Slick Saints enter AFL winners' circle

Shayne Hope
St Kilda have claimed a 14.4 (88) to 7.7 (49) AFL victory over the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

St Kilda's prized off-season recruits have helped fire their AFL club to a 39-point win over the lacklustre Western Bulldogs.

Paddy Ryder, Zak Jones and Dan Butler were instrumental in the Saints' 14.4 (88) to 7.7 (49) victory at Marvel Stadium on Sunday night.

The result was the Bulldogs' third consecutive defeat by more than a six-goal margin and left them as one of four teams at the bottom of the ladder still searching for their first win of the year.

St Kilda turned around their fortunes from round one, when they coughed a 29-point halftime lead in a narrow loss to North Melbourne.

This time they led by 23 points at the main break and capitalised on a strong second quarter by continuing to outrun and outwork their opponents in the second half.

The Saints' contest work was particularly impressive with former Sydney midfielder Jones (29 disposals) a strong contributor on-ball alongside Jack Billings (24), Jade Gresham (25) and Dan Hannebery (20).

Ryder and Rowan Marshall outpointed Tim English in the ruck.

"That combination wore them down and gave us first use and Jones was exceptional around the ball with his speed and ability to shrug tackles," St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.

"I thought our boys inside did a really good job."

Billings kicked three goals and Max King (two goals) provided a marking target forward of centre, while captain Jarryn Geary played an important defensive role on Bulldogs playmaker Jason Johannisen (14 disposals).

Former Tiger Butler (two goals) was a constant threat with his speed in attack.

Defender Dougal Howard will be scrutinised for a heavy hit on English in the opening stages of the third quarter but kept dangerous Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton goalless until the final term.

The Dogs had few clear winners, though Bailey Smith (28 disposals) impressed and captain Marcus Bontempelli (24) worked tirelessly under close attention from Jack Steele.

"I don't know whether we broke our own heart with some of our ball use but we chased our tail with dominance in the ruck a little bit again," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

"We didn't use the ball well enough and it felt like what we geared up for intensity-wise and contest-wise fell apart a little bit. We weren't consistent enough with it."

The Bulldogs have a five-day turnaround for their clash with bitter rivals GWS at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, while the Saints meet Collingwood at the MCG the following day.