Eagle Kennedy's late heroics sink Saints

Justin Chadwick
Josh Kennedy's late heroics sink Saints

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy produced some late heroics to lift his side to a 19-point win over a wayward St Kilda at Domain Stadium on Saturday night.

The Saints led by 25 points during the first term, and still held a 12-point lead early in the final quarter.

Kennedy had booted just one goal from three disposals up until that point.

But the reigning Coleman medallist shot to life from that point on, kicking three goals in the final term to help secure the 18.8 (116) to 13.19 (97) win in front of 37,749 fans.

St Kilda ended the match with six more scoring shots, but their wayward goalkicking cost them dearly.

The 23-8 free kick count against them also hurt.

And they were dealt a further blow when star midfielder Jack Steven was taken to hospital after the match after copping a hit to the chest late in the game.

Steven was due to undergo precautionary scans to determine whether he had any broken ribs, but he was expected to join his teammates on the flight home to Melbourne.

The result boosted West Coast to 2-0, while the Saints are 0-2 in a season where many pundits tipped them to reach the finals.

"There's some games where you say you're lucky to get away with it and didn't deserve to win," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"We won three quarters, but it was a grind. To come through in that last quarter was really pleasing."

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was happy with most aspects of his team's performances, but admitted the poor goalkicking was costly.

"We were pretty disappointed to get over-run late," Richardson said.

"Against good footy teams, you need to make the most of your opportunities. It's positive to get the shots, it's frustrating not to capitalise."

When the Saints played West Coast in Perth last year, the Eagles booted the first nine goals of the match on the way to a 103-point win.

But it was St Kilda who came out firing this time around, with the visitors scoring from 13 of their 14 entries into their forward-50m in the opening term.

The Saints' lead at quarter-time would have been much bigger than 19 points had they kicked straight.

And inaccuracy haunted them again in the second quarter as a series of golden chances went begging.

A big turning point came late in the second quarter when Maverick Weller thought he had snapped a goal to give St Kilda a 25-point lead.

Eagles players were adamant Tom Barrass had got a fingertip to the ball, and the goal was eventually disallowed after a video review.

West Coast kicked the next two goals to reduce the margin to nine points at halftime.

For all of St Kilda's dominance, West Coast had plenty of potential upside.

Kennedy was goalless in the first half, while Sam Mitchell's 12-disposal effort lacked efficacy.

But St Kilda continued to keep West Coast at bay - until Kennedy came to life in the last quarter.

Kennedy levelled the scores after kicking goals from two contested marks.

And when he slotted his third for the term at the 25-minute mark, the Eagles were up by 12 points and on their way to victory.