St Kilda’s mosquito fleet were on top as well, with Dan Butler continuing his excellent season and Dean Kent chiming in. Max King dropped a couple of marks early but soon found his touch, kicking a couple of important goals to build the Saints’ buffer. Nick Coffield’s intercepting in defence was also a highlight.
But the ghost of capitulations past loomed large. Adelaide dominated the third quarter but wasted a spate of chances. Still they had enough time to pinch the game, even if Walker was denied a juggling mark reminiscent of Leigh Colbert’s infamous effort in the 1997 finals.
The Saints should therefore gain confidence from the way they stood up in the latter stages, especially given their recent fadeouts. With four wins from seven matches they have built a solid platform on which to launch towards a first finals appearance since 2011, the year of their most recent win against Adelaide before Monday night.
DOUGAL DOES GOOD
Dougal Howard left Port Adelaide last year after being told the club wanted to play him as a forward. Howard preferred life as a defender, which was at least part of the reason he headed for the Saints. But that doesn’t mean Howard doesn’t still enjoy a goal. And his first major as a St Kilda player was a beauty, shrugging off a tackle before unloading on the run from beyond 50 metres. He lost his composure late in the game though, conceding a 50-metre penalty to Shane McAdam.
St Kilda swingman Josh Battle was left considerably worse for wear following a collision late in the first quarter. It was a case of friendly with, with Battle involved in a head clash with teammate Paddy Ryder. Battle was soon sporting a very nasty gash high on his cheek and came off the ground to undergo a concussion test, playing no further part in the game.
ST KILDA 3.2 7.4 8.4 12.6 (78)
ADELAIDE 1.2 4.2 5.6 8.7 (55)
St Kilda: Butler 3, King 2, Kent 2, Howard, Membrey, Steele, Gresham, Lonie.
Adelaide: Walker 3, McAdam 2, Laird, Keays, Lynch.
St Kilda: Steele, Coffield, Butler, Jones, Ryder, Gresham, Howard, Kent.
Adelaide: Doedee, Walker, O’Brien, Keays, Seedsman.
St Kilda: Battle (concussion).
Donlon, Meredith, Dore.
18,173 at Adelaide Oval.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter