JACK Higgins has wasted two 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 and missed his set shots.
He finished with 1.6 for the day as Lance Franklin helped set up James Rowbottom to kick the sealer for Sydney, who prevailed 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 shoulder injury 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.
Tim Membrey and Ryan Byrnes kicked two 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.
Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney and recalled youngster Logan McDonald kicked two apiece, with Parker (27 disposals) and Callum Mills (26) important through the middle.
A pair of 50m penalties paid against Sydney in the final term were cause for debate.
Dane Rampe and Sam Wicks were penalised in separate incidents when opponents Max King and Nick Coffield went to ground easily after light contact.
Saints speedster Brad Hill had 18 disposals in the first half – three times as many as he had in the entire match against North Melbourne a week earlier – and finished with 25.
Brad Crouch (38), Jack Steele (31) and Jack Sinclair (29) were all busy for St Kilda.
(C) AAP 2021
SYDNEY 4.6 6.7 10.11 13.14 (92)
ST KILDA 3.4 5.7 9.7 12.11 (83)
Goals: Sydney: W Hayward 3 I Heeney 2 L Franklin 2 L McDonald 2 J Kennedy J Rowbottom L Parker T Papley. St Kilda: R Byrnes 2 T Membrey 2 D Butler J Battle J Billings J Higgins J Steele M King M Wood S Ross.
Umpires: Robert Findlay, Curtis Deboy, Nathan Toner.
Official Crowd: 19,020 at SCG.