Jake Carlisle could not take a mark for the Saints with seconds left on Saturday at Etihad Stadium.
GWS co-captain Phil Davis was able to spoil Carlisle and that left the Saints on 10.13 (73) to the Giants’ 9.19 (73).
Saints fans were ropeable that Carlisle was not paid a free kick, but he was disappointed in himself for not taking the grab.
“I just feel like I should have marked it,” Carlisle told Fox Footy.
It was a scrappy game under the Etihad Stadium roof until the last 10 minutes, when the Saints roared home thanks to goals from Maverick Weller, Ben Long and Paddy McCartin.
Jade Gresham kicked a behind with two minutes left to tie the scores.
The ball was then locked in the Giants’ forward line, but the Saints were able to burst clear and Carlisle almost marked Jack Stevens’ pass.
Only 14,956 fans were at the game, after three disappointing St Kilda losses.
But the Saints’ fans saw a much more-determined effort and a more-polished team would have beaten the Giants.
St Kilda won the tackle count 76-63 and had 76 inside 50s to 63, but they struggled in attack despite McCartin’s encouraging three-goal haul.
It is the first time the No.1 draft pick has kicked three goals in a match.
The Saints lost Jack Newnes with concussion in the first term. GWS ruckman Dawson Simpson will be under video scrutiny for their clash that put the Saints’ wingman out of the game.
The Giants led by five points at the first change, but two goals from McCartin put St Kilda ahead.
Luke Dunstan’s stunning left-foot goal from the boundary – Lance Franklin would have been proud of it – gave the Saints a 10-point lead 19 minutes in the second term.
The Giants regained the lead thanks to Brett Deledio’s quality snap early in the third quarter.
There were few highlights in the third term, but goals to Toby Greene and Dylan Shiel gave GWS a nine-point lead at the last change.
When Jonathon Patton goaled early in the last quarter, the Giants had a 15-point break and the game was as good as over.
After three more Giants behinds, the Saints made their unlikely late charge to almost snatch the win.
Steven and Deledio starred with 29 disposals apiece.
© AAP 2018
ST KILDA 2.2 5.8 6.12 10.13 (73)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.5 4.9 7.15 9.19 (73)
Goals: St Kilda: P McCartin 3 B Long H Clark J Billings J Gresham J Steven L Dunstan M Weller. Greater Western Sydney: B Deledio 2 J Cameron 2 R Griffen 2 D Shiel J Patton T Greene.
Best: St Kilda: J Steven T Hickey S Ross S Savage P McCartin. Greater Western Sydney: B Deledio D Shiel J Cameron S Coniglio P Davis.
Umpires: Shane McInerney, David Harris, Brent Wallace.
Venue: Etihad Stadium.