Higgins was St Kilda’s best player in the nine-point loss, but was left to rue his wayward kicking as Sydney ran out 13. 14. (92) to 12. 11. (83) winners at the SCG.
The 22-year-old grabbed an incredible 12 marks to go along with 23 disposals, but finished with just one goal from seven shots on goal, including two easy misses in the final quarter with St Kilda trailing by under a goal.
Higgins’ confidence in his goal-kicking looked shot on his final two attempts, as he rushed to take the shot on goal without taking the full 30 seconds usually allowed.
According to former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon, Higgins’ struggles mirrored that of players across the entire AFL.
“As heartbreaking and as cruel as that is, you’ve had your chance and you’ve stuffed it. It was there again for the taking today,” he said on commentary for Fox Footy.
“We talk about football in so many different ways, forms, shapes, styles and tactics, you’ve got to get it through the two big ones in the end. It’s stupidly simplistic, but we don’t pay enough attention to the inability to execute that.
“In the end there’s a man in Jack Higgins who has been in the competition a long time whose confidence deserted him and in the end he wanted to get it over and done with, rather than look upon it as an opportunity to win the game.”
Lyon’s co-commentator, Brisbane great Jonathan Brown, noted that Higgins’ struggles continued what had been a paltry moth of kicking from the Saints.
“He’d be feeling sick. One goal six for the day and you go down by as good as a kick,” he said.
“That’s been the problem all year for St Kilda. If you look at the accuracy, it’s a simple game. St Kilda in the last month of football have kicked at 30 percent at goals, that’s 18th in the competition.
“It is the most overlooked stat in football, goal-kicking accuracy, especially in big moments.
“The great ones, they embrace the moment. They go back and they follow a process and unfortunately the pressure just got the better of him.”
The result leaves Brett Ratten’s side all but certain to miss the finals with its 5-7 record and a paltry percentage of just 77.6 per cent.
The win consolidated Sydney’s position in the top eight with its 8-4 record putting some breathing space between the two teams immediately below them on the ladder.
Tom Hickey continued his unbelievable form since joining the Swans, finishing with 21 disposals and 16 hitouts to go along with seven clearances.
Lance Franklin added two more goals to his season tally, while Will Hayward, Isaac Heeney and the returning Logan McDonald are the Swans’ other multiple goal-kickers.