ST KILDA has overturned a 33-point deficit midway through the third quarter to stun West Coast by 20 points in a rousing AFL comeback at Marvel Stadium.
Coming off the most embarrassing defeat in Brett Ratten’s tenure as coach, the Saints produced a scintillating turnaround to boot the last eight goals on Saturday and storm over the top of the tired Eagles.
Young forward Max King came of age with a career-high five-goal haul, while skipper Jack Steele was heroic with 33 possessions as the Saints won 15.12 (102) to 13.4 (82) to at least partly expunge the memory of last weekend’s 75-point loss to Essendon.
Few people would have bet on the stirring comeback, with West Coast seeming to be cruising towards their third victory of the season when Jack Petruccelle snapped his fourth goal 16 minutes into the third term.
But the Eagles would not register another score until 17 minutes into the final quarter as St Kilda’s exciting brand of football hit top gear to completely change the contest.
The Saints controlled most of the game in general play but West Coast were more efficient going forward early.
But once St Kilda started using the ball better inside-50, the floodgates opened as small forwards Dan Butler (three goals) and Jack Billings recaptured form.
Rowan Marshall made a welcome return to boost St Kilda’s flailing ruck stocks, but he sent a scare through the Saints camp after heading down to the rooms for the last 10 minutes of the second quarter.
But Saints medical sub Ben Long was not needed as Marshall returned to play out the game.
West Coast lost captain Shannon Hurn to a calf injury in the first quarter, with debutant Isiah Winder replacing the veteran defender.
Medical sub Winder did not see a lot of the ball but capitalised when he did get it by kicking his first career goal early in the second term.
St Kilda faces a rebounding Richmond on Thursday night, while the Eagles are back at home for a Round 5 clash with Collingwood.
(C) AAP 2021
ST KILDA 4.2 5.5 10.11 15.12 (102)
WEST COAST 6.2 10.3 13.3 13.4 (82)
Goals: St Kilda: M King 5 D Butler 3 J Billings 2 T Membrey 2 D McKenzie J Higgins J Steele. West Coast: J Petruccelle 4 J Darling 2 J Kennedy 2 O Allen 2 I Winder J Cripps L Ryan.
Umpires: David Harris, Andrew Stephens, Brent Wallace.
Venue: Marvel Stadium.