After a 28-point loss to the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has lamented that his side have been “carrying too many” players in recent weeks.
The Saints conceded the first seven goals of the game to the Bulldogs on Friday night, and if they hadn’t scored four goals last term, they could have lost by almost ten goals.
Luke Beveridge’s side were able to move the ball with freedom and crucify St Kilda away with one quick move as the pressure from Saints subsided immediately.
While they finished the game with 40 tackles – seven less than the Dogs – they had only managed 11 at halftime, with Saints 16 without a tackle at the main break.
“(Regarding) our pressure, I think we had 11 tackles in the first half. It’s not where we want to be,” Ratten told reporters after the game.
“One of our KPIs tonight was pressure, and it just went down.
“As a team in this space, Friday night, we’re trying to get to the finals, we’re trying to get into the finals, and we deliver this performance, (she) is subpar.
“Our pressure wasn’t where we wanted to be, and that’s been a constant since the break.”
Given that St Kilda effectively cost themselves a chance in the final with the defeat, the disparity in tackles was alarming and speaks to deeper issues at the club.
Ratten was also disappointed with his midfield after the game, singling out Zak Jones for his exploits when the game was on the line.
Despite playing 82% of the clash and finishing with 18 touches, the 27-year-old had just four possessions to his name coming into half-time mostly playing on the ball.
“It’s something we have to do well. Jack Steele (26 surrenders, 14 played) has done a great job of coming back and playing and he’s a level A player, but he needs more support,” added Ratten.
“I think Jones had four or five possessions in a half game, in the first half. You can’t run into midfield and only have a handful of touches.
“So we need everyone to contribute, and that’s what we got in the first half of the year… right now we’re carrying too many that just aren’t at the level we’re looking for or who help their teammates when needed. ”
The Saints manager also said ruckman Paddy Ryder was “touch and go” to be fit for next week after being substituted out of the clash with Achilles pain.
If Richmond beat North Melbourne as expected on Saturday, Ratten’s side will be one game and percentage out of the top eight, meaning they probably can’t lose more than one of their last five games and hope the results will go to the final.
They’ll be looking for a confidence rebound against West Coast next week.