Ageless Nick Riewoldt has guided St Kilda to a one-point AFL pre-season win over Port Adelaide.
The Saints held off a late surge on Thursday night from the Power, who paid for inaccuracy in front of goal, sealing a 0.8.9 (57) to 0.7.14 (56) win.
Power forward Nathan Krakouer was reported for a reckless high bump on Sean Dempster in the third quarter and faces a likely suspension.
Jack Steven starred for the Saints with 21 disposals, young gun Jack Billings had 19 touches and two goals and Tim Membrey slotted three majors.
But there was plenty to like from the older brigade too.
On the eve of his 17th season, Riewoldt lined up on a wing and showed no signs of his prodigious work rate slowing down.
The 34-year-old stamped his influence on the contest in the opening minute, drifting back to take a typically strong contested mark and started the chain which led to Membrey’s first goal.
Riewoldt was soon involved again, setting up Billings’ first major as the Power finished the first quarter without a goal.
He finished with 14 touches and six marks but had more impact on the game than the final statistics suggested.
Travis Boak broke the Power’s drought in the second quarter but, with the exception of Ollie Wines (21 touches) and Jack Hombsch (nine marks), didn’t get much from his troops as the Saints took a 24-point lead at halftime.
The Power lifted in the second half with goals to Chad Wingard, Karl Amon and Jackson Trengove.
They brought the margin back to a point late in the fourth quarter but the Saints held on to notch a win in their first pre-season game.
Jake Carlisle, who was one of 34 past and present Essendon players banned last season over the club’s supplements saga, took some useful marks down back in a solid first outing in Saints’ colours.
Port ruckman Paddy Ryder, who also missed all of last season with a doping ban, kicked a goal but was generally quiet and sat out the second half.
St Kilda stand-in coach Adam Kingsley said the side’s defensive capabilities would be put to the test in the season proper.
“The defence is our big opportunity to improve and, tonight, I think we defended really strongly,” he said.
“We want to play an exciting brand of footy. Certainly the first quarter, we were able to do that. Their pressure lifted after quarter-time which was a good opportunity for us to be able to cope with pressure around the ball.”
Port coach Ken Hinkley said his players had a lot of work to do before round one, particularly on their disposal efficiency.
“There was a fair bit of rust. I’ve seen that in every game,” he said.
“We know we’ve done a lot of work on some of those areas we need to get a bit better at. The test for us is to get better in the next five or six weeks.”