Nine-and-a-half minutes left to play in the third quarter, and it’s not a pretty picture for St Kilda.
They’re 33 points in arrears, the pressing Eagles are bearing down and crucial time to stage a resurgence is gradually slipping away.
For the fans in the stands, they sense the same. And there’s a lingering sense of dread for what could potentially come next.
One more opposition major will effectively break the Saints’ back.
A subsequent miskick out of defence leaves the high-flying Liam Ryan – 50m out lining up for a set shot – with the opportunity to put the final nail in the coffin.
As the stadium holds its collective breath, the All-Australian's wobbly shank sails well to the left to land out-of-bounds into the arms of the West Coast cheer squad.
A close shave. The margin remains at 33 points.
Six-and-a-half minutes left to play in the third quarter, and finally, the break St Kilda was searching for.
The Saints have worked the ball inside their attacking 50 as Nic Naitanui and Max King grapple ahead of the incoming throw-in.
Sensing where the West Coast ruckman will palm the ball down, Jack Steele pushes free of his opponent, Kelly, and intercepts the silver-service delivery.
The skipper’s long handball finds Daniel McKenzie, who ducks under the charging Liam Duggan, shrugs him off and turns inside and relays it onto a streaming Jack Billings, who although wrong-sided, had cleverly lost his opponent Jarrod Brander out the back.
His pass to Dan Butler is squeezed out in the nick of time as two Eagles close him down, and the small forward duly converts to give his side a much-needed flicker of hope.
Twenty-seven points down, but it’s the ignition the Saints need.
Five minutes left to play in the third quarter, and St Kilda’s surge in pressure is beginning to pay dividends.
Just like an adrenaline shot to the system, the Saints’ energy is unmistakeable as the gears get turning, and then smoking from their sheer output of pressure.
McKenzie is the latest benefactor of his side’s magnified press, sneaking up behind an unsuspecting Jeremy McGovern at the top of the goalsquare after the Saints force a dangerous kick inboards.
The crowd roars as the star Eagle is wrapped up in an unbreakable embrace, which soon doubles after the dogged McKenzie jags a crucial goal off the back of his diligent work.
Twenty points adrift.
Three-and-a-half minutes left to play in the third quarter, and St Kilda is in the hunt.
The Eagles are now the ones on the back-foot as Brett Ratten’s troops land blow after blow through their unrelenting pressure.
Incredibly, it was less than five minutes ago when the Saints were on the verge of succumbing to the weight of the Eagles.
Now, the script has been flipped.
Another entry, and Tim Membrey flies. The co-vice-captain beats two Eagles in the air and crumbs his own ground-ball before loading up for another foray forward.
Some deft handballing eventually finds Bradley Hill, who squirts a pass out to a sweeping Membrey before he's met by a wall of Eagles. His deep kick finds the dangerous Butler, whose left-foot snap on the behind post puts the Saints just two goals down.
The siren sounds at three-quarter time, and in unison, every supporter in red, white and black rises as one.
The belief is back. And the Saints can do this.
Seventeen minutes left to play in the final quarter, and St Kilda smells blood in the water.
The foot is pushing harder and harder on the accelerator as the seemingly unflappable West Coast defence finds themselves under all sorts of pressure.
Whenever an Eagle wins possession, they’re met by a convergence of manic Saints who repeatedly escalate the mounting tension.
Two successive smothers from Jack Higgins in the offensive end put the visitors under the pump as Steele, Crouch – who has had 12 tackles for the game – and King bear down on the elusive Liam Ryan, who has since mopped up the loose ball.
The whistle blows, and the lightning-quick Eagle, desperate to evade the trio, is pinged for running too far.
The roof almost comes off Marvel Stadium as King puts through his fifth major – a direct product of team pressure – and all of a sudden, it’s just three points the difference.
It’s time to go in for the kill.
Seven minutes left to play in the final quarter, and St Kilda is close to pulling off the seemingly impossible.
They’re close to 40+ in possession, have recorded a staggering 25 tackles for the quarter (the week before against Essendon, they’d recorded a paltry 32 for the game) and are uncompromising in their attack on the ball.
Membrey’s second major puts St Kilda in front for the first time since the opening term, before Billings, Steele and Higgins put the result beyond doubt to fire the red, white and black to a 20-point lead.
It’s only until Steele's match-sealing major that the crowd truly erupts, as the realisation of a stunning 33-point turnaround against one of the most in-form sides of the competition begins to sink in.
One minute left to play, and St Kilda has done it.
Just 45 minutes ago, they were 33 points in arrears, had a pressing Eagles bearing down and time to stage a resurgence was gradually slipping away.
It’s easy to put the ensuing comeback down to two quick goals from Dan Butler, but Saturday’s memorable win was built on much more than that.
It wasn't just team pressure from every Saint on the field, nor was it the fact that each player – and the team at large – had a point to prove following the events of the past fortnight.
The odds were stacked against them.
But a little bit of belief goes a long way.