A stunning third-quarter blitz and Paddy Ryder's ruck-forward masterclass have helped St Kilda improve their AFL finals credentials with a 10-point win over Geelong.
The Saints prevailed 13.12 (90) to 11.14 (80) at Marvel Stadium on Saturday in the only round-nine contest between two top-eight sides.
But it came at a cost as small forward Jack Higgins was substituted out under concussion protocols for the second time this season and skipper Jack Steele suffered a shoulder injury.
Geelong held the upper hand in an arm wrestle until midway through the third quarter, when St Kilda suddenly flicked a switch.
Ruck pair Ryder and Rowan Marshall both set up goals with their tap work as the Saints slammed on five majors in a 10-minute burst to seize momentum.
A seventh goal for the term, kicked by Tim Membrey on the three-quarter time siren, gave them a 16-point advantage after they had trailed by 22 points soon after the main break.
A ferocious spray by coach Chris Scott at the final change spurred Geelong into action and they got back within three points through two quick goals from Tom Hawkins.
But Ryder, who had been the game's most influential ruckman to that point, pushed forward and responded with two goals of his own to steady the ship.
Ryder finished with three majors and had a hand in several others in a match-winning display that was delivered in front of his father, who was visiting from Western Australia.
"Ryder's influence was enormous," coach Brett Ratten said.
"I did say to him post-game can (his dad) come every week because that was brilliant.
"He's played some patches this year but the performance today was outstanding.
"We know what he can do with hitouts and giving our players first access to the ball, so it was really good."
Jade Gresham (30 disposals), Jack Sinclair (31) and Brad Crouch (36) were all terrific for the Saints as Membrey and Max King kicked two goals apiece.
Callum Wilkie did a great job blanketing dangerous Cats forward Jeremy Cameron.
Hawkins booted four goals for Geelong and Zach Tuohy kicked two, while Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield battled hard in the midfield.
Young defender Sam De Koning limited King's damage but the Saints had too many winners when it mattered most, posting their first victory over Geelong since 2016.
"It's a shame because we probably had control of the game if you take out that 20-minute patch (in the third quarter)," Cats coach Chris Scott said.
"We certainly had our chances ... but we just aren't good enough at the moment that when we have control of games we take it completely away from the opposition."
The result snapped St Kilda's two-match losing skid and improved their record to 6-3, while Geelong slipped to 5-4.
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.