ST KILDA has won its fourth game on the bounce with a hard-fought 26-point triumph over Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints were challenged by the Suns early, but had enough firepower to run away with the 13.9 (87) to 9.7 (61) victory.
SAINTS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
Jack Higgins kicked five goals and key forward Max King contributed three, as the Saints lost the inside-50 by three, but were much more efficient in attack.
The midfield load was shared around with Jack Steele, Seb Ross, Brad Crouch and Jack Sinclair all prominent and in his 100th match, Jade Gresham was outstanding with two goals, 10 contested possessions and 25 disposals.
In last week's upset win over Carlton, the Suns dominated clearances, but on Saturday, the Saints won that statistic by 17.
Suns onballer Touk Miller also impressed with a game-high 32 disposals and 16 contested possessions.
After an even first quarter, the Suns took a nine-point lead early in the second term with three-straight goals.
But the Saints kicked the last two goals of the half and controlled the game through the third, before kicking four goals to two in the last to seal the win.
Gold Coast's Mabior Chol left the field in the final term with an adductor injury and teammate David Swallow hurt his hand, while Saints star Bradley Hill also was forced from the field late in the game.
A rare 'blowout' victory
The past five meetings between these two sides has been won by St Kilda by a combined 20 points. This had all the makings of another thriller after a tight first half when the margin was never greater than two goals. But the Saints blew the game open in the third term, kicking the first three goals to set up a match-winning lead.
High five for Jack
Jack Higgins has often struggled with accuracy during his time at the Saints, but there was no such issues on Saturday. Coming into the game, Higgins had kicked 5.6 from three matches, including a disastrous 0.4 in round one. But after missing last week through concussion, the 23-year-old returned with a bang. Higgins was always dangerous up forward against the Suns, finishing with a career-high five-goal haul.
Who needs a senior coach?
Brendon Lade was in the hot seat for the Saints with Brett Ratten in health and safety protocols after testing positive to COVID during the week. Once again it proved no distraction with the stand-in coaches going a perfect five from five. Lade joins Ash Hansen (Carlton), Jaymie Graham twice (Fremantle) and Blake Caracella as other stand-in coaches to taste victory.
ST KILDA 3.3 6.7 9.8 13.9 (87)
GOLD COAST 3.1 6.1 7.4 9.7 (61)
St Kilda: Higgins 5, King 3, Gresham 2, Hayes, Membrey, Ross
Gold Coast: Ainsworth 2, Corbett 2, Rankine, Casboult, Ellis, Holman, Chol
St Kilda: Higgins, Steele, Crouch, Ross, Sinclair, Marshall
Gold Coast: Miller, Anderson, Markov, Ellis, Weller, Powell
St Kilda: Nil
Gold Coast: Chol (adductor)
St Kilda: Ryan Byrnes
Gold Coast: Rory Atkins (replaced Chol in the last quarter)