St Kilda was one team that was expected to be in the mix for finals football in 2018. But the Saints currently find themselves in 16th position with only one win from six games.
The loss against Hawthorn last Saturday was another poor performance. And it has not taken long for the AFL media to circle and question exactly what is transpiring.
When quizzed about the predicament of the Saints on 3AW Monday evening, pundit Matthew Lloyd was blunt in his assessment.
“I’m worried about everything. I couldn’t name one player that’s really come on and improved. The skill level is as a bad as any team in the competition. They’ve got no leg speed, they can’t score – they’re averaging 50-odd points a game. I’d be very, very concerned.”
Garry Lyon also seemed to share similar thoughts to the former Essendon champ with a lack of skills top of the hit-list.
“Their kicking skills were absolutely deplorable. Deplorable to the point we all watch footy on Saturday night and we’re all experts in our lounge room. Your phone just starts pinging and all your mates are watching the same thing. Wondering whether you’re watching AFL footy.”
While some of the criticism is harsh, it is hard to disagree. Certainly Tim Membery’s attempt at goal from the Hawks clash is hard to defend as good skilful finishing.
Time for a response
Alan Richardson was re-appointed Senior coach last year. Perhaps surprisingly given he still had a year to run on his contract: Has Alan Richardson got the Saints marching on the right track?
While things are not currently working the intriguing thing will be what changes the coaching staff are prepared to make in converting an underperforming team into finals contender.
Currently the worst conversion in the league at 41% despite the acquisition of the highly regarded Ben Dixon as goal kicking coach. And with a lack of scoring power, the idea of Jake Carlisle spending more time forward will be one that continues to be floated amongst others.
Despite the ongoing scrutiny, Alan Richardson is confident he is the man to turn things around and the club needs to stick together.
“We are not a good team at the minute. But I’m really looking forward to seeing how we respond as a playing group and as a club, with the fact that we’re not able to execute what we’re trying to do consistently.”
The Saints face Melbourne this Sunday in desperate need of a win. Both to alleviate the media scrutiny for a week and to also keep 2018 finals aspirations alive. Want to bet on it? Check this out.