinging goal to give the Saints a 23-point breathing margin at the final change.

Tim Membrey’s ugly floating snap that just made the distance then shut the door on the Blues early in the fourth quarter.

The only headache for the Saints was a concerning hamstring injury to veteran Dan Hannebery.

The former Swans star was forced from the field in the third term with the soft tissue injury and was seen with ice wrapped around the right hamstring minutes later.

He confirmed to Channel 7 after the match that the injury is a low-level hamstring strain.

The win takes the Saints up to fourth on the AFL ladder with their third win in four matches.

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