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St Kilda beat Carlton by 15 points to dent Blues’ four best chances and keep Saints’ hopes alive

St Kilda is back in the hunt for the AFL finals, having broken a three-game loss streak by beating Carlton by 15 points in a dramatic game.

Humiliated by successive tasteless attempts as they fell out of the top eight, the desperate Saints reacted savagely on Friday night by beating the in-form Blues.

The lead changed seven times in one of the games of the year, but St Kilda triumphed 14.9 (93) to 10.18 (78) to go to 9-6 for a challenging end to the season.

But the result could come at a significant cost to the Saints, with the loss of key defender Dougal Howard to a suspected knee injury in the third quarter and the youngster Hunter Clark (headbutt).

Clark was taken off on a stretcher with just seven minutes to go, and the Saints led by 12 points after colliding sickeningly with teammate Dan Butler.

It continues a horror run for Clark, who suffered a broken jaw last year and missed the start of this season with a shoulder injury.

With sore players on the bench, the Saints rallied again when Tim Membrey scored an extraordinary goal, his fourth, to seal the win with three minutes to go.

Carlton lost no admirers, dominated periods of the match, but let himself down by kicking inaccurately on goal and forfeited a chance to consolidate their top-four spot.

Blues duo Tom De Koning and George Hewett missed easy set shots just before three-quarters, before Max King and Jack Steele then capitalized on the other side within a minute with opportunistic and crucial goals.

Paddy Ryder and Bradley Hill missed last week’s deflating loss to the Sydney Swans, but the electric pair were two of the Saints’ best and most influential players.

Ryder and Hill, along with the prolific Jack Sinclair, set the tone early on when the Saints’ intensity undone Carlton.

Saints utility Mason Wood could catch the competition review officer’s attention for a bump on Adam Saad.

The Blues defender was not injured in the incident, but Wood appeared to make contact with Saad’s head late.

St Kilda hosts Fremantle in a blockbuster clash this Saturday night, as the Blues travel to Perth Stadium to take on the improving West Coast.

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Posted updated

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