St Kilda have scored their best AFL win under coach Alan Richardson, rallying magnificently in the last quarter to beat Geelong by three points.
The ladder-leading Cats pulled clear by nine points in a pulsating last term and just about had the game under control, but the Saints kicked the last two goals for a big upset to win 14.9 (93) to 13.12 (90).
St Kilda’s brave challenge on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium looked over when an outstanding one-on-two challenge from Cats captain Joel Selwood on the wing set up Steven Motlop’s goal at 17 minutes.
That put them nine ahead but, a minute later, Jade Gresham snapped one of the goals of the season from deep in a pocket to keep the Saints alive.
And at 22 minutes, Jack Steven soccered through the goal that put them in front – the fourth lead change of the second half.
The Saints defended superbly for the next five minutes to deny Geelong.
It is their best performance since Richardson took over in 2014 and a big scalp for the Saints, who go to a 6-7 record.
While Selwood sparked Geelong in the second half and fellow midfield star Patrick Dangerfield was again prominent, Saints onballer Seb Ross was best afield.
Ross went up against Dangerfield in the midfield and had a game-high 33 possessions.
With Ross matching Dangerfield, the Saints made full use of their pace in the first quarter and put Geelong under immediate pressure.
They kicked the opening two goals and took a 16-point lead at the first break.
That opened up to 31 points midway through the second term and the Cats, who had only kicked two goals, were in big trouble.
Nathan Wright had a cameo in the first term for St Kilda with his first two AFL goals and teammate Darren Minchington kicked three in the second.
But key defender Tom Lonergan kicked a booming 50m goal and the Cats steadied, with a goal to Dangerfield late in the term meaning they had restricted the damage to 24 at the main break.
The Cats upped their intensity in the third term and it was Geelong forward Lincoln McCarthy’s turn to bob up with three goals for the quarter.
Geelong had a three-goal run at the start of the third and briefly hit the front in a thrilling quarter, before the Saints steadied with two goals to Mav Weller and took an 11-point lead into the last quarter.
Motlop’s goal was their third in a row at the start of the last quarter, before the Saints rallied brilliantly.