Jack Higgins celebrates a goal during the round 19 clash between St Kilda and North Melbourne on July 23, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

ST KILDA has denied North Melbourne's stand-in coach Brett Ratten his revenge, beating the Kangaroos by eight points to stay in the top eight.

The Saints trailed by 16 points and were in deep trouble at three-quarter time of the Sunday twilight game at Marvel Stadium, but stormed home to win 9.15 (69) to 9.7 (61).

It was an emotion-charged game, given the Saints ruthlessly sacked Ratten last year after extending his contract only weeks before.

SAINTS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

But the Kangaroos could not maintain the momentum they built through the middle of the game as St Kilda kicked five goals to one in the last term.


It was a much-needed win for St Kilda after losing four of its past five games, while North's losing streak grew to 16.

The loss was no fault of star North onballer Luke Davies-Uniacke, who was best afield with 33 possessions, 23 of them contested, and 11 clearances.

Saints captain Jack Steele also racked up 33 disposals and put his side in front 12 minutes into the last term when he intercepted a clearing kick from Kangaroos defender Paul Curtis.


That crucial play typified the turnover-laden match, with neither side able to build momentum thanks to a succession of handling errors.

After trailing at quarter-time, North built a two-goal lead at the main break and looked more likely to win as it kicked two goals to one in the third term.


However, the Saints quickly kicked the first two goals of the final term and the Roos were unable to curb their momentum.

Tarryn Thomas and Nick Larkey kicked three goals apiece for North, while Mitch Owens and Jack Higgins had two for St Kilda, including a snap from Higgins 27 minutes into the final quarter to seal the result.


Saints speedster Bradley Hill went to hospital with chest pain after a heavy bump from Aidan Corr in the first quarter.

North youngster Charlie Lazzaro was a late withdrawal with a back injury and Daniel Howe took his place.

No Hill, yet the climb may have just got steeper
St Kilda will be sweating on the extent of Bradley Hill's injury after the wingman headed to hospital as a result of a collision with Aidan Corr on Sunday. Finals have been fading faster than a politician's promise but Sunday's win keeps the door open, and if September is going to be back on the Saints' calendar they'll need their list at it's strongest. 


The hardest of losses
Since Alastair Clarkson stepped aside North Melbourne has experienced heartbreaking losses and mind-numbing maulings, but the one match Brett Ratten would have really wanted to win was this one against the club that sacked him unceremoniously last year. There's no way 'Ratts' would have taken the result for granted when his new side led by 16 points at the final turn, but there's also no doubt he could have tasted his first Roos win like a hot dinner in the middle of an icy winter. Unfortunately for Ratten it didn't happen, and revenge unachieved was a dish served cold.

Brett Ratten during the round 19 clash between St Kilda and North Melbourne on July 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Thomas too good to lose
It's been a tumultuous year for Tarryn Thomas off the field, seemingly all of his own doing and fairly throwing his football future into question, but since returning to on-field action the 23-year-old has shown he is prepared to put all else aside and give everything to North Melbourne. Thomas is having a career-best season for disposals, tackles and goals and delivering plenty of elite-level play, suggesting his head is in the game and he is keen to focus on football. Hopefully the gifted Roo is just as intent on getting it together away from the ground, not only because it would be a pity to lose such a talent, but no-one wants his life, or those of people close to him, ruined by bad decisions.



ST KILDA                       3.3    3.7    4.12    9.15 (69)
NORTH MELBOURNE     2.0    6.1    8.4      9.7   (61)

St Kilda: Owens 2, Higgins 2, Marshall, Sharman, Sinclair, Caminiti, Steele
North Melbourne: Thomas 3, Larkey 3, Xerri, Ford, Ziebell

St Kilda: Steele, Sinclair, Marshall, Windhager, Wilkie, Higgins
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, McKay, Sheezel, Thomas, Phillips, Tucker

St Kilda:
Hill (chest)
North Melbourne
: Shiels (calf)

North Melbourne: Howe replaced Lazarro in selected side

St Kilda: Jack Billings (replaced Bradley Hill in the first quarter)
North Melbourne:
Jack Ziebell (replaced Liam Shiels at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 18,279 at Marvel Stadium