ST KILDA coach Brett Ratten has revealed young key forward Max King played out the nine-point loss to Sydney with an injured back.
It's not the only injury the Saints were handling, with co-captain Jarryn Geary dislocating his right shoulder and Mason Wood suffering what at this stage appears to be a three-week hamstring injury.
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"He did an amazing job to play. He hurt his back at training, got through to get up to play, and then re-hurt it at half-time," Ratten said.
"We just positioned him as a deep forward to create a contest, and that's all we asked him to do today. I thought it was pretty encouraging for a young man to just push through. They're some of the things you learn along the journey.
"Really, he's a second-year player for us, and sometimes you're not feeling 100 per cent, but being out there helps others and what he did was allow Tim and Josh Battle and probably Higgins to get a look at it and hit the scoreboard.
"Because it happened on Thursday, we just had to wait and see. A few days' rest, he might not train until late in the week, so we'll give him a light week and allow him to get through."
Geary's torrid run with serious injuries appears to have continued with the latest incident, suffered when attempting to tackle Lance Franklin.
"Not sure (about the severity), they were still trying to get it in. He was trying to hop into an ambulance so they could take him to hospital," Ratten said.
"He would have been 15-20 minutes after the game, still trying to get his shoulder back in, so he's in a fair bit of pain."
Higgins had an excellent day around the ground, with 23 disposals and 12 marks, but found the going tough in front of goal, finishing with 1.6 including three late misses.
"It's about the process and going back, it's his craft. He's a dangerous small forward who gets lots of shots on goal, to get seven shots on goal, he's probably going to be best on if he kicks 6.1 instead of 1.6," Ratten said.
"He's had a fair game, but he just hasn't done the last part of it, and that's put the ball through the sticks. But that's part of the game, he's a professional, he needs to keep working hard, and sometimes you just have days where it doesn't happen for you.
"Jack has been doing a lot of work, even to the point yesterday when I was walking back to the hotel and I said, 'mate, make sure you don't sit here for another hour-and-a-half and be tired for the game,', because he was just having shots for goal."
Sydney coach John Longmire was pleased to get the win, but noted there was room for improvement from his young side.
"If you isolate it to just one moment (we were fortunate), but the game goes a bit longer than that. We just opened the door a bit in the end there and gave them a bit of an opportunity, but then we were able to get back on top," Longmire said.
"It's ultimately about finding a way to get over the line. We were probably down a bit in our pressure we normally apply, our heat around the ball and we've been good on that basis for nearly the whole year.
"Different times we fluctuated. They were able to get some easy goals too, whether it was from 50m penalties or a few free-kick goals, there were a couple of times there where they were able to get some easy ones.
"When we had the momentum, we were OK, we just have to make sure when we lapse, we don't have goals kicked against us to stop that flow."