St Kilda midfielder Eli Templeton suffered a suspected broken arm on Friday as the Saints’ early-season bubble burst with a three-point loss to Brisbane.
Brisbane broke through for their first victory of the AFL season, winning the round-six clash in Wellington 12.10 (82) to 11.13 (79) in greasy conditions.
St Kilda’s win-loss record stands at 3-3, with a tough encounter to come in round seven against premiers Hawthorn at the MCG on May 3.
The Saints had trailed by 32 points late in the first half, much to the disappointment of a pro-St Kilda crowd of 13,409 for the Anzac Day match.
St Kilda finished strongly with a four-goal final term but fell just short, despite heroic performances in midfield from veterans Lenny Hayes and Leigh Montagna, who won the medal for best-afield.
Montagna had a game-high 37 disposals and kicked two vital goals.
Jack Redden was dominant for the Lions with 29 possessions and two goals while youngster James Aish also gave a promising performance and Dayne Zorko worked hard.
Brisbane showed greater urgency in the opening term, booting 4.3 (27) to St Kilda’s 2.2 (14).
Templeton, 18, was subbed off during the first quarter in obvious pain and taken to hospital for x-rays.
The Lions produced another four-goal term in the second quarter to St Kilda’s two majors as Brisbane grabbed a 25-point advantage at halftime.
Three successive goals to the Saints cut the margin to 13 points.
A tremendous goal from 45 metres out by Jonathan Brown gave the Lions a handy 19-point buffer at three-quarter time but the Saints kept coming, with two goals early in the last quarter to Jack Billings and Nick Riewoldt.
Brown provided another steadying goal for the Lions but a major to Montagna followed by Rhys Stanley’s strong mark and goal levelled the scores at the 12-minute mark.
Redden’s second goal put the Lions back in front by six points.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Farren Ray missed a shot on the run for the Saints from 30 metres out. A free kick to Brisbane, plus a 50-metre penalty against Shane Savage, gave Brisbane some relief at half-back and the Lions held on for a tense three-point win.
Brisbane host Sydney at the Gabba for a night game on May 3.