After a tepid opening half from the Swans, Tippett ignited a third-quarter blitz to set the reigning premiers on track for the 18.10 (118) to 8.11 (59) victory that ensured a top-four finish.
With the Swans facing top-two sides Geelong and Hawthorn before finals and their lead at 45 points, Tippett was substituted off late in the third quarter after kicking three goals in the term.
Almost everyone in the crowd of 26,730 greeted the move with a standing ovation, as speedster Gary Rohan took off the green vest and trotted onto an AFL field for the first time since breaking his leg in round 4 last year.
More than 480 days have passed since Rohan's horrific collision with North Melbourne's Lindsay Thomas, but the 22-year-old has lost none of his whippet-like pace.
Rohan's first kick, earned shortly after entering the fray through raw speed, found Ben McGlynn and resulted in a goal that gave the hosts a 51-point lead at the final break.
From there the match petered out, Sydney exerting limited effort in the final quarter and the Saints scrapping to keep the margin respectable.
The game started in a similarly underwhelming fashion, the Swans producing their trademark pressure but lacking polish - especially when it came to delivering the ball into the forward line.
At quarter-time the scores were level, with Sydney's tally of 2.3 (15) their lowest opening-term score since booting 1.4 (10) in a round-seven loss to Hawthorn.
The Swans often booted it long to Tippett, but the former Adelaide ruck-forward usually had at least two defenders to contend with.
Tippett continued to struggle to find space in the second quarter, but the run of Rhyce Shaw and toil of on-ballers Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker helped the home side establish a 14-point buffer at halftime.
The Saints, who had looked so hard to subdue during the opening half, were broken in the third quarter as the Swans kicked seven goals to one and Tippett booted three in the space of nine minutes.
Jesse White finished with three goals for Sydney, while Kennedy tallied a game-high 38 possessions and 13 clearances.
For the Saints, Jack Steven was fantastic, captain Nick Riewoldt worked hard and youngster Tom Curren impressed.
SYDNEY 2.3 6.6 13.9 18.10 (118)
ST KILDA 2.3 4.4 5.6 8.11 (59)
Goals: Sydney - Tippett 5; White 3; McGlynn, Bolton, Lamb, K Jack, Pyke 2. St Kilda - Steven, Riewoldt 2; Minchington, Curren, Hickey, Lee.
Best: Sydney - Kennedy, Parker, Shaw, Tippett, K Jack, McVeigh. St Kilda - Steven, Riewoldt, Montagna, Curren, Armitage.
Umpires: Ben Ryan, Jacob Mollison, Jason Armstrong.
Official Crowd: 26,730 at SCG.