St Kilda's losing run has extended to three games following a 51-point defeat to fellow top-eight contenders Sydney at the SCG on Saturday night.

The Saints, who had lost to Essendon and Brisbane in their past two games, struggled with their method and only managed four goals for the game, going down 12.11 (83) to 4.8 (32).

The nature of St Kilda's response after their shock loss to the Bombers, which coach Brett Ratten called a "reality check", will be a concern for the finals hopefuls.

Both sides came into the game with 8-5 records, with Sydney moving up to sixth with the win to boost their finals aspirations after a disappointing loss to Port Adelaide last round.

The defeat means St Kilda is ninth, but Collingwood, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide – who all play on Sunday - will be pushing in the top-eight race. The Saints face current top-eight sides Carlton, Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs in their next three rounds.

Saints captain Jack Steele was impressive on his return for the first time since sustaining an AC injury in round nine with 27 disposals and eight touches, along with Sebastian Ross (31 disposals).

The Saints struggled to score throughout the game, managing only two goals up until three quarter-time.

SYDNEY            3.1       4.6       9.10       12.11 (83)
ST KILDA           1.2       2.2       2.6     4.8 (32)

Sydney: Heeney 3, Clarke 2, Papley 2, Franklin, Florent, Hayward, Parker, Hickey
St Kilda: Butler, Membrey, Billings, Windhager

Sydney: Lloyd, Hickey, Blakey, Papley, Florent, Franklin
St Kilda: Steele, Marshall, Ross, Wanganeen-Milera

Sydney: Nil
St Kilda: Nil

Sydney: Lewis Taylor (unused)
St Kilda: Darragh Joyce (unused)