Swans forward Jesse White sprints away during the big win over St Kilda
KURT TIPPETT'S first SCG bag and Gary Rohan's emotional return capped the Sydney Swans' 59-point victory over St Kilda on Sunday that sewed up a top-four berth for the defending premiers.
Tippett kicked five goals in his best haul at his new home ground, topping his previous best of three against both Greater Western Sydney and Richmond, before making way for substitute Rohan late in the third term.
Tippett has now kicked 32 goals in nine games as a Swan, including 17 in his past three alone, in the type of form that must be causing consternation among the rest of this year's contenders.
His replacement Rohan then managed five touches, three inside 50s and two marks to put the finishing touches on his recovery from a badly broken leg suffered against North Melbourne at the same ground 16 months ago.
The 18.10 (118) to 8.11 (59) result allowed the Swans to sneak back in front of Fremantle into third place on percentage, with games against the Cats in Geelong and Hawthorn at ANZ Stadium to close out their regular season.
But with Richmond and Collingwood losing earlier in round 21, the Swans can't be knocked out of the top four, regardless of results in their final two matches.
"It's good to be able to sit there at the moment and say that's been achieved, but it is only one thing that's been achieved.
"It doesn't stop from here, we need to make sure our form over the next couple of weeks is strong against two high-quality opponents."
Josh Kennedy (38 possessions, 13 clearances, seven inside 50s) starred in the midfield for the home side, with Luke Parker, Rhyce Shaw, Shane Mumford and Jarrad McVeigh all prominent.
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Jack Steven (two goals), David Armitage, Tom Curren and Jarryn Geary were the visitors' best, while skipper Nick Riewoldt managed two goals in a tough battle with Ted Richards.
"If you have a look at us over the last half a dozen weeks, you look at Fremantle and Hawthorn and again today, we can't quite sustain a full game of football," Watters said.
"Their effort is good for a period of time, but it takes time to build the ability to maintain pressure."
St Kilda's Tom Lee got the scoring underway with a goal in the second minute before the home side hit back 60 seconds later through Jude Bolton.
The Swans then failed to capitalise on a glut of possession, missing plenty of targets against a well-organised St Kilda defence.
Up the other end, Riewoldt was also a frustrated figure due to the service he was receiving.
A nice Steven running goal was answered by a Tippett mark and major as the sides went into the first break all locked up at 2.3 apiece.
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An early Ben McGlynn goal to start the second term gave the Swans back the lead, yet the Saints were far from done, registering consecutive majors through Curren and Darren Minchington.
St Kilda's work rate was troubling the home side, but the Swans finally broke out of their slump late in the term, with Mike Pyke, Tippett and Jed Lamb nailing set shots as they took a game-high 14-point edge into the main break.
The third quarter was then all the Swans as they ended the Saints' resistance, kicking seven goals to one for a match-winning 51-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Mike Pyke displays his desperation as he battles Sam Gilbert on Sunday. Picture: AFL Media
SYDNEY SWANS 2.3 6.6 13.9 18.10 (118)
ST KILDA 2.3 4.4 5.6 8.11 (59)
Sydney Swans: Tippett 5, White 3, Lamb, Jack, Bolton, McGlynn, Pyke 2
St Kilda: Steven, Riewoldt 2, Hickey, Lee, Minchington, Curren
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, McVeigh, Parker, Shaw, Tippett, Mumford
St Kilda: Steven, Armitage, Curren, Geary, Riewoldt, Jones
Sydney Swans: Tippett (hamstring tightness)
St Kilda: Nil
Sydney Swans: Kurt Tippett replaced by Gary Rohan in the third quarter
St Kilda: Ben McEvoy replaced by Stephen Milne in the third quarter
Umpires: Armstrong, Ryan, Mollison
Official crowd: 26,730 at SCG