PORT Adelaide has moved into the top-four after withstanding a fierce St Kilda challenge to win by 13 points at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
St Kilda were 20 points down during the third quarter but surged to regain the lead in the final term, however the Power held on to win 10.14 (74) to 8.13 (61).
In a high-pressure game that ebbed and flowed throughout, Ollie Wines starred with 1.1 from 36 disposals, while Mitch Georgiades was a strong presence up forward with four goals.
SAINTS v POWER Full match coverage and stats
For the Saints, Jack Steele was at his prolific best (37 touches and a goal), and Rowan Marshall was highly influential (2.2 from 19 touches).
It was a fairly even start to the game, with both sides struggling to hit their targets up forward early.
St Kilda finally broke the goal drought in the ninth minute of the first term with Steele slotting a classy running goal off a couple of steps.
From there, the Saints got on top in the territory battle but were wasteful in front of goal, kicking 2.4 to enter quarter time 10 points up.
The second term was another low-scoring affair, but this time it was Port Adelaide that started to gain control of the contest.
The Power won the contested possession count by 19 in the quarter but struggled to get reward on the scoreboard, until Karl Amon chimed in with two consecutive goals to even things up.
Georgiades then snapped through his second goal to give the Power the advantage at the main break.
Neither side took their opportunities in front of goal during the start of third term, until Boyd Woodcock made up for two earlier set shot misses with a vital snap through the goals.
From there, the game finally started to open up. The Power threatened to get on top after an Ollie Wines goal put them 19 points up, but late goals to Jimmy Webster and Max King reduced the margin to eight points at the final break.
Rowan Marshall got the Saints off to the perfect start in the last term, grabbing the ball from a ruck contest inside 50 and slotting it for the first goal of the quarter.
The pressure and intensity then rose significantly, with ferocious tackling aplenty.
But while St Kilda briefly regained the lead shortly following a rushed behind, Sam Mayes took a vital mark in the goalsquare and converted to re-establish the Power’s lead.
The Saints continued to fight, but could not land the killer blow. Charlie Dixon then chimed in with his first goal of the game to seal a memorable victory.
Big hit sidelines McKenzie
Dan McKenzie was on the receiving end of a nasty collision on Saturday that ended his day prematurely. In the second term, McKenzie attempted to tackle Mitch Georgiades but had the Power forward’s bodyweight land on top of him as he fell to the ground. The defender looked to be knocked out cold, and was immediately stretchered off the ground in a neck brace. He was replaced on the ground by medical sub Jack Bytel.
Power and Saints plagued by the yips
It was a fairly low scoring affair at Marvel Stadium, and a key reason for this was set shot inaccuracy. Both sides were plagued by the yips, missing numerous gettable shots in front of goal. This was exemplified by the start of the third term, which featured six consecutive behinds before a goal was kicked. In perfect conditions under the roof, both coaches would have expected a better effort in front of the big sticks.
Charlie steps up when it counts
Charlie Dixon was overshadowed in the forward line by youngster Mitch Georgiades for much of Saturday’s contest, but the spearhead stood up when he was needed most in the final term. Port Adelaide were up by only a goal with a touch more than a minute remaining when Dixon grabbed the ball in the forward pocket, danced around his opponent and ran into goal to kick the sealer. The big man proceeded to pump his fist as he was embraced by his teammates.
ST KILDA 2.4 3.5. 6.9 8.13 (61)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.0 4.6. 7.11 10.14 (74)
St Kilda: Marshall 2, Steele, Butler, Ryder, Webster, King, Hill
Port Adelaide: Georgiades 4, Amon 2, Woodcock, Wines, Mayes, Dixon
St Kilda: Steele, Crouch, Marshall, Hill, Dunstan
Port Adelaide: Wines, Amon, Georgiades, McKenzie, Lycett
St Kilda: McKenzie (concussion), Highmore (hand)
Port Adelaide: Woodcock (corked thigh)
St Kilda: Jack Bytel (replaced McKenzie)
Port Adelaide: Jed McEntee (replaced Woodcock)