Swans cruise past Saints for big AFL win

Sydney are in the box seat to snare a top-four berth after they made light work of St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

With Richmond and Western Bulldogs nipping at their heels, the Swans couldn’t afford a slip up but they were rarely troubled by the Saints on their way to a 20.15 (135) to 4.14 (38) win.

With one round to play, fourth spot is Sydney’s to lose with the 97-point drubbing putting them a game clear of the Tigers and the Dogs.

The Swans had strong performances all over the ground with Josh Kennedy, Tom Mitchell and Dan Hannebery influential through the middle. Isaac Heeney led the way in attack with four goals; one of 10 Swans to kick at least one major.

The Saints’ work rate was high early but turnovers and inaccuracy in front of goal were costly, with retiring premiership player Adam Schneider kicking their only goal of the first quarter.

Sydney made more of their opportunities to lead by 16 points at the first break and they lifted further in the second, with their pressure forcing more errors from St Kilda.

In his first match back after three weeks out with a back injury, Lance Franklin looked rusty but booted his only goal of the day late in the half as the Swans scooted away to a 39-point break.

Franklin only lasted 10 minutes into the third term before John Longmire put him in cotton wool, replacing him with substitute Gary Rohan.

The Swans were soon down to two fit players on the bench after Nick Smith was forced out of the game with a hamstring injury.

But they had a full head of steam up by then, kicking the last five goals of the quarter to lead by 64 points.

The Saints have enjoyed an encouraging campaign for the most part but they didn’t give a yelp in the final term and went goalless as Sydney cruised to a comfortable win.

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