ST KILDA has recorded a third consecutive AFL win for the first time in more than three years with a thumping 53-point victory over injury-hit Sydney.
Tough midfielder Zak Jones starred for the Saints against his old side with 21 disposals and six clearances in the 15.11 (101) to 6.12 (48) triumph at the Gabba.
The Swans had no answer to St Kilda’s superior run and slick ball use after half-time as Jack Steele (24 disposals), Jade Gresham (23) and Jack Billings (19) racked up possessions through the midfield.
Emerging key forward Max King and Nick Hind both kicked three goals as Dan Butler, Josh Battle and Gresham chipped in with two each.
It was the first time the Saints had managed a triple-figure score this season.
Luke Parker (26 disposals and five clearances) and James Rowbottom (16 and seven) worked hard for the Swans and Tom McCartin finished with three goals.
Tom Papley, the Coleman Medal leader heading into round nine, managed just one goal under Ben Paton’s watch.
A four-goal blitz during the second quarter gave the Saints breathing space and they kept Sydney at arm’s length after leading by 22 points at the main break.
Jones’ third-quarter goal and celebration in the face of inexperienced Swan James Bell sparked a minor melee as tempers briefly boiled over.
St Kilda defender Jake Carlisle will come under scrutiny for targeting Dane Rampe’s injured hand with repeated slaps during the melee.
Rampe had a plate and several screws inserted in his broken right hand on Monday and wore a protective glove against the Saints.
The stand-in Swans skipper battled bravely, often backing into packs in typical fashion.
Sydney got within 14 points when Tom McCartin split the middle from a difficult angle late in the third quarter, but the Saints kicked the next five goals to put the result beyond doubt.
The only real sour note for St Kilda was a calf injury that led to Seb Ross’ late withdrawal before the bounce.
The ball-winner had missed just one match in five seasons and was replaced by Shane Savage, who had 14 disposals in his first senior appearance of 2020.
The match was the fifth annual ‘Pride Game’ between the two clubs, played in support of the LGTBIQ+ community.
(C) AAP 2020
ST KILDA 3.3 7.4 9.6 15.11 (101)
SYDNEY 2.1 3.6 5.10 6.12 (48)
Goals: St Kilda: M King 3 N Hind 3 D Butler 2 J Battle 2 J Gresham 2 H Clark J Geary Z Jones. Sydney: T McCartin 3 C Sinclair O Florent T Papley.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Andre Gianfagna, Paul Rebeschini.