King on song for Saints after match halted when young gun cops accidental knee to head

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Spearhead Max King sparkled in his first match of the season as St Kilda held off a brave GWS in a match that was put on hold for more than five minutes when Saints young gun Mitch Owens was caught by an accidental knee to the head.

Owens was jolted forward in a marking contest and collided with teammate Anthony Caminiti’s knee before being taken from the field.

St Kilda’s Mitch Owens receives medical attention after a knock to the head.Credit: AFL Photos

He was replaced by substitute Ben Paton but watched the second half from the bench.

King was superb on his return from a shoulder reconstruction and a hamstring injury to finish with four goals as the Saints secured victoryin a close contest in which the lead changed hands 13 times.

With King back as the Saints’ focal point, their small forwards Jack Higgins (three goals), Dan Butler and Jade Gresham (both two) were also able to run free.

Jack Sinclair (game-high 37 disposals, two goals), Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (29) and Bradley Hill (20) were influential in the free-flowing contest, while first-year Saint Liam Stocker (24) was another to impress.

The hard-fought victory entrenches the Saints (7-3) in the top eight, while the Giants (3-7) will rue a missed opportunity after they held the greatest margin of the tense tussle when leading by 13 points in the opening term.

Max King celebrates one of his four goals with teammate Jack Higgins.Credit: AFL photos

The Giants’ key forward Jesse Hogan was a threat in the air throughout and slotted two majors but was off target with a set shot in the dying stages that would have reduced the margin to less than a goal.

Giants skipper Toby Greene also had two goals on his return from a stint on the sidelines, while Brent Daniels also lit up the forward half with 23 disposals and two goals.

Former co-captains Stephen Coniglio (26 disposals, one goal) and Josh Kelly (24, one) also led the way for the Giants, while Tom Green (29 touches) battled hard around the stoppages.

The Giants led by four points at the first change and the scores were level at the main break after the lead had changed hands eight times in an even opening half.

The tight contest continued through the third term as the lead changed three more times, as the Saints took a three-point advantage into the last quarter before holding on late in the game.

The Saints face Hawthorn on Saturday, while the Giants head to Geelong to take on the reigning premiers later the same day.

ST KILDA 3.3 8.3 11.7 13.14 (92)
GWS 4.1 8.3 11.4 12.8 (80)

St Kilda: King 4, Higgins 3, Gresham 2, Sinclair 2, Butler 2.
GWS: Daniels 2, Greene 2, Hogan 2, Kelly, Cadman, Bedford, Coniglio, O’Halloran, Briggs.
St Kilda: Sinclair, Wilkie, Wanganeen-Milera, King, Steele.
GWS: Green, Briggs, Coniglio, Kelly.
St Kilda: Owens (head).
GWS: Haynes (concussion), Himmelberg (concussion).


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