COACH Alan Richardson is refusing to use injuries or the opposition for St Kilda’s faltering AFL form, saying they need to look in their “own backyard” as they prepare to take on premiers West Coast on Saturday night.
After a surprisingly bright start to the season the Saints have dropped their past two against top-eight teams Adelaide and GWS – with the absence of injured stars in skipper Jarryn Geary, Jack Lonie, Jake Carlisle, Dylan Roberton and Jack Steven, who is dealing with mental health issues, appearing to take a toll.
But before the Marvel Stadium clash against the Eagles, Richardson said his side didn’t need excuses and had strayed from its strengths.
“I feel like we’ve just been inconsistent with committing to our system, it’s been the focus of our review; we really have let ourselves down,” Richardson said on Thursday morning.
“We’ve gone away from that. People talk about injury, personnel, talent, opposition too good, we don’t buy in to that and we feel like we’ve got a fair bit of work to do in terms of looking after our own backyard.”
West Coast are coming off a victory over Gold Coast but have the same 4-3 win- loss record as the Saints.
Richardson said they were expecting the Eagles to be at their best.
“Their best footy has still been good so that’s what we’re focused on. How powerful they are though the middle of the ground,” he said.
“Their system is hard to get through defensively with (Jeremy) McGovern and these sort of guys, they mark the ball as much as anyone in the back half which has been a challenge for us in recent times
“(Josh) Kennedy, (Jack) Darling; that combination forward, it’s a real challenge for any team if you don’t get pressure on.”
Meanwhile, the Saints have received a vote of confidence in their future with the re-signing of exciting youngster Jade Gresham.
The 21-year-old small forward-cum-midfielder could have taken his pick of clubs but elected to extend his deal with the Saints until the end of the 2023 season.
© AAP 2019