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Lions hold on for desperate win in NZ

Highlights: St Kilda v Brisbane Lions The Saints and Lions clash in round 6
Trent West of the Lions celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL round 06 ANZAC Day match between the St Kilda Saints and the Brisbane Lions at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on April 25, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Trent West kicked one goal for the Lions on Friday night
THE BRISBANE Lions have held off a late challenge to end their winless run with a three-point win over St Kilda at Westpac Stadium in New Zealand on Friday night.

The Lions were never headed throughout the match, prevailing 12.10 (82) to 11.13 (79) in a scrappy affair in front of 13,409 fans. 


St Kilda moved to level with the Lions midway through the final term after trailing by 32 points late in the second term. 

The Lions reclaimed the lead with nine minutes remaining through a Jack Redden goal which may have been touched on the line. Both teams peppered the goals in the minutes following but failed to convert, with Jack Billings and Shane Savage missing easy shots for the Saints. 

The final three minutes played out largely in the Saints’ forward 50, including a poor kick on the run from Farren Ray that went well wide of the goals with just 80 seconds remaining. 

Savage then gave up a costly 50m penalty with 44 seconds remaining that sealed St Kilda’s fate. 

Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said his players had been able to grind the win out "probably not with skills but with a little bit of heart."
 
"You can't grind it out any more than that, can you?" Leppitsch said.
 
"We were challenged and halfway through that last quarter the game was probably only heading one way.
  
"They were really running on top of us. I'm proud for the guys to fight it out.
 
"We still made a lot of errors in those last 15 minutes, but it's just good to crawl over the line."

Redden was dominant for the Lions with 29 possessions and two goals while youngster James Aish also gave a promising performance and Dayne Zorko worked hard. Joel Patfull held Nick Riewoldt to just one goal. 

Saint Leigh Montagna won the Anzac Day Medal with a game-high 37 disposals and two goals.

The Lions showed greater urgency in the opening term, booting 4.3 (27) to St Kilda's 2.2 (14).

Saints midfielder Eli Templeton, 18, was subbed off during the first quarter in obvious pain and taken to hospital, with coach Alan Richardson confirming he had broken his left arm.
 
Richardson said he was disappointed with the way his team started the game, falling 32 points behind late in the second quarter.
 
"We've spoken often – players, coaches – about what we want to stand for, and what has been our focus," Richardson said.
 
"It's been about our defence, our attack on the ball, our attack on the man and the pressure we put on the opposition. It was below par for the first half.
 
"There was a focus at half-time on how badly we'd been beaten around the contest. We fumbled under pressure, we didn't tackle with the same effectiveness as Brisbane."
 
Three successive goals early in the third quarter from St Kilda cut the margin to 13 points.
 
However, a tremendous goal from 45m out by Jonathan Brown gave the Lions a handy 19-point buffer at three-quarter time.

The Saints kept coming, with two goals early in the last quarter to through Billings and Riewoldt before the Lions steadied and held on for a tense three-point win.

The Lions still sit last on the ladder and face a stern test against the Sydney Swans at the Gabba on May 3 while St Kilda faces a big challenge against Hawthorn at the MCG.


Jack Billings and Andrew Raines collide during the clash in Wellington. Picture: AFL Media

ST KILDA                         2.2   4.4   7.8   11.13    (79)     
BRISBANE LIONS          4.3   8.5   10.9  12.10   (82)        
 
GOALS
St Kilda: Jones 2, Montagna 2, Saunders, Curren, Dunstan, Dempster, Billings, Riewoldt, Stanley  
Brisbane Lions: Taylor 2, Brown 2, Redden 2, Merrett, Aish, Green, Brown, Zorko, West   
 
BEST
St Kilda: Montagna, Hayes, Dempster, Dunstan, Billings, Steven 
Brisbane Lions: Redden, Patfull, Aish, Adcock, Zorko, Raines      
 
INJURIES
St Kilda: Templeton (arm)
Brisbane Lions: Nil
 
SUBSTITUTES
St Kilda: Shane Savage replaced Eli Templeton in the first quarter 
Brisbane Lions: Tom Cutler replaced Luke McGuane in the third quarter

Reports: Nil
 
Umpires: Kamolins, Hay, Jeffery
 
Official crowd: 13,409 at Westpac Stadium



























Lion Sam Mayes takes a selfie with some St Kilda fans after the match. Picture: AFL Media