PORT Adelaide has continued its season rebuild with a tense one-point win against St Kilda in an ugly scrap at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns.
Power forward Robbie Gray's hurried shot from beside the boundary for a behind with 31 seconds left on the clock secured a 5.13 (43) to 4.18 (42) win in wet, slippery conditions.
SAINTS v POWER Full match coverage and stats
Gray came to the rescue with two goals in the third quarter that propelled his team to the gritty win, in which scores were level three times in the slogging final term.
Port booted five of the last six goals of the ugly contest to secure its second win of the season.
St Kilda was left to rue missed opportunities, particularly several gettable set shots.
The wayward Saints ran up a horrendous 10 straight behinds from early in the second quarter until young forward Max King broke through for a goal early in the last quarter.
King was an example of the Saints' costly inaccuracy though, missing from 20 metres out directly in front from a free kick midway through the third quarter and then was offline with another more crucial set shot from 30m a minute after his last-quarter goal.
St Kilda had enough of the ball to open up what should have been a more sizeable lead than 13 points at the first break.
The Saints dominated the inside 50 count 24-8, but the greasy conditions ensured this was never going to be a tropical downpour of goals.
Every goal was prized more than normal and St Kilda at least had two, from a King free kick and a Daniel McKenzie shot on the run, to provide the early buffer.
The soap-like ball made precision handling almost impossible but a string of short passes enabled the Saints to land it on a leading Jack Higgins' chest for a set shot goal that stretched the lead to 19 points early in the second term.
Port gradually worked its way back into the contest after being outplayed in most key aspects early in the game.
And the renewed persistence was rewarded when a blind snapshot by Ollie Wines from close range cleared the groping hands of Saints defenders to bounce through for the Power's opening goal four minutes into the second quarter.
At least the dearth of goals ensured the contest was still up for grabs when St Kilda led by just 14 points heading into the second half.
ST KILDA 2.3 3.6 3.13 4.18 (42)
PORT ADELAIDE 0.2 1.4 4.6 5.13 (43)
St Kilda: King 2, McKenzie, Higgins
Port Adelaide: Gray 2, Wines, Farrell, Marshall
St Kilda: Steele, Ross, Sinclair, Crouch, Wanganeen-Milera
Port Adelaide: Aliir, Butters, Rozee, Wines, Amon
St Kilda: None
Port Adelaide: Georgiades (calf)
St Kilda: Jarrod Lienert (unused)
Port Adelaide: Xavier Duursma (replaced Georgiades)