Richmond is back on the winners list in style, making a lacklustre Saints pay to record a thumping 86-point victory at Marvel Stadium.
The Tigers started like they had a point to prove after successive losses, kicking the first two goals of the game within the first seven minutes and dominating field position.
But as the opening minutes of the game progressed, the Saints adjusted to take a two-point lead into quarter time, largely on the back of Max King who was a dominant presence early before fading.
Despite being outplayed around the ground in the second term, Richmond made their limited opportunities count and with just four seconds remaining before the main break, Tom Lynch kicked a goal which put his side up by 25 points.
It’s a stretch of footy that the Saints would live to regret.
“They are butchering the ball going forward,” former St Kilda midfielder Nick Dal Santo said on AFL Nation about the Saints' ball use in the second quarter.
A Shane Edwards snap within the first five minutes of the third quarter effectively killed off the contest, as Hardwick’s side took complete control.
St Kilda attempted to mount a comeback and kicked consecutive goals later in that term, but any chance of Richmond surrendering their sizeable lead was snuffed out soon after following a shrewd bit of tap work by unlikely ruckman Marlion Pickett.
It was that moment which highlighted just how much the Saints miss both Rowan Marshall - who was a late omission - and Paddy Ryder, who is back at the club and could play next week.
In Maddie's Match - now one of the highlights on the footy calendar - Jack Riewoldt was superb, kicking five goals and running St Kilda's defence ragged all night.
The Tigers haven't lost three or more consecutive games since 2017, where they lost four straight matches between rounds six and nine before going on to eventually win the premiership.
Based on the way they played on Thursday night, it’ll be a long time until they lose a long stretch of matches again.
Here’s everything you need to know!
Tigers footy is back
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s constant theme across his success-laden run has been to emphasise the importance of his players implementing ‘Tigers footy’, characterised by numbers around the contest and a pressure-first mantra with and without the ball.
While that style was absent two weeks ago against the Swans, it was back last week – albeit it in a loss to Port Adelaide – and continued during Thursday night’s win.
Just as the Saints looked to be gaining a foothold in the game in the second term, a combination of pressure and errant kicking in front of goal from the opposition kept the scores close and eventually allowed them to pile on scoreboard pressure to take control.
There’s no doubt Hardwick would’ve been pleased with his side’s output on the night.
St Kilda has a problem with Brad Hill
The high-profile Saints recruit has been under all sorts of pressure in the early part of the season, with his performance coming under the spotlight in the aftermath of the club’s heavy loss to Essendon in Round 3.
The heat on Hill is set to ramp up significantly again following another underwhelming performance, after he had just 10 touches (one contested) and crucially, failed to lay a single tackle all game.
He was far from alone in being beaten on the night against a hardened Tigers outfit, but considering the expectations on him in the St Kilda side to be driver of good ball use and constant two-way running, he was found wanting again.
Higgins faces off against his old club
St Kilda was outplayed for most of the night, but through the former Tiger, they were able to find two goals and someone always willing to apply pressure inside forward 50.
Higgins was fired up throughout the evening in his first meeting against his old side and landed up being one of St Kilda’s most dangerous forwards.
Another former Tiger – Dan Butler – didn’t feature heavily but in Higgins, the Saints at least had someone who didn’t stop competing on a poor night for the club.
The task for St Kilda doesn't get any easier next week, as they head to Adelaide for a Sunday night ANZAC Day blockbuster against Port Adelaide.
The Tigers will face off against Melbourne in the now traditional ANZAC Eve clash, in a game that has become one of the highlights of the year.
St Kilda: 3.4, 4.5, 6.6, 7.6 (48)
Richmond: 3.3, 8.6, 15.12, 20.14 (134)
St Kilda: Lonie 2, Higgins 2, King, Butler, Hunter
Richmond: Riewoldt 5, Lynch 3, Graham 3, Castagna 2, Rioli 2, Aarts, Edwards, Bolton, Martin, Pickett
St Kilda: Clark, Steele, Coffield
Richmond: Martin, Edwards, Bolton, Riewoldt, Lynch
St Kilda: Webster (groin), replaced by Long
Crowd: 32,056 at Marvel Stadium