St Kilda was a team on a mission when it knocked off West Coast in a memorable afternoon to celebrate Robert Harvey's 350th game at Subiaco.

Coming into the game, St Kilda sat in 14th place after four successive losses, and the reigning premier West Coast was in second spot just percentage away from top position.

The emotional win came in totally unexpected circumstances. The Saints had been beset by a long list of injuries in the early half of the season. Not surprisingly, the Saints began at long odds, which blew out further in the opening minutes when West Coast rattled up a 15-0 lead and seemed to be laying the foundations for a 20-goal hiding.


St Kilda then gritted its teeth and set about fashioning a win that would live in its annals for decades.

Nick Dal Santo earned three Brownlow votes that day and the man of the hour, Rob Harvey, scored one of his 215 career votes. Dal remembers it as a galvanising win.

"It showed us that we were OK when we came together and I remember that it was a huge upset performance," he said.

Sometimes you remember how you performed in someone's milestone game. And I remember feeling that I had done my job that day.

- Nick Dal Santo

Like every one of Harvey's teammates, Dal Santo can not speak highly enough of the champ's work ethic.

"A lot of it was the Monday to Friday stuff that nobody saw. If you are a young bloke coming it a club you try and replicate the senior blokes," he said.

"But with Harves it was impossible to replicate. He was so far off the spectrum in what he did. Everyone knows the stories about him training and running for miles and miles on the day off."

The mercurial Robert Harvey in game 350. Photo: AFL Photos.

Dal Santo remembers a fartlek session of run, walk, sprint at Dendy Park under fitness man Chris Jones. Dal Santo and 'Joey' Montana were bent over and struggling after the first 15-minute burst. Next to them was Harvey, similarly wheezing and making the same amount of noise.

Jones ordered the youngsters to get off their knees and go again. They pointed to Harvey and said 'what about him?'

He replied that when they could get up and go for another 45 minutes like Harvey they would have a right to complain.

The perpetual motion of Harvey and Lenny Hayes and the brilliance of Dal Santo was at the heart of the game, while the marking power of Justin Koschitzke and Nick Riewoldt in attack put a pressure on the Eagle defence that it rarely experienced.

Koschitzke's four goals in the first half came from strong marking as he posed a huge menace. Inevitably, the Eagles hit back hard in the third term with Dean Cox and Daniel Kerr lifting.

As the momentum built, the crowd found voice and when Mark Seaby goaled just before three-quarter time to narrow the deficit to 12 points, the stage seemed set for a trademark West Coast storming finish.

But on this day the Saints stood up even when the gap was reduced further by a Quinten Lynch goal. Goals to Xavier Clarke and Dal Santo steadied the Saints, then Riewoldt and Montagna finished off with two more.

Although he was the most humble of individuals, this game was all about Robert Harvey and in the first quarter he seemed to be everywhere. And at the end he was still there, 35 year-old legs pumping as hard as ever.

The Saints chair Robert Harvey off the ground following one of its most memorable wins. Photo: AFL Photos.

For Eagles fans it was the boundary umpire's decision that let Steven Baker play on after the ball had crossed the line in the forward pocket. He handpassed to Riewoldt for a sealing goal.

Late in the second term, Riewoldt intercepted an uncharacteristically bad Eagle pass across goal, and gave it to Baker who put the Saints 17 points up. Suddenly they seemed to believe a win was possible.

WEST COAST  3.4  4.5  10.7  11.10 (76)
3.3  10.6  12.7  15.9 (99)

Koschitzke 4, Baker 2, Milne 2, Dal Santo 2, Rix, X Clarke, Gilbert, Riewoldt, Montagna

Harvey, Montagna, Dal Santo, Koschitzke, Riewoldt, Gram.

39,401 at Subiaco