St Kilda has found its way back onto to the winners list after a turbulent past month, overcoming a persistent West Coast outfit by 14 to snare a much-needed four points at Optus Stadium.

The Eagles led at every change but the last on their home deck, willing themselves back into the contest after the Saints skipped away at the start of each term, however didn’t have enough puff to hold on as the visitors stormed home with five goals to bank the win 10.8 (68) to 12.10 (82).

Scrappy and inefficient early, St Kilda gritted the teeth to turn the tide, muscling its way on top of the clearances and establishing a strong foothold in field position in the territory-driven game to steam towards a five-goal final term.

Jack Sinclair was arguably the Saints’ most prolific player early with 23 disposals to be both a close-to-exclusive positive in the scrappy patches and resolute leader in the clinches, but it was Mason Wood who took top honours with four majors — three of which came in the final term — after being swung forward when Max King was substituted with a knee complaint.

Flying far more under the radar but just as influential was Marcus Windhager, who added pick No. 1 Harley Reid to his list of tagging scalps and contain him to just three touches after half-time.

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Reid was sublime early with 17 touches and seven clearances to spearhead West Coast’s ascendancy, but despite being curbed in the second half is still sure to generate headlines after a tackle on Darcy Wilson which could threaten his Rising Star credentials.

Despite Saturday’s contest characterised by its stop-start nature in terms of repeated stoppages and both sides unable to generate good flow, each quarter followed a similar rhythm of the Saints starting well before the Eagles wrestled back momentum.

With Coleman Medal contender Jake Waterman a late withdrawal due to a shoulder issue and adding to Tim Kelly's omission yesterday (hip soreness), Liam Ryan and Jamie Cripps filled the leading forward's absence with three goals apiece; both producing classy moments in red-time of the second quarter to undo the Saints' hard work within the space of a minute.

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The quick brace of goals had the margin at 14 points and Reid best afield before Ross Lyon swung the magnets, with Windhager locking down the Eagles' prize recruit and allowing Sinclair, Paddy Dow (nine clearances) and Jack Steele (15 disposals) to get the needle moving in the Saints' direction.

Two goals springing from the defensive end via King and Seb Ross levelled scores before Sinclair added to the scoreboard to hand the visitors the lead, before the dynamic duo of Ryan and Cripps bobbed up either side of three-quarter time to continue the dogged battle.

However even with the defensive efforts of Liam Duggan, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass holding firm to keep the Saints to just seven majors at the final stanza, there was no answer for Wood, whose high flying, hard running and straight kicking consolidated the morale-boosting four points.

WEST COAST  2.5  6.6  8.7  10.8 (68)
ST KILDA  1.2  4.4  7.8  12.10 (82)

West Coast:
Ryan 3, Cripps 3, Darling 2, Gaff, Williams
St Kilda:
Wood 4, King 2, Caminiti, Henry, Ross, Sinclair, Higgins, Membrey

West Coast:
Duggan, Barass, Yeo, Reid, Ginbey, Cripps
St Kilda:
Wood, Sinclair, Wilkie, Windhager, Dow, Steele, Henry

West Coast:
St Kilda:
King (knee)

West Coast:
Zane Trew replaced Jack Williams in the third quarter
St Kilda:
Dan Butler replaced Max King in the fourth quarter


47,526 at Optus Stadium