Sydney has put a “disappointing” St Kilda to the sword at the SCG, with 51-point winners running out on Saturday night.
The Swans now have just one win and a percentage of second place on the AFL ladder, thanks to the 12.11 (83) to 4.8 (32) win.
It was a dismal night for St Kilda, who recorded their lowest ever total against the Swans and another low for Brett Ratten with 32 his lowest score as a coach.
The Saints scored just two goals to three-quarters – with one of those goals coming from a “poor” 50m decision.
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QUARTERLY QUARTERLY MATCH REPORT
It took almost 10 minutes for Ryan Clarke to kick the first goal of the game, giving the Swans an early lead.
After a slow start to the season, Clarke’s goal was the perfect start for the home side.
Max King had a chance for the Saints to answer, but fired his set shot.
Dan Butler took full advantage of his set shot to give St Kilda the lead before Zak Jones threw his weight around in a moment that was likely to draw the attention of the match review.
Jones came in to punch Swan Luke Parker, but made contact with his opponent’s head.
“As soon as you hit the head, it’s looked at,” cautioned commentator Wayne Carey.
“Did he have a choice not to collide? He probably did.
“The fact that Parker gets up… the outcome is that he plays on, so he’s probably safe.”
“Parker is the kind of guy who gets hit by a cement truck and keeps running,” commentator Hamish McLachlan added.
Buddy Franklin collected his fourth decision in the opening term and had a great vision to hit teammate Isaac Heeney within 50.
“The kick was extraordinary,” McLachlan said.
“His field kicking is on a different level,” praised Luke Darcy.
Heeney made no mistake from 20m as the Swans opened a six point lead.
When Franklin waited instead of flying for a suit mark, it paid off as he was left out in the back to score the Swans’ third goal.
“That’s what he’s been doing for a long time, he’s kicked over 1000 goals to do that,” Carey praised.
The Swans extended their lead in the second when tempers started to turn.
Ryan Clarke was rewarded after the ball appeared to travel less than the required yards, but he took full advantage to open an 18-point lead.
“It’s gone about six feet!” commentator Jude Bolton complained.
The celebration of Clarke’s goal led to a scuffle when “plague” Tom Papley was finally “overwhelmed”.
Carey lamented St Kilda’s “predictability” going forward as the hopeful finals only managed to score one goal until midway through the second term.
“Their ball use, their inability to hit a target (hurts). When they went in they were really predictable. Playing in Sydney’s hands,’ he said.
“The Saints just don’t have fluency in their game.
“There is no method. Not at all.
“Every time they looked up, it’s all Sydney. They have lost all form of their game.”
A great loot by Robbie Fox denied Cooper Sharman a “sure target” as Sydney kept pushing.
But a 50m penalty threw Tim Membrey within range and he made no mistake with his set shot.
“Tim Membrey got ripped off with the 50 here. It is a penalty of 25 meters!” said Darcy.
“Something out of the blue – a happy 50 and that’s big.”
By halftime, the Swans had a 16-point lead in the low-scoring affair.
It took less than two minutes for Tom Papley to get on the board in the third term before the Saints’ tackle pressure mounted.
Seb Ross couldn’t put their dominance on the scoreboard and after a 12 minute arm struggle, Heeney broke the deadlock.
Heeney’s goal opened the floodgates as Papley took full advantage of Logan McDonald’s free kick within 50 to run into an open goal.
It marked his 200th goal of his career and just minutes later, Ollie Florent and Will Hayward entered the scoring streak.
Hayward’s goal marked four goals from 20 kicks as the Swans simply riot at the SCG.
“The Saints can’t come here meekly, not after the Bombers lose,” McLachlan said.
“Their leaders must stand up,” added Bolton.
The Saints failed to score in the third term and were left with their lowest three-quarter score since the 2.5 against Geelong in 2014.
Jack Billings managed to score a late goal, but the game was really over before Tom Hickey concluded his big night with an undisputed mark on the goal field.
“He’s a very popular character in the group,” Bolton said.
“Fourth club, fourth state – he seems to have gotten better as he travels across the country,” praised McLachlan.
3. SWANS FIRE WHEN THE SEASON GOES ON
Both the Swans and Saints went into Saturday night’s game knowing a top eight spot was at stake.
The two sides were tied on wins, separated by just 1.8 percentage points on the ladder.
Both Sydney and St Kilda faced disappointing losses and had to react.
But there was nothing quite like the two teams that showed up at the SCG.
Sydney was up and down from the opening, while St Kilda was “predictable” and lacking “fluent”.
The Saints have scored just two goals in the first three quarters – their lowest since their 2.5 against Geelong in 2014.
On the other hand, the Swans ran in goals and split the spoils.
“They looked really polished and complete tonight, the Sydney Swans,” commentator Luke Darcy said.
Darcy said there were “high hopes” on both sides at the SCG, but only the Swans showed up.
The Saints narrowly avoided the 65-year low when they scored two late goals.
But their total of 32 points is a record low against Sydney and the lowest total for Brett Ratten in his coaching career.
“The Swans were impressive tonight, they just didn’t give the Saints a sniff,” said Nick Riewoldt.
2. JONES SWEATS BY MATCH JUDGMENT
Zak Jones didn’t miss his former teammate Luke Parker as he stormed in from the center square.
But Jones’ bump shocked Parker, with reruns showing the swan’s head springing back on impact.
Fox Footy’s Jonathan Brown said there wasn’t much that Jones could have done in that split second.
“He did get Luke Parker high,” Brown warned.
“He hit one of the hardest men in the league.”
Nathan Buckley said it would be interesting to see how the Match Review looked at the Jones contact.
“Has Zak Jones been characterized as stationary?” he asked.
“He actually stops there.
“Jones had initially reached out to brace himself and then thought, ‘I’d better turn around here and protect myself’.
“It’s a bit dodgy… that kind of contact is forbidden.
“But I don’t know what else he could do but go to the ground and avoid contact altogether.”
1. THE ‘BAD DECISION’ THAT MADE SAINTS IN COMPETITION
Tim Membrey marked on the wing and seconds later he got a shot on target thanks to a controversial 50-meter penalty.
Membrey was able to go back and kick St Kilda’s second goal – putting the visitors within striking distance in the main break in a low scoring affair.
Despite being outplayed in that first half, the decision to punish Errol Gulden for his stay in the protected zone was not well received.
“It’s a protected area,” said Jonathan Brown of Fox Footy.
“We know the AFL encourages that kick on the inside, (but) it’s a very long 10 meters there.”
Nathan Buckley said the decision to punish Gulden was “not great”.
“We all make mistakes,” he said.
“I think eventually that will be seen as a mistake.”
Brown lamented the “expensive” nature of the conversation.
“This is where one of St Kilda’s two goals (in a half) came from,” he said.
“When Sydney really controlled that second quarter and that puts them within striking distance.
“It’s a bad decision.”
The sentence was so controversial that commentators were unsure who was being punished.
Multiple replays of the moment were played to try and determine if it was ruckman Tom Hickey who was penalized for going off goal.
But when it was determined that he was standing when the umpire called to him, Gulden was seen pinging the man as he ran past Membrey as he fell from the bench to the floor.
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