It’s a quality that St Kilda coach Alan Richardson wishes he didn’t have to rely on so often.
But the Saints are fast making a name for themselves as one of the AFL’s most resilient teams after turning an early five-goal deficit into a 22-point victory over Brisbane on Sunday.
After an awful first quarter dominated by the hosts, the Saints recovered to kick nine of the next 11 goals on their way to a comfortable 16.12 (108) to 13.8 (86) win at the Gabba.
It was more of the same from St Kilda, who had clawed back from 55-points down to pip the Western Bulldogs in round 6 and threatened to do something similar to West Coast last weekend.
“It’s disappointing we get ourselves into positions where we need such a response,” Richardson said.
“It was very frustrating, we just got smashed through the midfield early.
“We just couldn’t get our hands on the footy.
“The group certainly has a bit of spirit. We’re proud of that.”
Skipper Nick Riewoldt kicked four goals and hauled in 10 marks in his return from a one-week concussion layoff, while midfielder David Armitage’s 31 touches and 11 clearances largely sparked the turnaround.
The Lions had their chances to come back into the contest, trailing by just 10 points at half-time and seven at the final change.
But they were hampered by ball-handling errors and unable to mount a credible comeback, even with the ball holed up in St Kilda’s defensive 50 at the start of the last quarter.
The Lions suffered a pre-match blow with defender Darcy Gardiner (calf) a late withdrawal, adding to their awful injury woes.
It got worse as the game went on – Ryan Harwood (concussion) was subbed off in the second quarter, while Jed Adcock (calf) and Claye Beams (knee) are in some doubt for next week’s clash with GWS.
“I’m proud of the guys in the fact that we had to have a bit of a bandaid approach after half time, threw guys in different positions,” Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch said.
“At least with a patched-up team we were able to compete to the end.
“A few went down and the game became an arm wrestle, and they were just too good.”
Brisbane’s Ryan Lester booted four goals, proving the unlikely answer to the question of who would fill the void up forward left by Daniel McStay (finger).
Ruckman Stefan Martin was their best, collecting 25 possessions, 31 hitouts and seven clearances, shading Dayne Beams, who had a game-high 38 disposals and seven tackles.