RILEY Thilthorpe has kicked a miraculous goal with just one minute remaining to seal a remarkable come-from-behind win for Adelaide over St Kilda in Cairns.
With his team trailing by a point and the clock winding down, Thilthorpe took possession of the ball with his back to the Crows' goal, 15m out.
Somehow, last year's No.2 draft pick managed to kick the ball directly over his head and through the posts to give Adelaide the lead.
It completely a truly incredible comeback in which the Crows had trailed by 36 points in wet conditions but somehow escaped with a 9.12 (66) to 8.12 (60) victory.
SAINTS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
The loss will give St Kilda coach Brett Ratten and his players nightmares after they dominated for the first two-and-a-half quarters.
However, following Brad Crouch's goal early in the second half to establish the Saints' game-high lead, Adelaide kicked the final seven goals of the match – including all three in the last quarter – to steal the win.
Thilthorpe kicked three for the night to ultimately have a big influence, while Rory Laird eventually shook the attention of Luke Dunstan to gather 21 of his 33 disposals after half-time.
Ben Keays (32 touches) and Paul Seedsman (31) were also influential.
St Kilda totally blanketed Adelaide in the first quarter, keeping the Crows scoreless and running out to a 27-point lead.
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The Saints' defence was like a brick wall, chopping off everything that made its way to half-back, led by Tom Highmore and Dougal Howard who took intercept marks at will.
Mason Wood kicked a couple of goals with his trusty left-foot snap, Max King put any set-shot goalkicking nerves aside to slot his first gettable look from 45m, and Jack Sinclair iced a great opening term with a goal after the siren.
The Crows were doing themselves no favours, with horror ball use gifting St Kilda many of its chances.
The trend of handing the ball over continued early in the second quarter when Seedsman kicked poorly at half-back and Bradley Hill found Dan Butler for the Saints' fifth goal.
Adelaide finally hit the scoreboard at the 16-minute mark of the quarter when Shane McAdam kicked a behind. He kicked the Crows' first goal minutes later to breathe a little life into the contest, but there was no sign of what was to come after half-time.
Crow's nervous wait after crunching Saint
Michael Christian has at least one incident to look at from the match, with Adelaide veteran David Mackay's second-quarter collision with Hunter Clark leaving the young Saint with a broken jaw. With the ball bobbling in the middle of the ground, Mackay came like a freight train – with eyes for the ball – and collected Clark's head with his shoulder almost simultaneously as he laid hands on the ball. Both men lay on the ground for some time before Clark was helped from the field and replaced by medical sub Jack Bytel minutes later.
From the outhouse to the penthouse
Riley Thilthorpe had quite the final two minutes. With his team trailing by a point, the young Adelaide key forward won a free kick against Dougal Howard deep in the right forward pocket. His drop punt sailed across the face of goal and out on the full. Just when the No.2 draft pick thought his hopes of being the hero had been dashed, he was presented with another chance just 60 seconds later. This one came in general play, gathering a loose ball and miraculously kicking it over his head from 15m for the match-winning goal. After being well beaten by Howard for much of the night, Thilthorpe had a huge influence with three goals and showed another glimpse of his boundless ability.
Crouch stats up against his old mates
After 95 games for Adelaide, this was the first time Brad Crouch had played his former club since his off-season free agency move. And the 27-year-old was at his burrowing, hard-working, contested ball-winning best. The slippery conditions were right up Crouch's alley and the new Saint made the most of them, gathering a game-high 36 disposals (20 contested) and kicking a third-quarter goal. It wasn't his most fluent game, but after 38 touches against Sydney last week, Crouch is starting to feel right at home in red, white and black.
ST KILDA 4.3 7.6 8.9 8.12 (60)
ADELAIDE 0.0 2.6 6.6 9.12 (66)
St Kilda: King 2, Wood 2, Butler, Byrnes, Crouch, Sinclair
Adelaide: Thilthorpe 3, McAdam, Mackay, Rowe, Sloane, Smith, Walker
St Kilda: Steele, Highmore, Dunstan, Howard, Crouch, Higgins, Sinclair
Adelaide: Seedsman, Keays, Laird, Doedee, Smith, Thilthorpe
St Kilda: Clark (jaw)
St Kilda: Jack Bytel (replaced Hunter Clark)
Adelaide: Lachie Sholl
Crowd: 5969 at Cazalys Stadium
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