Brett Ratten was full of praise for Max King after the St Kilda spearhead booted six goals from limited opportunities to steer the Saints to a hard-fought victory over Adelaide.
King starred for the Saints with some strong-marking and sharp-shooting to finish with six goals straight while the Crows paid the price for their inaccuracy in front of goal.
The Saints kicked eight goals to three in the final term - including the last four majors of the match after the Crows claimed the lead at the 21-minute mark - to run away to a 14.6 (90) to 9.15 (69) victory at Adelaide Oval.
King's six goals came from as many kicks and six marks, with five of those contested, as his height and leap proved too much for the Crows' defence to handle despite some wayward kicking at times inside 50 from Saints further up the ground.
"He played a super game and [was] probably the difference in the game. But we can't rely on that all the time," Saints coach Brett Ratten said.
"Our ability to score early in the game, from a reasonable inside 50 count, but we kicked the ball really poorly for three quarters and didn't give our forwards a real opportunity.
"The beauty today was we kicked straight, Max [King] six straight but the team in general. To kick 14.6 by the end was pleasing."
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks also saw King as playing a crucial role in deciding the contest, while being frustrated that his team failed to match the straight-kicking that helped the Saints stay in the game and ultimately get across the line.
"That was the difference tonight, he was pretty big ahead of the ball for them, made the most of limited opportunities," Nicks said.
"We had similar stats ahead of the ball but the contested marking is a big area of the game where they got us tonight. King was influential in that area."
Speedster Bradley Hill was another Saint to star in what was his 200th AFL match and played in Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Hill has played 51 matches at the Saints after starting his career with three premierships at Hawthorn, spending three seasons at Fremantle then switching to his current club ahead of the 2020 season.
The 28-year-old Hill finished with 30 disposals and a team-high 568m gained as his pace and polished ball-use stood out in a contest played in slippery conditions.
"I thought Hilly played pretty well but it was just really pleasing to win because not all milestones go the way that you want," Ratten said.
"For him to be carried off the ground by Paddy Ryder and Ben Long, and with the Indigenous flag, that's just a moment you can't capture if you lose the game.
"For Hilly to play 200 and get those memories, he's going to have them forever which is great."
Australian Associated Press
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