Another Gold Coast last-quarter fade-out has delivered under-fire St Kilda a much-needed AFL victory.
The Saints snapped an 11-match losing streak by overhauling a 31-point third-quarter deficit to claim a nailbiting 11.14 (80) to 11.12 (78) victory at Metricon Stadium.
Jade Gresham's snap inside the final minute of the match sealed the win for the Saints as they kicked five goals to none in the final term.
Gold Coast went without a single point in the final quarter with coach Stuart Dew saying his players "physically and mentally" froze.
"It was like letting the air out of a balloon," Dew said of the Saints' first goal of the final term.
"That's the disappointing thing and that's what makes it so frustrating as a footy club, to see our response in the first three quarters, all we had to do was keep doing what we were doing and we went away from it."
Saints' coach Alan Richardson said while the performance had been far from perfect, securing the club's first win since an opening round victory over Brisbane, was a huge relief.
"My overwhelming sense of relief is for our group and for our footy club really," Richardson said.
"I'm really pleased for the fans that have come up and for the fans that are back at home and whilst it wasn't the most convincing of victories, it was a victory full of character."
St Kilda's win looked unlikely early in the game despite the visitors dominating possession.
A groin injury to defender Jimmy Webster in the opening term added to Richardson's woes while Bailey Rice was stretchered off in the third quarter with concussion to leave the Saints two short on the interchange bench.
As the Saints' struggled, Suns' skipper Tom Lynch responded well to criticism of his recent performance on his way to a three-goal haul.
The hosts' five goals to one in the second term opened up a seemingly unbeatable position heading into the last term.
The Suns however have now kicked just two points in their past four final quarters - a trend Dew says is alarming.
Their final term panic was personified by a needless 50 metre penalty against Rory Thompson which led to a St Kilda goal.
Gresham, Paddy McMartin and Tim Membrey all booted one of their two goals for the game in the last quarter, while Josh Battle led the goalkicking for the visitors with three majors.
Lynch and Sexton had three majors for the Suns, who have now lost nine of their past 10 matches.
Next week's bye will give St Kilda the chance to restore fitness, although Richardson expects Webster to miss "some" games.
The Suns also had an injury concern with youngster Jack Bowes sitting out the final quarter with a quadriceps problem.
Gold Coast travel to Tasmania to play Hawthorn next weekend.