A RELENTLESS final-quarter attitude was behind St Kilda's thrilling last-minute victory over Melbourne on Sunday, says coach Alan Richardson.
The Saints had less than 40 seconds to respond to a Jeremy Howe goal that gave the Demons a four-point lead in the Etihad Stadium game.
But they pulled off the unthinkable when they stole a two-point victory through a memorable team goal that came off Leigh Montagna's boot with 19 seconds left.
The usually-measured Richardson celebrated after the fast-paced goal, and said it was his players' intent – with 16 to six inside 50s – and willingness to fight it out that made him most proud.
Five talking points: St Kilda v Melbourne
"If you work that hard then the footy gods look after you, and Joey ends up getting on the end," Richardson said.
"When the game was up for grabs, scores were level, we were really, really strong. We just kept attacking. We defended really well.
"When you have those sorts of entries and don't score … there's a fair chance the ball's coming back out.
"But hardly ever did that ball get through. That's as good as we've team defended for a long time.
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"It's probably as emotional as I've been after a game; certainly when Joey scored, we knew how long there was to go.”
Melbourne coach Paul Roos said the Demons failed to get enough numbers behind the ball after Howe's goal, which saw Montagna find space in the goalsquare.
But Richardson said he was pleased with how his players were able to take pre-season learnings and use them against the Demons.
Click here to watch Alan Richardson's full post-match media conference
"All that scenario work is done in pre-season – if we're in front, here's what we want to do, get a bit of support to make sure if they win a clearance we've got extras there," he said.
"This situation is the opposition; that Melbourne are likely to put some extra numbers back and if they did then our guys – thankfully, instinctively – were able to man it up and get a contest as opposed to them just marking the ball, so that was a positive."
While Jack Steven was well held by Jack Viney, he was pivotal when he won the centre clearance and took the ball inside 50 twice to influence Montagna's goal.
"He didn't have a great night, they'd certainly done their homework on Jack, and he wasn't able to have the influence he normally has," Richardson said.
"But for him to break clear and then get the ball again, and then even more importantly be selfless with his next possession as opposed to taking a shot that was probably a miracle type shot, he centred the ball and we got a goal.
"I was just so pleased for the players. When you lay 98 tackles, you want to get reward for that sort of effort and energy, and we want to be aggressive with the way we put pressure on the opposition."
The Saints now have a bye but expect to have Sam Fisher (hamstring) and Dylan Roberton (foot) available for their June 27 clash with the Western Bulldogs.
However, Jack Billings (shin soreness) is rated only a 50-50 prospect at this stage.