St Kilda has given club games record-holder Nathan Burke the ideal ending to his magnificent 323-game career, as his side produced a crushing 80-point victory over Richmond at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

The Saints 20.10 (130) defeated the Tigers 7.8 (50) in front of a crowd of 41,514 to give the former captain and three-time best and fairest the perfect ending to a career that began way back in 1987 – coincidentally against Richmond.

In his final AFL game, Burke played a beauty, notching up 14 disposals and chipping in with a goal. But his contribution early in the game was vital.

In his post-match celebrations, Burke handed on his famous no.3 guernsey to outstanding young Saint Xavier Clarke, who accepted the honour by calling Burke ‘a champion’.

And while the story of the night was clearly Burke who declared on the ground after the game that ‘it was a dream come true’, the immensely talented Saints kept their slim finals chances alive with their ninth win of the season. The win was also a timely percentage booster.

The Saints have now won three of their past four games and are hitting form at the right end of the season. But a four-game losing streak from rounds 12-15 could be costly in the final analysis, despite the fact they are playing exciting football.

St Kilda simply outplayed, outclassed and outsmarted its opponents and had winners all over the ground, with its young guns mixing brilliantly with its senior brigade.

Classy young midfielder Nick Dal Santo was best-on-ground with 27 disposals in possibly his finest game at AFL level, while Lenny Hayes and Robert Harvey continued to shine out of the middle.

Fraser Gehrig and Nick Riewoldt starred up forward with four goals each, as did Clarke who booted three majors, while Luke Penny was a rock in defence.

Richmond’s loss was its 10th from its last 11 matches, with its most recent win coming in round 17 against the bottom-of-the-ladder Western Bulldogs.

Kane Johnson, Brad Ottens and Mark Chaffey were among Richmond’s better players in an otherwise dismal performance.

St Kilda got off to a flyer when it booted five goals to one in the opening term to lead by 27 points at the first change. But the Saints could have extended the margin even further had they not posted five behinds for the quarter.

Riewoldt was on fire with five marks and a goal, while Hayes was brilliant out of the middle with nine disposals.

Burke was equally as damaging in the first term, as he roamed across half-forward and finished with eight touches and a goal.

St Kilda continued its dominance early in the second quarter, and when Leigh Montagna kicked truly at the 11-minute-mark, the Saints led by 39 points.

The only downer for the Saints during this period was when Riewoldt was taken from the ground after being felled by Richmond’s Tim Fleming.

The Tiger hardman inflicted a late spoil on Riewoldt, which left him groggy and in the hands of the trainers.

Only two more goals were scored for the rest of the term, via Ottens, who kept his side within reach at half-time.

But despite his efforts, the Saints still held a 27-point lead at the half-time break.

Any thought of a Richmond comeback was thwarted in the third quarter, when St Kilda piled on seven goals to one in a stunning display.

The Saints could simply do no wrong as they led by 62 points heading into the final term.

With the result all but over, St Kilda continued its dominance with six goals to three in the final term to record one of its most memorable victories in years.

RICHMOND: 1.2, 3.4, 4.6, 7.8 (50)
ST KILDA: 5.5, 7.7, 14.8, 20.10 (130)

GOALS: Richmond: Ottens 2, McGrath, Rodan, Richardson, Holland, Johnson.
St Kilda: Riewoldt, Gehrig 4, Clarke, Goddard 3, Blake, Dal Santo, Montagna, Maguire, Burke, Hudghton.
BEST: Richmond: Johnson, Ottens, Newman, Tivendale.
St Kilda: Dal Santo, Harvey, Baker, Gehrig, Burke, Hayes, Penny, Clarke, Jones
INJURIES: Richmond: A Kellaway (lacerated face)
St Kilda: Burke (cut face)
UMPIRES: Avon, Head and Nicholls.
CROWD: 41,514 at Telstra Dome.