A match-winning major from Tessa Boyd with just 80 seconds on the clock has ended in a nail-biting five-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

The Southern Saints had looked like cruising to a big victory when they kicked three unanswered goals in the first quarter but found themselves behind by the main change as the Bulldogs matched that output in the second.

A goalless third term left the Dogs four points up and heading to the scoring end, but they couldn’t add to their three quarter-time tally, as the Saints plugged away with behinds to draw within one before Boyd saved the day.

Her goal at 18:40 of the final term was the home team’s first since Gabriella De Angelis kicked truly at 11:15 of the first quarter – a full 67 minutes between drinks. However, the Bulldogs endured a 43-minute drought of their own, with debutant Tallia Pulcino’s major at 16:48 of the second proving to be their last of the day.

Boyd’s match-winner was reward for a terrific performance that also yielded 24 disposals and seven rebound-50s. She fought out best afield honours with De Angelis (23 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, one goal), while Caitlin Matthews (20 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds) was a tower of strength in defence and Lucy Burke (15 disposals, two goals) dangerous in attack.

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The Bulldogs were led by Sarah Skinner with 20 touches, five marks, eight tackles, five inside-50s and five rebounds in an assured performance, with support coming from Tahlia Meier (21 disposals), Imahra Cameron (16 disposals, five marks) and the league’s dominant ruck Jorja Borg (10 disposals, four marks, 32 hitouts), while Pulcino laid seven tackles to go with her goal.

The Southern Saints will make it their mission to go back-to-back next Sunday when they square off against their rivals, Essendon, at the NEC Hanger.

SOUTHERN SAINTS  3.1  3.1  3.4  4.7 (31)
0.2  3.7  3.8  3.8 (26)

Southern Saints: Burke 2, De Angelis, Boyd
Western Bulldogs: Pulcino, Barker

Southern Saints: De Angelis, Hynes, Matthews, Burke, Boyd, Laing
Western Bulldogs: Skinner, Meier, Pickett, Carbone, Borg