Five minutes left on the clock. Four points the difference. Gold Coast are coming.
The pressure mounts with each agonising second as the Suns continue to puncture the Saints’ defensive end.
Each well-struck blow wears down the young contingent, each jab inside the arc a test of their resolve. The time continues to tick down. The pressure steadily rises.
Among it all, one of St Kilda’s youngest seizes the moment.
Four-and-a-half minutes to go.
A Jack Lukosius probing kick inside-50 – a repeat entry – is thwarted by his desperate spoil.
A hurried ping at the goalface follows, and seconds later, the young Saint mops up the groundball.
Effortlessly, he weaves around four Suns with the silk we’ve come to expect.
He feigns a kick on his left as Alex Sexton bears down, sells the dummy and pumps the ball and the Saints out of danger on his right.
Four minutes to go.
It's back in his hands after the Saints’ press forward is halted by Gold Coast.
Another long kick out of danger – his second rebound in under a minute – sees Dan Butler win a free kick.
Thirty seconds elapse ever-so-slowly, hearts are in mouths as a defensive turnover on the paint of 50 presents a perfect opportunity for the Suns to stick the dagger in.
An alleviating smother from Jake Carlisle and the ball tumbles out again.
Once again, he’s the first on the scene. A quick-fire handball out – his third rebound – and the Suns’ weight closes in on a beleaguered Zak Jones.
Three minutes to go.
Jones knocks the ball out to avoid a costly free kick, and he’s there.
Composed, calm and assured, he slips a tackle, sees an opening and takes it.
Some deft footwork, another feigned hand-off and he’s away, striding forward before cannoning the ball towards milestone man Paddy Ryder on the wing.
The 250-gamer collects, sees a flash streaking past and handballs to a running Butler. 10 points the difference.
Two minutes to go.
Moments later, Gold Coast’s Izak Rankine immediately turns the heat back on with a sizzler of his own deep in attack. Back to the middle.
Four points the difference.
Another Suns entry, a Callum Wilkie intercept and the time trickles down as the Saints frantically hold on to their slender lead.
One minute to go.
It’s make or break.
The Suns win the clearance on centre wing, their sixth inside-50 in the five-minute block is repelled by a thumping Dougal Howard spoil.
It’s anyone’s ball, and the young Saint sees his moment.
He pounces on the loose footy and squeezes out a handball in the nick of time as Ben King pumps the brakes with a grounding tackle.
Howard follows up and receives, the Sherrin lands in Max King’s hands moments later.
And among it all, one of St Kilda’s youngest has stood tall.
Five minutes on the clock.
Six touches, three rebounds, one spoil.
One Hunter Clark.