ST KILDA coach Brett Ratten has heaped praise on Max King after the power forward combined with Jack Higgins to inspire the Saints to a 10-point win over Fremantle at Optus Stadium.
King tallied just two disposals in the first half of Sunday's match, but he burst to life in the third term when he booted three goals in the space of 132 seconds of actual game time.
Higgins kicked three goals for the quarter himself, with the onslaught helping overturn a 13-point deficit and set up the 9.11 (65) to 8.7 (55) win.
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King, who took a strong mark with six minutes remaining in the game to kick the sealer, finished with four goals and four contested marks in a match-winning display.
Higgins, who kicked 0.4 in last week's loss to Collingwood, tallied 4.2 from 16 possessions as King's partner in crime.
"He is evolving," Ratten said of King.
"He doesn't have to have a heap of possessions to impact a game.
"When you see someone of his size and athleticism, the ball gravitates to him.
"He is still developing and he has work to do, but I like his resilience and him sticking to his task."
Ratten was also pleased with the way Higgins bounced back from his wayward display against the Magpies.
"He was our best pressure player in our forward half and the reward came with the goal scoring," Ratten said.
Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw racked up 39 disposals and eight tackles, while Rory Lobb and Travis Colyer kicked two goals apiece.
Dockers ruckman Sean Darcy limped off early in the second half with a right ankle injury, and he was eventually subbed out after making a brief return to the field.
St Kilda's inaccuracy cost them dearly in a hard-fought first half that featured plenty of huge bumps and tackles.
But it was the Higgins and King show in the third quarter as the Dockers lost their way.
King's three-goal burst in the space of two minutes was particularly destructive, with each goal coming from a mark.
The Dockers dominated for long periods of the final term, but their wayward kicking into attack meant the Saints' defenders picked them off time and again.
Fremantle lost the centre clearances 14-4 and overall clearances 37-26 in the absence of skipper Nat Fyfe (back) and David Mundy (COVID-19 protocols).
"It was one of the more disappointing games I've been involved in, to be honest," Dockers coach Justin Longmuir said.
"Our execution was horrific, ball handling, skills ... we couldn't execute the basics of the game."