ST KILDA fans rejoice, your team has won its first final in 10 years.
But boy did the Saints make hard work of it.
With the old of skipper Jarryn Geary and the new of star-in-the-making Max King leading the way, the Saints had to withstand a withering final-quarter comeback from the Western Bulldogs to hang on by three points in their elimination final at the Gabba on Saturday.
The 10.7 (67) to 9.10 (64) victory puts them into a semi-final against Richmond next weekend.
The Saints led by 24 points at the final change and looked home and hosed, but when Caleb Daniel kicked the Dogs' fourth of the final term with two minutes remaining, it set up a frantic finish.
But strong marks from Tim Membrey and Rowan Marshall iced the game and the Saints hung on to advance. Just.
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Influential ruckman Paddy Ryder hobbled off late in the match with what appeared a hamstring injury.
It was fitting Geary – the only survivor from St Kilda's last finals campaign in 2011 – would have a big say in his team's triumph.
Initially playing as a defensive forward on All Australian Caleb Daniel, the 32-year-old proved an attacking weapon, setting up the opening goal for Membrey and finishing with 13 disposals, seven marks and two goals.
He also clunked four contested marks as part of a forward line that dominated the Bulldogs' defence.
An ankle injury late in the second term to key defender Zaine Cordy did not help Luke Beveridge's men, but it was the second straight year they failed get past the first weekend of the post-season.
King was magnificent, having his way with Ryan Gardner and dragging in seven marks, five of them contested to go along with two goals.
The Saints took 21 contested marks overall, as Membrey (16 disposals and two goals), Paddy Ryder (two goals) and Rowan Marshall all have an influence.
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Dan Hannebery (20 disposals) showed his class in another big game, while Hunter Clark (19) also impressed.
In complete contrast, the Dogs looked listless for three quarters before digging deep in the final term.
While Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce struggled to make an impact, despite the Bulldogs winning the inside 50 count 51-35, they managed to conjure enough chances to almost pull off the unthinkable.
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One concern coming out of the victory hangs over Ben Long, who will come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer after a first-quarter bump appeared to collect Jack Macrae high.
Long tore in from the back of the square following an early centre bounce, and although Macrae braced for contact, had his head rocked by the tearaway Saint.
St Kilda trailed by five points at quarter-time but kicked three goals to one in the decisive second term.
ST KILDA 2.2 5.4 9.6 10.7 (67)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.1 4.3 5.6 9.10 (64)
St Kilda: King 2, Ryder 2, Membrey 2, Geary 2, Lonie, Butler
Western Bulldogs: Daniel, Hunter, Liberatore, Crozier, Johannisen, Dunkley, Wallis, Bruce, Naughton
St Kilda: Geary, Hannebery, Ryder, Clark, Howard, Membrey, Carlisle
Western Bulldogs: Smith, Bontempelli, Williams, Crozier, Daniel
St Kilda: Ryder (hamstring)
Western Bulldogs: Cordy (ankle)