ST KILDA has beaten a wayward Greater Western Sydney by 52 points to end the Giants’ season in a whimper and prolong their own for the first time in nine years.
The 12.10 (82) to 3.12 (30) Gabba win shot the Saints to sixth on the live ladder and ensured a long-awaited finals return for Brett Ratten’s side.
Jack Steele did the hard yard early, finishing with 14 contested possessions, 10 clearances, seven tackles and two goals.
Needing to win big to have any chance of finishing in the top eight, the Giants had their chances in a 1.5 first quarter.
But Saints made them pay for their errant ways, Josh Battle and Brad Hill both slotting from tight angles to create the early buffer.
Toby Greene and Jack Riccardi goals made it a three-point game approaching half- time.
But they didn’t kick another after the break as it quickly turned ugly for last year’s grand finalists.
Awarded a messy mark as he dived forward, Rowan Marshall goaled to start the second half before Jack Lonie and Sam Billings skipped the Saints out to a 29-point lead at the final break.
Max King added his name to the scorer’s list to kill the contest early in the final term before his teammates lined up in a seven-goal second half.
Marshall took six marks in a dominant third quarter while Ben Paton kept Greene to just 12 disposals and veteran Dan Hannebery was solid in his injury return.
Not since 2011 have St Kilda played finals but they will finish sixth unless Collingwood beat Port Adelaide in Monday’s final regular-season game.
It was the Giants’ third-straight loss to finish a season that fizzled out for last year’s grand finalists.
They were dealt an early blow when Matt de Boer (back) was a late scratching, the tagger replaced by Isaac Cumming.
Recalled after being controversially dropped last week, Stephen Coniglio had 23 disposals for the Giants.
(C) AAP 2020
ST KILDA 3.3 5.5 8.9 12.10 (82)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.5 3.8 3.10 3.12 (30)
Goals: St Kilda: J Lonie 2 J Steele 2 B Hill D Butler J Battle J Billings M King P Ryder R Marshall T Membrey. Greater Western Sydney: D Lloyd J Riccardi T Greene. Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Jacob Mollison, Andre Gianfagna.
Official Crowd: 1,528 at Gabba.