Assistant Coach Corey Enright has tipped his hat to Marcus Windhager’s momentum-arresting role on “red-hot” Eagle Harley Reid, which ultimately played an important hand in St Kilda coming out on top of Saturday’s tight encounter at Optus Stadium.

The Saints trailed by 14 points at the main change, largely thanks to a blistering first half from last year’s pick No. 1 in Reid, who had 17 touches and seven clearances to give his side near-unassailable momentum after they won the last 11 clearances of the second term.

But the impact from the youngster who has set the competition alight this season was subdued by the Saints’ own future prospect in Windhager, who kept his Eagles counterpart to just three touches for the rest of the game.


Windhager built himself a solid reputation as a run-with midfielder in his first season at senior level, quelling the likes of Lachie Neale, Tim Kelly (also at Optus Stadium which put the young Saint's name on the map), Touk Miller and Cam Guthrie before adding Reid, with considerable pedigree despite his 11-game tally, to the growing list.

“You come in at half-time and talk about where the game is and what it’s giving you and (Reid) was obviously a big factor, particularly in that second quarter from stoppage and clearance,” Enright, subbing in for an unwell Ross Lyon at Saturday’s post-game press conference, said.

“For Marcus to be able to go in and nullify his impact, I think (Reid) only had a handful of possessions in the second half… that was Marcus’ main focus.

“When someone’s that hot, that’s the instruction (to tag). It’s a hard one to do at times because (Reid) was red-hot, particularly in that second quarter and got the momentum going for them.”

With Windhager’s pivotal role and the re-emergence of Mason Wood up forward (four goals), the Saints collectively owned more of the momentum as the game wore on and run out the game strong with five majors in the last term.

While unclean patches by foot and inefficiency up forward still punctuated the affair at Optus Stadium, Enright was firm in the victory providing both four points in the bank and a handy boost to morale, especially in light of West Coast’s strength on their home this season with three wins from its past five games.

“Obviously the result is nice, but the way we got there is probably more pleasing for us. That’s what we’ve been trying to focus on as a team: trying to play consistent football, understanding that it’s hard to do when the opposition is coming at you,” Enright said post-game.

For us, it was just about continuing to try and play the way we wanted to play. This week we focused a lot on our intensity and our effort and we were pretty pleased that we brought that.

- Corey Enright

“We felt our second half in particular was pretty strong. Half-time, the game was a bit of an arm wrestle there and they were probably on top, but that second half in general we were pleased with how we played the game and the result went our way in the end.

“Obviously we’ve got a lot to work on — and we have been working on — with our game, but for the boys to get some reward for their effort today is pleasing.”

West Coast, also in the hunt for its fourth win of the season today, were certainly going to present as a challenge for the visitors, particularly with a notable home record in 2024 with three wins from five games; a win over Melbourne the most recent triumph.


“We were under no illusion what it was going to be like, particularly early in the game in front of the home crowd. We knew what they were going to do and what they were going to bring, and they’ve had some really strong performances this year, particularly at home.

“The pleasing aspect for us is that we got the game looking like how we wanted to for longer this week. We’ve still got so much to work on and we feel like we’ve got a lot of improvement left in us, so it’s pleasing today but we’ve got so much work that we need to do as well, and we know that.

Max King will be assessed for a jarred knee back in Victoria after being substituted out of the game at the start of the fourth quarter, however Enright said he and the Saints were “hopeful” he would be available for next week’s game against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium.

Meanwhile, there is no immediate concern for Rowan Marshall and Darcy Wilson who sustained respective head knocks during Saturday’s match.