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Proudly Sydney

Swans smash Saints

ON A NIGHT celebrating pride, pride was all St Kilda had to play for after quarter-time at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

By that point of this year's Pride Game, Sydney had all but put the result of the game beyond doubt.

The Swans led by 48 points after kicking the match's opening nine goals and had just recorded their highest-ever first-quarter score against St Kilda – 9.1 (55) – and established their biggest-ever quarter-time lead over the Saints.

Fortunately, St Kilda, although thoroughly outclassed, showed some pride in the final three quarters, to limit the Swans' winning margin to 71 points.

The Saints' effort improved markedly from the start of the second quarter and they at least kept fighting to the end, outscoring the Swans in the final quarter.

But they could not stop Sydney from cruising to a 19.12 (126) to 7.13 (55) victory, in what was their biggest loss for two years.

The Swans' victory was their ninth straight over St Kilda and fifth win in a row, helping them climb above Geelong into third on the ladder on percentage.

Etihad Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the Swans recently, with Longmire's men having now won 14 of their past 15 games at the Docklands venue.

Sydney belted St Kilda at the clearances, 39-27, with Josh Kennedy (31 possessions, six clearances and one goal), Isaac Heeney (27 possessions, six clearances and one goal) and George Hewett (19 disposals and five clearances) doing the damage.

Hewett also performed an outstanding run-with job on Jack Steven, holding the usually prolific Saints star to just nine possessions.

Lance Franklin (4.4 and 12 marks) was lively in attack and climbed to fourth in the Coleman Medal race, four goals behind leader Ben Brown (35).

Second-year midfielder Oliver Florent (27 possessions) was also impressive, while Callum Sinclair (14 possessions, 29 hit-outs and three goals) had the better of his ruck contest with Tom Hickey, and Jarrad McVeigh, Dane Rampe and Heath Grundy kept things tight in defence.

Despite the fact they won the inside 50 count 55-49, St Kilda failed to reach 60 points for the sixth time this year.

On a tough night, Seb Ross (25 possessions and five clearances) fought a rear-guard action in the midfield, while Jimmy Webster (24 possessions) and Bailey Rice (20) battled hard in defence,

Richardson has never coached a win against Sydney counterpart John Longmire, with the Saints' last win over the Swans coming in round nine, 2012, at Etihad Stadium. The only member of the Saints' team on Saturday night who played in that game was Steven.

The Swans host West Coast next Friday night at the SCG, where they have beaten the Eagles in their past six encounters. 

ST KILDA         1.1       3.8       4.10     7.13 (55)
SYDNEY           9.1       14.3     17.7     19.12 (126)

St Kilda:
 Battle 2, Sinclair, McCartin, Weller, Membrey, Gresham, 

Sydney: Franklin 4, Sinclair 3, Papley 2, Hayward 2, Rohan 2, Parker 2, McCartin, Heeney, Jones, Kennedy,

St Kilda:
 Webster, Ross, Dunstan, McCartin

Sydney: Kennedy, Heeney, Franklin, Hewett, Florent, McVeigh, Sinclair, Grundy

Umpires: Dalgleish, Nicholls, Gianfagna

Official Crowd: 27,569 at Etihad Stadium