St Kilda will be forced to wait another week to learn its September fate after suffering a late onslaught from the Eagles, who ran away 15-point victors at the Gabba.
The Saints' nine-year finals drought looked to be over, but after coughing up a sensational chance to finally book their long-awaited ticket to the next phase of the season on Thursday night, the wait continues.
Scoreless in the second quarter and goalless in the third, St Kilda had absorbed large periods of frustration before counter-attacking with the opening three goals of the final term. But its momentum was halted, and its rear-guard action ceased as West Coast stormed home.
Young gun Hunter Clark was huge with 24 disposals (12 contested) and five clearances, as well as a tone-setting tackle when his side needed a lift, while fellow emerging star Josh Battle didn't take a backwards step, putting his body on the line in two gut-wrenching collisions.
Paddy Ryder and Nic Naitanui's ruck duel enthralled all night, with the West Coast man's influential last quarter arguably just giving him the ascendancy, as Jack Steele continued his white-hot form in the middle with 25 touches, seven clearances and six tackles.
The elimination final berth the Saints have long dreamt of is on hold. Now, the Saints have a mini-elimination final as soon as next week. Beat the Giants in Round 17, and the real finals await.
The task is simple, and now it's up to Ratten's men to respond.
ST KILDA 3.5 3.5 3.9 6.14 (50)
WEST COAST 2.1 5.6 5.9 9.11 (65)
St Kilda: Ryder, Membrey, Lonie, Ross, Butler, Marshall
West Coast: Darling 2, Allen 2, Ryan, Gaff, Kennedy, Kelly, Cole
St Kilda: Clark, Steele, Ryder, Sinclair, Howard, Ross
West Coast: Kelly, Gaff, Naitanui, Ryan, Barrass, Darling
St Kilda: Nil
West Coast: McGovern (hamstring)