Despite being brought back to earth by the Saints, Melbourne coach Paul Roos still has faith.
It was a fixture Melbourne fans would have circled as winnable but the Demons were not able to overcome a resilient St Kilda, losing 10.8 (68) to 6.15 (51).
That score highlighted the most glaring disparity between the teams - an ability to kick straight and take chances.
Led by evergreen captain Nick Riewoldt, St Kilda made a mockery of the inside-50 count to punish the wasteful Demons, whose last 10 scoring efforts before half-time were all behinds.
Hit by key absences in the forward line, with four tall targets out and Jack Fitzpatrick off before half-time, Roos wasn't surprised by the result.
But rather than chastise or drill his young troops, Roos' answer will be to take his side back to school.
''We've got to be teachers,'' Roos said. ''We can't be smashing these guys, there's the expectation 'the coach is going to jump on me again'.
''There were times we played some great footy … and there were other times we just dropped off dramatically.
''We've got to teach them how to win.''
The midfield group was given the tick of approval, with new centreman Jack Watts singled out after 27 touches.
''The midfield group we've assembled can get their hands on the footy, we saw that,'' Roos said. ''Ball in hand, [Watts] was outstanding, his ability to step around, find a target, he stood out.''
Saints coach Alan Richardson had plenty to smile about - a standout performance from Clinton Jones (39 touches), crucial goals from Riewoldt and the emergence of Luke Dunstan, who recorded 21 touches in his first game.
''Luke Dunstan's going to be a very good player for a long time at our footy club,'' Richardson said.
Their win killed off speculation that the Saints could sink into the abyss and they will be boosted by the return of Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna, Sam Fisher and Jack Steven in weeks to come.
So how will Richardson celebrate his first coaching success?
''I'll probably go and watch the replay,'' he said.
''To see the guys, the joy on their faces … to sing the song, that was probably celebration enough.''