Saints hold off Demons in tense AFL finish

St Kilda have continued their resurgence under caretaker coach Brett Ratten, overcoming a determined Melbourne to post a tense 19-point win at Marvel Stadium.

In a high-scoring clash brimming with lead changes and momentum swings, the Saints trailed midway through Saturday night's final term before booting the final three goals of the game to run out 15.14 (104) to 13.7 (85) winners.

Tall forwards Josh Bruce (four goals) and Tim Membrey (three) were instrumental for the Saints, who were led excellently in the midfield by acting skipper Seb Ross (31 disposals, two majors) and Jade Gresham (31 touches).

Young ruckman Rowan Marshall (22 hitouts, eight clearances) put in another impressive showing to hold his own against All-Australian opponent Max Gawn.

St Kilda have now won two from two under Ratten, who has made no secret of his desire to return to senior coaching ranks on a full-time basis.

While securing a finals berth remains unlikely given their poor percentage, the 13th-placed Saints are just four points outside the top eight.

The 17th-placed Demons will be left to regret another tight loss, having also been overrun by West Coast and the Western Bulldogs over the past fortnight.

In a game where Christian Petracca starred with three goals and 20 disposals, Melbourne were again made to pay for their wayward ball use.

Remarkably, St Kilda scored 84 points from turnovers - almost double the AFL average per game.

Star onballer Clayton Oliver was nullified early by Saints tagger Jack Steele, while Angus Brayshaw - whose form has plateaued after finishing third in last year's Brownlow Medal count - had just five touches to halftime.

Both worked their way into the game, Oliver finishing with 26 disposals plus a goal and Brayshaw influential after halftime.

The Dees deployed veteran Jordan Lewis in a niggling defensive-forward role on Jake Carlisle, whose frustration boiled over in a pivotal moment late in the third quarter that gifted Melbourne back-to-back goals and the lead.

Having just watched Petracca soccer through his third goal, Carlisle grappled with Harrison Petty right under the nose of an umpire and was penalised for a punch to the throat which Petty sold theatrically before converting his free kick.

The lead changed hands 11 times as the game went into overdrive after halftime - a far cry from the poor standard of play that preceded it.

In perfect conditions under the Marvel Stadium roof, the two sides combined for 51 turnovers in a dire second quarter.