ST KILDA has staged a remarkable comeback victory and got its season back on track with a thrilling 20-point win over West Coast at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Trailing by 33 points during the third quarter, the Saints looked gone but were able to turn things around through relentless pressure across the ground, kicking eight consecutive goals to win 15.12 (102) to 13.4 (82).
Max King was the hero up forward with a career-best five goals, while Dan Butler (three goals) and captain Jack Steele (33 disposals and one goal) also starred.
The first term was a high scoring, see-sawing affair.
Jack Darling proved a handful early, kicking two goals within the opening five minutes of the game.
St Kilda’s defence found itself under siege, with Oscar Allen adding to the Saints’ misery with a third goal to give the Eagles an early 19-point advantage.
But just when things started looking ominous for St Kilda, Max King and Tim Membrey combined for the next four goals to not only stem the bleeding, but also give the Saints the lead.
SAINTS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
Jack Petruccelle then kicked the next two goals and Liam Ryan added another to give the Eagles a 12-point lead at quarter time.
West Coast started to gain ascendancy in the second term, kicking four goals in the quarter including a classy running goal from Petruccelle to give them a 28-point lead at half-time.
St Kilda ramped up its efforts in the third term, winning the first seven inside 50s of the quarter and kicking a much needed goal through Jack Billings.
But West Coast’s efficiency up forward caused headaches for the Saints, the Eagles kicking three goals from their first four inside 50s for the term through Allen, Petruccelle and Josh Kennedy.
Just when all hope looked lost, St Kilda came alive through Dan Butler, the former Tiger kicking two goals in quick succession around another from teammate Daniel McKenzie, reducing the margin to 10 points at the final break.
The Saints continued to apply unrelenting pressure in the last quarter, and soon the floodgates opened.
They kicked five consecutive goals in the final term and were willed home by a vocal home crowd which witnessed a St Kilda win for the ages.
Max King’s day out
2021 has seen the return of key forwards kicking bags of goals and on Saturday Max King decided to join the party. The highly-touted youngster kicked a career-high five goals and was a vital part of St Kilda’s remarkable comeback. His fifth goal early in the final term helped instill the Saints with the confidence they needed to run over the top of the Eagles. If he continues his rapid upwards trajectory, King will be difficult to stop this season.
Winder joins the 'First kick, first goal' club
Isiah Winder made his debut on Saturday as the medical sub, but came into the game earlier than he would have expected after captain Shannon Hurn picked up a calf injury in the opening minutes of the game. He didn’t take long to make an impact, kicking a goal with his first kick after snapping truly following a St Kilda turnover in the goal square. Winder was all smiles and was promptly mobbed by his adoring teammates.
St Kilda’s season back on track
It cannot be understated just how important Saturday’s win was for St Kilda. If they lost, the Saints would have been sitting 1-3 with games against reigning premier Richmond and an in-form Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval to come in the next two weeks. The Saints will also be buoyed by the return to form of Dan Butler, who sparked the comeback with an influential third term and finished with three goals. St Kilda coach Brett Ratten will hope Butler – and the rest of his teammates – can replicate this form during the difficult fortnight ahead.
ST KILDA 4.2 5.5 10.11 15.12 (102)
WEST COAST 6.2 10.3 13.3 13.4 (82)
St Kilda: King 5, Butler 3, Membrey 2, Billings 2, McKenzie, Steele, Higgins
West Coast: Petruccelle 4, Darling 2, Allen 2, Kennedy 2, Ryan, Cripps, Winder
St Kilda: King, Steele, Hill, Crouch, Butler
West Coast: Petruccelle, McGovern, Naitanui, Sheed
St Kilda: Nil
West Coast: Hurn (calf)
St Kilda: Ben Long (unused)
West Coast: Isiah Winder (replaced Shannon Hurn)
Crowd: TBC at Marvel Stadium