HELD goalless for three quarters, Max King has exploded with four goals to help St Kilda fight back from 25 points down to beat Richmond by 33.
After Hugo Ralphsmith put the Tigers ahead by more than four goals midway through the third term, Richmond looked set for a strong win on Sunday.
But St Kilda's midfield, marshalled by Brad Crouch, got the contest back on level footing before King tore it apart for the 18.9 (117) to 13.6 (84) victory.
SAINTS v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
For a second successive game King broke a contest apart, booting four goals and hauling in six marks to help complete the rout, after Richmond lost co-captain Dylan Grimes to a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
Crouch (29 disposals, 11 clearances, nine tackles) was St Kilda's standout player in the first half and arguably their best throughout along with Jade Gresham, while Seb Ross and Jack Steele lifted in the third term.
Matt Parker, who was delisted by St Kilda at the end of 2020 and given a second AFL opportunity by the Tigers, haunted his former club with three goals in the first half.
Shai Bolton and Noah Balta kicked three and two goals respectively, while Nathan Broad plucked 12 marks in defence and intercepted at will.
The Tigers had left the Saints shellshocked when they snared two goals within the opening 30 seconds via Liam Baker and Bolton, but the Saints quickly rallied and turned the first half into a shootout.
Jack Higgins was substituted out with concussion after a first-quarter tackle from Ralphsmith, with Ben Long entering the game.
But Parker proved the difference in a dynamic first half, with his two instinctive snaps and another goal from a courageous mark inspiring a 13-point half-time lead.
When Ralphsmith intercepted and kicked a beautiful long-range goal to extend Richmond's lead past four goals in the third, St Kilda looked set to fold.
Instead, they booted the next 10 goals.
The first time's a charm
When a young player slots a goal early in their career it's guaranteed teammates will come running to congratulate them, but if things take a little longer the first major may go unnoticed. Not the case for Callum Wilkie. The 26-year-old defender had to wait till game 66 to break his duck and his teammates were only too aware of the occasion, charging from all corners of the ground to pat him on the back or give his head a rub. Judging by the size of the smile on Wilkie's face he'll be looking for goal number two sooner rather than later.
Opening on a high and a low
The first quarter was free-flowing footy at its best, producing 12 goals at six apiece with three of St Kilda's majors coming off the boots of former Richmond small forwards Jack Higgins and Dan Butler. But the exciting start was spoiled somewhat as Higgins ran in for a second, only to be dragged backwards in a Hugo Ralphsmith tackle that resulted in the Saint's head making contact with the ground. Higgins left the field for assessment and was subbed out with concussion before quarter-time. The incident looked relatively innocuous, but with Higgins' medical history there is sure to be some concern from club, family and friends until the classy and entertaining cult figure gets the all clear.
Former Saint starting to purr as a Tiger
Taken by St Kilda as a 22-year-old in the 2018 National Draft, Matthew Parker looked a ready-made player, and with 16 goals from 17 games in his debut season the Saints' recruiters looked to have made a canny choice. 12 months and two games later things had turned sour and he was delisted. However, Richmond saw something it liked and extended a lifeline in last year's mid-season draft. Sunday's clash was game 27 for Parker and arguably his best, finishing with three goals. Marlion Pickett was another Tiger in fine form against St Kilda, suggesting maybe other clubs should look to Punt Road to get the most from the mid-year draft.
ST KILDA 6.2 8.4 11.8 18.9 (117)
RICHMOND 6.4 10.5 12.6 13.6 (84)
St Kilda: King 4, Membrey 3, Butler 2, Long 2, Marshall 2, Crouch, Hayes, Higgins, Wilkie, Wood
Richmond: Bolton 3, Parker 3, Balta 2, Baker, Castagna, Lynch, Nankervis, Ralphsmith
St Kilda: Crouch, Wilkie, Steele, King, Gresham, Ross, Membrey
Richmond: Graham, Dow, Pickett, Short, Broad, Nankervis
St Kilda: Higgins (concussion)
Richmond: Grimes (hamstring)
St Kilda: Ben Long, replaced Jack Higgins in the first quarter
Richmond: Jake Aarts, replaced Dylan Grimes in the third quarter
Crowd: TBC at Marvel Stadium