Lance Franklin celebrated his 200th AFL game with nine goals against St Kilda but a suspected hamstring injury to key midfielder Josh Kennedy threatened to dampen the mood after Sydney’s 71-point win at the SCG on Saturday.
The Swans went outright first with a 19.13 (127) to 8.8 (56) win over the last-placed Saints, but Brownlow Medal fancy Kennedy limped from the field five minutes into the second quarter.
Franklin kicked 9.4 and took his tally for the year to 61, jumping to the lead in the Coleman Medal ahead of former teammate Jarryd Roughead, who couldn’t add to his 55 due to suspension.
It was his biggest haul in a Swans jersey, eclipsing the six he managed against Carlton and the best since his career-best 13 against North Melbourne in 2012.
He had three chances in the final quarter to reach double figures for just the second time in his career, but sprayed two set shots wide for behinds and fell short with another attempt from outside 50.
Nick Riewoldt kicked the first goal of the game, but Sydney slammed four in five minutes to take control.
Franklin twice marked and goaled from close to 50 metres, Nic Malceski snapped well and Lewis Jetta landed a booming 55-metre kick on the run.
Close-range efforts from Harry Cunningham and Franklin set up a 32-point lead by the first change, at which time Sydney had accumulated 55 more disposals and had a massive 24-4 advantage in inside 50s.
Sydney swelled their lead to 45 early in the second quarter following Franklin’s fourth and a major to Jake Lloyd,
However, Saints’ James Gwilt kicked the only other goal of a lacklustre quarter in which everything seemed insignificant compared to Kennedy’s premature departure.
Things livened up considerably in the third quarter, with Sydney slamming on seven goals to three, with Franklin kicking four and fellow forward Kurt Tippett two, to lead by 62 at the final change.
The Swans led by as much as 84 in the final quarter, before the Saints kicked the last two goals.
Tippett kicked three while Riewoldt did likewise for the Saints.
Two dual premiership heroes bade farewell to the SCG, with utility Lewis-Roberts-Thomson doing a lap of honour at halftime and midfielder Ryan O’Keefe leading the reserves off the field.