St Kilda fans flooded RSEA Park on Thursday night to see the men's side's long-awaited homecoming to the hallowed turf of Linton St.
Instead, they got something possibly better.
A sterling performance from forward Tim Membrey headlined the Saints' 17.9 (111) to 13.12 (90) triumph, with the stand-in skipper at the forefront of a multi-pronged attacking structure.
Membrey booted four goals in the 21-point win and was a marking force, catching almost everything that came his way.
But what made his performance, and the way the Saints won, was the fact there were supporting acts as well, with more – like Matty Parker, who is recovering from ankle surgery – to come back in.
Jack Lonie booted four and Dan Butler showed that while he only kicked one goal, he'll give a fresh avenue and plenty of forward pressure, with Ben Long looking the goods after a shift to half-back.
This all happened without prolific performances from King or the resting ruckman with Rowan Marshall clunking a few late in the game and Paddy Ryder providing a tackling presence as he warmed into things.
Bradley Hill was another shining light, with the three-time premiership player showing just how much impact he'll have in moving the ball with speed and precision.
Hunter Clark (22 disposals, one goal) and Jack Billings (27 disposals, 10 marks) showed plenty of composure, while Jade Gresham was everything early to finish with 21 touches and a goal.
Luke Dunstan was also prominent through the midfield with 24 possessions (13 contested) and a goal.
The Saints were missing Jarryn Geary (calf), Dylan Roberton (corked knee), Jimmy Webster (managed), Dan Hannebery (managed) and Zak Jones (wisdom teeth).
Bradley Hill was the pick of the Saints' newbies, although he's hard to miss with his trademark speed and flare when he pumps the ball inside 50.
His cousin Paddy Ryder showed flashes of his best tap work after starting forward and impressed with bruising tackles on Tom Mitchell and James Worpel in the third quarter.
Dan Butler also tackled hard and gave a spark up forward while Dougal Howard was steady in defence despite having to shake off a shoulder stinger from a big collision with Damon Greaves.
Max King went quiet after his first quarter goal and Ryan Abbott was solid in the half he played.
The Saints and Hawks will meet again on Friday, February 28 in a bushfire fundraising match in Morwell before their next Marsh hitouts. Then, the Saints will return to Morwell to play Collingwood on Sunday, March 8 and the Hawks will head to Tasmania to play Melbourne in Launceston on Friday, March 6.
ST KILDA 7.2 9.2 13.6 17.9 (111)
HAWTHORN 5.3 8.8 10.10 13.12 (90)
St Kilda: Lonie 4, Membrey 4, Marshall 2, Kent, King, Gresham, Dunstan, Butler, Clark, Marsh
Hawthorn: Breust 3, Patton 3, Smith 2, Lewis 2, O'Brien, Puopolo, Scully
St Kilda: Membrey, Gresham, Dunstan, Hill, Butler, Lonie
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Smith, Breust, Ceglar, Scully, Patton
St Kilda: Nil
Hawthorn: McEvoy (corked thigh)
Umpires: Gavine, Findlay, Harris, Dore
Official crowd: 8187 at RSEA Park