Saints' errors costly in AFL loss to Swans

·2-min read

Jack Higgins has missed two gilt-edged chances to be the hero for St Kilda in the dying stages of a nine-point defeat to Sydney in a pulsating AFL contest.

With the Saints trailing by less than a kick, Higgins twice took marks inside 50 metres in the final three minutes but pushed his shots at goal wide.

The small forward finished with 1.6 as Lance Franklin helped set up James Rowbottom to kick the sealer for Sydney in the dying seconds, with the home side prevailing 13.14 (92) to 12.11 (83) at the SCG.

"We probably got away with it at the end," Swans veteran Luke Parker told Fox Footy.

"They missed their goal kicks, but we had some big contests ... so we'll take it."

The win helped Sydney (8-4) further entrench themselves in the top-eight, while St Kilda (5-7) have a huge task on their hands to return to the finals this season.

Making matters worse for the Saints, luckless veteran Jarryn Geary left the field with a dislocated shoulder late in the match after Mason Wood had been substituted out with a hamstring injury during the second term.

Higgins was St Kilda's most dangerous forward with 23 disposals and 12 marks but let himself down in front of goal.

"That's part of the game," Saints coach Brett Ratten said.

"He's a professional, he needs to keep working hard and sometimes you have days where it just doesn't happen for you.

"He just needs to get his routine right and he's just one of a number of players that are still working through that."

Ratten also revealed young key forward Max King hurt his back at training on Thursday and again during the first half against Sydney.

King finished with 1.1 from just four disposals.

Tim Membrey and Ryan Byrnes kicked two goals each for the Saints and stepped up in big moments to keep them in the match during the final quarter.

But the Swans, who led for most of the second half, had an even spread of contributors and deserved to hang on.

Fit-again ruckman Tom Hickey was outstanding for Sydney opposed to Saints veteran Paddy Ryder, gathering 21 disposals and seven clearances, while Will Hayward kicked three goals.

Isaac Heeney, Logan McDonald and Franklin kicked two each for the Swans, with Parker (27 disposals) and Callum Mills (26) important contributors through the midfield.

Saints speedster Brad Hill had 18 disposals in the first half and finished with 25 in a welcome return to form.

Brad Crouch (38), Jack Steele (31) and Jack Sinclair (29) were all busy for St Kilda.