The Saints may have just rediscovered their sizzle. And there might not be an upset as stunning as this for the rest of the season.

Against all odds and with backs against the wall coming up against the premiership favourites (and without key forward Max King to boot), St Kilda came out swinging at Marvel Stadium to stun ladder-leaders Sydney and ride home to an exhilarating two-point win in front of a 30,000-strong crowd for Pride Game.

The Swans’ might was present all afternoon, yet John Longmire’s men couldn’t anticipate the electrifying pressure and relentless attack of St Kilda right from the get-go, who persisted from siren-to-siren to register their sixth win of the season in what many predicted as coming in unlikeliest of circumstances given the calibre of its opponents.

St Kilda bagged four unanswered majors in the pulsating closing stanza, but it went right down to the wire as the Swans refused to let up; hearts in mouths as Swans key forward Logan McDonald missed a long-range shot for the second straight week which would have given his side the win.

SAINTS MATCH CENTRE: View all news, stats and videos from Round 17

Moments earlier up the other end, Rowan Marshall's flying shot came incredibly close to icing the game, but cruelly scurried off to the right for no score after appearing like a certain sealer off the boot to keep the heart-rate up for another agonising minute.


Visually, it looked a blazing St Kilda display. And a different one to previous weeks it must be said, with the Saints’ speed on the ball in transition and pressure - headlined by skipper Jack Steele, Jack Sinclair, Liam Henry and the returning Mattaes Phillipou - catching the Swans off-guard early. But it was a win primarily built upon perseverance, to Ross Lyon’s pleasure.

A six-goal second term from Sydney threatened to unravel the terrific inroads made and established a 30-point buffer, but despite being on the ropes multiple times throughout the day, the Saints held firm under duress to keep their top-of-the-table.

Errol Gulden was a standout early with 12 touches in the opening quarter to finish with an equal-game-high 28, while Chad Warner was close to his dangerous best with two goals at crucial intervals. Lyon left the tag on the shelf after successful outings in previous weeks courtesy of Marcus Windhager, instead relying on the strength of its defence and resultant spring in offence to oust the Swans.  

After Tom Papley put what could have been the nail in the coffin on the half-time siren to cap off Sydney's scintillating second term, the red, white and black steadied from then on to not to let their opponents get off the leash.

A desperate Dougal Howard touch on the goalline, which ended with him falling over the fence and into the Sydney cheer squad, successfully prevented a goal by the barest of margins upon score review, and in the end proved match-winning.


Sydney challenged again through Brownlow contender Isaac Heeney who bagged two straight goals in the third term after Henry and Higgins brought Marvel Stadium to its feet, but there's sure to be a nervous few night on the cards after inadvertently connecting with Jimmy Webster high in the lead-up to his first major.

Jack Higgins (three goals) was sensational up forward to reignite the Saints' spark, while Phillipou was also a standout in his first game back at senior level after five weeks in the VFL to finish with 26 disposals, 10 score involvements and a goal.

Phillipou's major kicked off St Kilda's charge home as Tim Membrey followed in quick succession to precipitate the eventual boilover, with the Saints able to breathe a sigh of relief as McDonald's shot at goal faded to culminate in the former club's best triumph of 2024.

ST KILDA  2.2  4.4  9.4. 13.6 (84)
2.2  8.5  11.11  11.16 (82)

St Kilda:
Higgins 3, Marshall 2, Sharman 2, Wood, Wilson, Henry, Butler, Phillipou, Membrey
McDonald 2, Warner 2, McInerney, Campbell, Fox, Heeney, Florent, Papley

St Kilda: Henry, Steele, Phillipou, Howard, Marshall, Wilkie, Higgins, Sinclair
Sydney: Rowbottom, Warner, Gulden, Heeney, Florent

St Kilda: Windhager (hamstring)
Sydney: Nil

St Kilda:
Ben Paton replaced Marcus Windhager (hamstring) in the third quarter
Taylor Adams replaced Matt Roberts at three-quarter time

30,267 at Marvel Stadium