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Swans power to big AFL win over Saints

AAP logoAAP 13/08/2016 Jason Phelan

A stunning second-half onslaught by Lance Franklin and Sydney have propelled the Swans to a brilliant 70-point AFL win over St Kilda.

Buddy grabbed Saturday night's game by the scruff of the neck after a hotly contested first half, with 15 possessions and three goals in an inspired third-term effort that helped set up the 23.8 (146) to 11.10 (76) win in front of 33,059 fans at Etihad Stadium.

The Saints led by five points at the first change and the Swans edged five points ahead at the main break after a pulsating opening half in which the lead changed hands nine times.

But St Kilda were largely powerless to stop Sydney after the resumption as the visitors reinforced their claims on a top-two finish with a jaw-dropping display of high-intensity football.

The wheels came off for the Saints as they fell 41 points behind at three-quarter time, with their slim finals hopes all but snuffed out with the percentage-sapping loss.

Franklin finished with an equal career-high 28 disposals and kept himself in the hunt for the Coleman Medal, his six goals leaving him just three majors behind the leader, West Coast's Josh Kennedy.

Franklin starred but the Swans had winners all over the ground.

Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker dominated the stoppages after halftime with Callum Mills and Aliir Aliir eye-catching in defence.

The Saints were brave in the first half after they lost Jarryn Geary to a back strain in the warm-up and then had to contend with the second-half departures of Sam Fisher (jaw) and Tom Hickey (concussion).

David Armitage, Seb Ross and Leigh Montagna worked hard for St Kilda in the inaugural Pride Game to celebrate diversity and tackle homophobia in sport.

"It was an interesting tussle in that first half ... we thought we were going ok but they were playing really good footy," Sydney coach John Longmire said.

"It was just a really powerful second half ... it was 15 goals to four, so it was just a fantastic second half.

"We probably got our hardness right, which was good, and our pressure on the opposition was good then we were able to use the ball going forward."

Saints coach Alan Richardson was pleased at how his players took it up to a team that looks on course to finish in the top two in the first half, but was dismayed at the sudden drop in intensity.

"We acknowledge that they're at a different level, so to match that for a half was positive but to fall away as badly as we did was really disappointing," Richardson said.

"It was as if the guys just completely ran out of legs and just didn't quite have the real appetite for the brutal contest after halftime, which was surprising."

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