The Sydney Swans have climbed to fifth on the AFL ladder after notching their seventh win on the trot with a comfortable 14.17 (101) to 9.5 (59) victory over St Kilda at the SCG on Saturday night.
Callum Sinclair was the star for Sydney, kicking a career-high five goals, while Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery managed 25 touches apiece.
Sinclair also booted three behinds in a performance that will no doubt please coach John Longmire immensely after he dropped the 27-year-old to the NEAFL to find form.
"To his credit he took that [demotion] really well," Longmire said. "He went back and was fantastic in our reserves, had a great attitude and kept working on his craft. He works as hard as anyone on our list. He got some reward for effort tonight which was fantastic. It was a really good night for him."
After losing their first six fixtures, Sydney have now leapfrogged Richmond and Melbourne to sit pretty at fifth on the ladder with five games remaining.
However, a Tigers win on Sunday would push them ahead of Sydney while West Coast could also threaten the Swans' spot if they can muster a big victory over Collingwood.
While the win was impressive and will no doubt be celebrated warmly, Sydney will already be eyeing off a rematch with Hawthorn next Friday at the MCG.
Sydney's last defeat came at the hands of the Hawks in late May when they went down by six points at the SCG.
"They've got a six-day turnaround too, so we go in even that way," Longmire said. "They're a really good team, we've had some great battles and I'm sure this week will be a good one as well. They've kicked again after a slow start, a bit similar to us. We look forward to that challenge this week."
The men in red and white have now chalked up 10 wins from their last 11 starts in what will go down as one of the all-time mid-season revivals.
Written off by almost everybody, the Swans are now in prime position to sneak into the top four with matches against Hawthorn, Geelong and Fremantle coming up.
The Swans' effort was reflected on the scoreboard as they continued their dominance over St Kilda, notching up seven wins in a row and three on the trot at the SCG against the Alan Richardson-coached side.
Saints midfielders Sebastian Ross and Luke Dunstan got through plenty of work in the middle of the field but it was St Kilda's defenders who failed to limit the impact of the men they were marking.
The absence of star forward Sam Reid through injury placed a degree of added pressure on Lance Franklin but the Swans showed their diversity up front as eight players got themselves on the goal-scorers sheet.
Sinclair, the man who replaced Reid, had already kicked his third goal midway through the second quarter and in doing so equalled his best ever haul for the club, which came in round two last year against Carlton.
The Swans dominated from the outset of the contest as kicks found their targets and favourable territory put the visitors under pressure from the get-go.
"To keep them to 14 inside-50s in the first half, was a pretty strong effort," Longmire said. "We pushed back pretty well and really our defensive work was first-rate."
Had Sydney's accuracy in front of goal been better, they could have taken an even bigger lead into the first break but a 15-point buffer certainly sufficed in what ended up being a one-sided affair.
Like they did last week against the Giants, Sydney were brilliant off the back of turnover ball and consistently made the Saints pay for their errors as Sinclair booted two goals in the opening term.
And given the fact St Kilda had not won after trailing at quarter-time since round two, things looked ominous early.
Three minutes into the second quarter Franklin kicked his first major of the night and 48th goal for the season, which put him back on top of the goal-kickers list ahead of Joe Daniher (47) and Ben Brown (47).
Four goals in the second term put the Swans ahead 50-20 at half-time as the Saints really struggled to get within Sydney's 50.
Set shots might not have been the Swans' forte throughout the evening but they kept chalking up points courtesy of Sinclair and Franklin in the third term.
When the result was beyond doubt, Franklin passed a milestone with his 50th goal of the season – the 10th time he has reached the mark during his AFL career.
Best on ground
Callum Sinclair (SYD) - 8.5
Josh Kennedy (SYD) - 8
Dan Hannebery (SYD) - 8
Lance Franklin (SYD) - 7.5
Sebastian Ross (STK) - 7.5
This story first appeared on Brisbane Times.