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Saints orchestrate thrilling comeback

Michael Whiting, AFL Media  June 17, 2018 1:14 PM

St Kilda has orchestrated a miraculous final quarter comeback to over-run a stunned Gold Coast by two points at Metricon Stadium.
It was a victory full of character

St Kilda has orchestrated a miraculous final quarter comeback to over-run a stunned Gold Coast by two points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.

The Saints trailed by 31 points at the final change, but stormed home, kicking five unanswered goals to win 11.14 (80) to 11.12 (78) and snap a seven-game losing streak.

Small forward Jade Gresham was the hero, snapping a goal from deep in the right forward pocket with one minute remaining to give Alan Richardson's men a much-deserved win.


READ: Richo never lost faith

It was their first victory since round one.

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said his overwhelming feeling was relief for the players and club.

"I'm really pleased for the fans that came up and the fans back at home, and while it wasn't the most convincing victory, it was a victory full of character and wanting to do the right thing by their footy club," he said.

"From that point of view, there's a bit of relief."

Gold Coast did not score a single point in the final quarter, continuing a miserable run of final terms in the past month, in which they have scored just two behinds.

Richardson said the Saints had full confidence they could run out the final quarter and make a match of it.

"We know Gold Coast are a really young group and if we could continue to put pressure on, then opportunities would open."

It was a great night for the Saints, who trailed by as much as 39 points late in the third quarter before turning the game on its head.

Josh Battle – who kicked three goals – got the ball rolling with a strong mark and excellent finish from 40m, before Paddy McCartin and Tim Membrey, via a silly Rory Thompson 50m penalty, got the game within striking distance with goals of their own.

1battle.jpg
Josh Battle kicked a career-high three goals straight against the Suns.

PHOTOS: Thrilling finish

Former Sun Mav Weller missed a chance to take the lead with a set shot from 50m with two minutes remaining, but Gresham saved the day with his classy snap from a tight angle.

The Saints completely over-ran the Suns in the final quarter, having 39 more disposals, 13 more clearances (53-22 for the night), 14 more inside 50s and eight scoring shots to none.

St Kilda's midfield deserves much of the credit, with Jack Steven shaking a Touk Miller tag to finish with 28 disposals and 12 clearances to be the best player afield, while Seb Ross (32) and returning Jack Billings (27) were also highly influential.

The win was even more meritorious given they lost Jimmy Webster (adductor) in the first quarter and Bailey Rice (concussion) in the third.

MEDICAL ROOM
Gold Coast: The Suns got one injury to add to a horror night, with second-year utility Jack Bowes going off late in the third quarter with a quad injury. He sat out the final term and coach Stuart Dew said he would be assessed early in the week. 

St Kilda: Two setbacks for the Saints, with defender Jimmy Webster playing just five minutes before going off with an adductor problem. Coach Alan Richardson said he would likely miss one match following the bye. Young defender Bailey Rice went off with concussion following a third-quarter head clash with Jack Martin and did not return.

NEXT UP
St Kilda can celebrate their second win of the season for an extra week, with a bye coming up. They return in round 15 against Melbourne at the MCG. Gold Coast travel to Launceston to play Hawthorn next Saturday.

GOLD COAST   4.2       9.7       11.12   11.12 (78)
ST KILDA         3.2       4.6       6.11     11.14 (80)

GOALS
Gold Coast:
Lynch 3, Sexton 3, Holman 2, Ainsworth, Lemmens, Ah Chee
St Kilda: Battle 3, Membrey 2, McCartin 2, Gresham 2, Newnes, McKenzie

BEST 
Gold Coast: Weller, Sexton, Lynch, Witts, Harbrow
St Kilda: Steven, Ross, Billings, Battle, Gresham

INJURIES 
Gold Coast: Bowes (quad)                                                                                                           
St Kilda: Webster (adductor), Rice (concussion)

Reports: TBA

Umpires: Haussen, Hosking, Ryan, Pannell                

Official crowd: 10,181 at Metricon Stadium

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