St Kilda had it all to play for on Friday night against the Brisbane Lions, but they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot.
A thrilling third quarter saw them come back to life and put the Lions to the sword. But when it mattered most, they fell apart.
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
The Saints had ample opportunities in the final quarter to run away with the contest, but continually threw it away in front of goal.
Young star forward Max King was the prime culprit, finishing the night with five behinds to his name as his set shot routine abandoned him.
The yips seemed to have taken a hold as his routine changed on multiple occasions.
At the other end of the ground the Lions capitalized on their opportunities. The Lions’ last five scoring shots netted them four goals and one behind. The Saints’ last seven scoring shots were all behinds.
St Kilda fans in the stands were routinely spotted by the cameras with their head in their hands after each miss in front of goal.
“The set shots were relatively easy, they weren’t on tight angles. You just have to go back and suck up the pressure and put them through the big sticks,” Jonathan Brown said on Fox Footy.
Former St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt said King had zero confidence in his kicking by the end.
“He’s had four shots from directly in front and in the end he just looked completely devoid of confidence, his routine was broken,” he said.
“To the point that we watched him pretty closely the last five to 10 minutes and I don’t think he wanted the ball.”
Garry Lyon added: “That’s a horrible night. I agree that in the end he was saying I don’t want to go near it.”
Footy fans watching on were quick to lambaste King for his horror night out, when St Kilda were desperate for the win.
CODE Sports’ Daniel Cherny wrote: “There is no more excruciating sight in football than watching Max King kicking for goal.”
St Kilda will now need a minor miracle to qualify for the finals after losing to the Cam Rayner-inspired Brisbane Lions by 15 points.
Brisbane opened up a 26-point buffer late in the second quarter, but for the third game in a row, they either gave up a sizeable lead, or had one eaten into significantly, as the Saints exploded in the third quarter to lead by five points, putting the Lions’ top-four ambitions in peril.
The Saints will likely drop to 10th this weekend, meaning they will have to not only beat the Swans in Sydney in the final round next week, but will also need a raft of other results to go their way to make the finals.
The win launches Brisbane into a second spot on the ladder currently and keeps their hopes alive of securing a final home.
– with Ronny Lerner, NCA Newswire