BRETT Ratten must have thought he was watching a replay. Thankfully for the St Kilda coach, this tape ended differently.
CROWS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
A week after forfeiting a six-goal lead to be beaten by Fremantle, the Saints were on the verge of being mowed down again on Monday night against an invigorated Adelaide line-up searching for its first win of the season.
>> WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
Having jumped to a 26-point lead in the second quarter, the Saints were beset after half-time by the Crows, who got to within nine points midway through the last quarter and threatened another comeback horror for the Saints, who had also faded in round one against North Melbourne.
This time, however, St Kilda steadied, kicking the last three goals of the game to claim the 23-point win, which was their first at Adelaide Oval in 11 attempts.
The 12.6 (78) to 8.7 (55) result sees the Saints jump back into the top eight as their fast, attacking and high-scoring brand under Ratten continued.
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Their fleet of smalls, including Dan Butler (three goals), Jade Gresham and Jack Lonie, were busy throughout, while midfield duo Jack Steele (26 disposals) and Zak Jones (20 disposals) were also instrumental in the win.
The loss condemned Adelaide (0-7) to its worst-ever season start and its 10th straight defeat, with Matthew Nicks still yet to taste victory as coach.
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But this was a step in the right direction, with Adelaide matching it with the Saints after half-time and their forward half starting to click, with the return to form of former captain Taylor Walker (three goals) and the impressive showing of stand-in skipper Tom Doedee among the encouraging signs.
Butler serves up more class
Bradley Hill was quiet again with 12 disposals, Paddy Ryder was solid in the ruck, Dougal Howard pushed forward to kick a goal and Jones (20 disposals) continued his very good season in the midfield. But again the best of St Kilda's new faces was former Tiger Butler, who kicked three majors in another speedy, hard-working performance. The 2017 Richmond premiership player took no time to get started with two first-quarter goals, but his last major, in the third term, showed the powerful running he has brought to St Kilda's line-up when he was rewarded with a shrewd crumb.
McAsey starting to make his mark
There haven't been many highlights for the Crows this season so little moments of a brighter future mean a bit more. One of those came in the first quarter when first-yearer Fischer McAsey bolted with the flight of the ball into a contest to take a brave contested mark in the forward pocket. With shades of the famous courageous grabs by greats Nick Riewoldt and Jonathan Brown in years past, McAsey's mark was an insight of what's to come for the next decade for the Crows. The Victorian key-position player was pick No.6 at last year's NAB AFL Draft and started this year as a defender before being switched into attack in recent weeks.
St Kilda's trade steal
Steele produced one of the games of the season and was a clear best-on-ground for the Saints. The former Giant, now into his fourth year with the club, is renowned for his tackling strength but he is pieced together a complete game against the Crows, gathering 26 disposals (19 were contested), 13 clearances and even sliding forward to kick a classy goal on his non-preferred left foot. When the game was there to be won, Steele stepped up, with 16 of those touches and six clearances tallied by half-time. After two consecutive finishes on the podium in St Kilda's best and fairest Steele will again be high in the club's ratings after taking his game up a notch in 2020.
ADELAIDE 1.2 4.2 5.6 8.7 (55)
ST KILDA 3.2 7.4 8.4 12.6 (78)
Adelaide: Walker 3, McAdam 2, Keays, Laird, Lynch
St Kilda: Butler 3, Kent 2, King 2, Gresham, Howard, Lonie, Membrey, Steele
Adelaide: Walker, Doedee, M.Crouch, Keays, Lynch
St Kilda: Steele, Butler, Jones, Coffield, Gresham, Clark
St Kilda: Battle (head)