ST KILDA'S season still has a pulse.

With their season effectively hanging by a thread after three morale-sapping defeats, the Saints finally provided the response their fans had been yearning for as they emerged from a tight, physical armwrestle against Carlton to come away with a 15-point win at Marvel Stadium.

St Kilda showcased tremendous grit and resilience throughout a see-sawing fourth quarter, booting four straight goals, with two of them coming from the boot of Tim Membrey to secure the 14.9 (93) to 10.18 (78) victory and book their place back in the top eight for the time being.

06:56 Mins
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Highlights: Carlton v St Kilda

The Blues and Saints clash in round 16

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Six days after being tagged out of the game against Sydney, Jack Sinclair put in a career-best showing, accumulating 37 disposals to go with 11 marks and a whopping 606 metres gained – while Membrey finished up with four goals and partner in crime Max King ended his lean streak in front of the big sticks with three.

The undermanned Blues, on the other hand, spurned the chance to potentially leap into the top four as their wastefulness in front of goal ultimately came back to bite them – missing several quality chances to surge ahead in a second half, when they booted 4.11 to the Saints' 7.3.

BLUES v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats

While the Saints emerged with a much-needed four points, they'll be sweating on the fitness of several key individuals who went down throughout a bruising affair at Marvel Stadium.

Key defender Dougal Howard was subbed off with a hamstring injury in the third term, before Hunter Clark was stretchered off the ground in the final 10 minutes following a nasty head collision with Dan Butler, who also received treatment for a facial injury.

00:47 Mins
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Friendly fire sees luckless Saint stretchered off

Hunter Clark and Dan Butler collided heads in a sickening incident which saw the former stretchered off

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In the early stages of the contest, St Kilda looked completely unrecognisable from the side which folded like a cheap suit against the Swans last week, playing with the energy that typified their early-season performances as the likes of Sinclair and Bradley Hill helped set the tempo off half-back.

Had it not been for wastefulness in front of goal (3.6 at quarter-time), the lead could've easily been more than the slender eight-point quarter-time advantage despite the Blues finding their rhythm as the first quarter wore on.

Sam Walsh (33 disposals) and Patrick Cripps (31 disposals, eight clearances) led the charge for Carlton, which levelled the contest at the coalface and was able to stay with the Saints for much of the second and third terms.

Patrick Cripps fends off Rowan Marshall during Carlton's clash with St Kilda in round 16, 2022. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Carlton, however, caught the inaccuracy bug in the third and was unable to convert its territorial dominance into scores – booting 1.6 to St Kilda's 3.1 – and the Saints made them pay with two late goals from King and Jack Steele opening up a 12-point lead.

The Blues fought back as goals from Matthew Kennedy and Harry McKay gave them the lead at the six-minute mark of the final term, but after Butler responded with a major of his own to give the Saints back the ascendancy, Carlton was unable to answer back as the Saints ran over them in the final stages.

It's quite simple. When Jack Sinclair is at his blistering best, St Kilda is a markedly better and more dangerous team.

Jack Sinclair in action for St Kilda against Carlton in round 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Six days after having his impact completely nullified by Swans utility Ryan Clarke, Sinclair relished the extra freedom given to him all evening as a result of Carlton opting against going with a direct tagger on the dangerous half-back, who smashed his disposal count from a week prior (17 possessions) in less than a half.

Sinclair finished with 37 disposals in the end, two more than his previous career-best, showcasing why he's well and truly in contention for an All-Australian blazer.

Michael Voss had to make a change to slow down the impact of Bradley Hill, who was well and truly having it his own way before quarter-time. Enter Matthew Cottrell.

After missing the defeat to Sydney due to personal reasons, Hill returned to the side with a bang and was on fire early with his trademark run and carry causing a number of issues for the Blues, particularly in the early stages of the first quarter – accumulating nine disposals with eight of those coming uncontested.

Bradley Hill and Matthew Cottrell compete for the ball during St Kilda's clash with Carlton in round 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

However, the second quarter was all Cottrell, who was moved onto the 28-year-old by Voss to play as a defensive forward. The switch paid dividends as Cottrell was able to not only slow down Hill's impact in those 30 or so minutes, but also hit the scoreboard with an all-important goal early in the quarter.

Saints and Blues fans were given a look into the future as both Jesse Motlop and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera stood out for their respective outfits on Friday evening.

In only his fifth senior game, Moltop was brilliant all evening inside the Blues' forward line. Motlop burst out of the blocks with two first-half goals, including a goal of the round contender. He went on to kick three for the night, which was ultimately a career-best showing thus far.

For the Saints, Wanganeen-Milera stood out on the wing, continuing his fine debut season with another eye-catching performance and perhaps one of his best in his short 13-game career. The 19-year-old showed poise and class beyond his years, especially with his superb work by foot.

CARLTON      2.4      6.7      7.13      10.18 (78)
ST KILDA      3.6      7.6      10.7       14.9 (93)

Carlton: Motlop 3, Kennedy 2, McKay 2, Curnow, Cottrell, Fisher
St Kilda: Membrey 4, King 3, Ryder 2, Higgins 2, Butler 2, Steele

Carlton: Walsh, Cripps, Saad, Hewett, Kennedy, Docherty
St Kilda: Sinclair, Hill, Marshall, Ryder, Membrey, Crouch, Gresham, Steele, Billings

Carlton: Nil
St Kilda: Howard (knee), Clark (face), Marshall (head), Butler (nose)

Carlton: Will Setterfield (unused)
St Kilda: Tom Highmore (replaced Howard in the third quarter)

Crowd: 43,194 at Marvel Stadium