ST KILDA has upset injury-plagued Hawthorn by five points in a nailbiting AFL finish on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.
The Saints kicked 2.5 to a behind in the last quarter to outlast the Hawks 10.14 (74) to 10.9 (69).
Widely tipped pre-season as bottom four certainties, the Saints improbably have made a 3-1 start.
A big holding the ball decision was paid against Hawthorn’s David Mirra 21 minutes into the last quarter.
Jack Lonie, who had sprayed 2.5, kicked the goal and put St Kilda in front for the first time since late in the second term.
A minute later, it looked like Jack Sinclair had iced the game for St Kilda with a snapped goal, but the video review showed it was touched.
Hawthorn pressed for the rest of the match, but could not find a goal and a strong mark to Josh Bruce with seconds left confirmed the Saints win.
Acting captain Seb Ross starred for the Saints, while onballer Tom Scully and former captain Jarryd Roughead were outstanding for the Hawks.
There was big pre-game news, with star Hawks midfielder Jaeger O’Meara failing to recover in time from his sore hip.
Daniel Howe took his place, while Saints captain Jarryn Geary pulled out only a few minutes before the first bounce because of a virus and Ben Paton was the late replacement.
With O’Meara out, it meant the Hawks were without their top four midfielders.
Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell is out for the season with a broken leg, while Shaun Burgoyne and Liam Shiels have hamstring injuries.
The injuries continued to mount in the first half, with Hawks key defender James Frawley forced out of the game because of a hamstring injury.
The Hawks were paid a controversial 50m penalty on the half-time siren and Ricky Henderson goaled to put them six points up.
They broke the game open at the start of the first quarter, kicking four goals to one and racing to a 24-point lead.
But just when it looked like Hawthorn had control, the Saints kicked the last two goals of the third quarter and only trailed by 11 at the last change.
Adding to the injury carnage, St Kilda’s Daniel McKenzie and Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton were forced off because of head knocks.
That left the Hawks two men down for the last quarter and the Saints kept pressing.
Ruckman Rowan Marshall, with his nose taped up, kicked a booming goal early in the final quarter.
© AAP 2019
ST KILDA 3.2 5.5 8.9 10.14 (74)
HAWTHORN 3.2 6.5 10.8 10.9 (69)
Goals: St Kilda: J Lonie 3 B Long 2 B Acres J Bruce J Newnes R Marshall S Ross. Hawthorn: J Roughead 2 R Henderson 2 T Scully 2 C Nash C Wingard L Breust P Puopolo.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Robert Findlay, Leigh Haussen.
Official Crowd: 35,883 at Marvel Stadium.