The festival of footy has begun, and the Saints are ready to kick off their campaign with a bang.
And what better way to do so in the fifth annual Pride Game against the Swans, with the red, white and black set to host the milestone match at the Gabba.
Four points on Saturday will not only snap a 10-game winless streak against John Longmire's men, but also signal three consecutive wins for the first time since 2017.
Here's all you need to know ahead of Round 9 against the Swans.
St Kilda v Sydney
Saturday 1 August
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Last time we met…
Sydney 17.7 (109) def. St Kilda 8.16 (64)
Outgoing Swans Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh and 300-gamer Lance Franklin were given the perfect send-off after Sydney piled on six final-quarter goals to run away with a 45-point win at the SCG.
The Saints rolled up the sleeves in the second and third terms to even up the contest, but were overrun by the Bloods in the game’s opening and closing stanzas.
Former Swan Dan Hannebery was best-on-ground for the visitors (28 disposals, seven clearances) to snare his sole Brownlow vote for the year, while Rowan Marshall (27 hit-outs) was equally influential.
The Saints’ regular contributors in Luke Dunstan, Jack Steele and Seb Ross all amassed 27 disposals, with the latter adding to his outing with two goals.
But it was the returning Lance Franklin who dealt the most damage.
Four goals from Buddy put the result beyond doubt, while Josh Kennedy (32 disposals, 11 clearances, two goals) and Luke Parker (28 disposals, two goals) were sensational through the midfield to get top billing for the game’s Brownlow votes.
Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh each snagged a goal in the final quarter to end their decorated careers on the perfect note.
Moment of the match...
Ben Long’s sensational transition into a running half-back showed its first signs in the final game of 2019, with a classy dash through traffic and brilliant bender keeping the Saints in the hunt.
St Kilda broke its longstanding losing streaks over Adelaide (10 matches) and Port Adelaide (eight) over the past week and will be intent on replicating the results against Sydney.
The Saints haven’t knocked off the men from the Harbour City since Round 9 2012, with John Longmire’s men victorious in the last 10 encounters.
Longmire holds a near-perfect record against the Saints with 11 wins and one loss.
From the archives...
Tony Lockett had the last word in Round 7 1994, slamming home 11 goals to motor the Saints to an unfathomable one-point win.
St Kilda kicked eight final quarter goals – four off Plugger’s boot – to record one of the greatest triumphs in club history.
Round 8 recap…
Brett Ratten’s men made it two wins in five days at Adelaide Oval with a comprehensive triumph over the top-of-the-table Port Adelaide by 29 points.
Former Power ruckman Paddy Ryder and fan-favourite Saint Rowan Marshall were in scintillating form with a combined 40 hit-outs and four goals, while Hunter Clark was at his silky best coming off half-back.
The Saints blazed away with five unanswered goals in the final quarter, including a Messi-inspired Goal of the Year contender from Tim Membrey is his 100th game.
St Kilda were incredibly accurate over the night with an impressive 12.1, with Dan Butler (two goals) registering the only minor score in the white-hot affair.
The Swans also snared the four points, snapping their four-game winless drought with a triumphant performance against Hawthorn.
Dane Rampe received widespread praise and a perfect 10 coaches’ votes for his bravery after playing out the match with a broken hand.
But it was Tom Papley who drew the most attention with a best-on-ground four-goal haul, consolidating his position on top of the League’s goalkicking table for 2020.
Jake Lloyd (34 disposals) was a standout in tandem with Rampe down back, while Luke Parker and James Rowbottom held their own against the star-studded midfield.
The ins and outs...
Josh Battle will return to the senior line-up after missing last week's match with a minor cheek fracture and concussion.
The 21-year-old comes in for Dean Kent (knee soreness).
Will Hayward will make his return for the Swans in favour of Dylan Stephens (omitted), while Dane Rampe has been given clearance to play after surgery on his broken hand.
The Swans’ stars…
When talking about the Swans in 2020, it’s impossible to look past Tom Papley.
In a forward line ravaged by injury and without big names Lance Franklin and Isaac Heeney, the hot-topic forward has assumed the mantle of a key forward to be one of the most damaging players going around.
Papley leads the Coleman race with 19 goals and has been listed in the goalkickers column for 26 consecutive games.
Without co-captain Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker has shouldered much of the midfield responsibility to perform admirably throughout the year.
The All-Australian sits well on top of the club’s clearances, tackles and contested possessions count to be a shining light for the young side.
Oliver Florent has enjoyed extended midfield runs with the absence of several long-serving Swans, piecing together one of his best displays in last week’s match against Hawthorn.
Shutting down the Swans’ precise set-up from half-back will go a long way in determining the result, with Jake Lloyd’s immaculate use and Dane Rampe’s unflinching courage two of the club’s greatest assets.
Callum Mills has also performed well after an unhampered run, while 20-gamer James Rowbottom has started to string steadily increasing efforts together.
On the injury front…
Dean Kent will miss Saturday's clash through knee soreness, while Dan Hannebery has had successful surgery on his hamstring tendon following an injury incurred at training last Friday.
Swans defender Dane Rampe played out last Saturday's game with a broken hand, but otherwise came out unscathed in their seven-point win over Hawthorn.