- Aug 17, 2015
- AFL Club
- St Kilda
- Other Teams
- PHL Eagles, Liverpool Panathinaikos
Credit to lewdogs
Richmond v St.Kilda
It has been a heartbreaking fortnight for Saints fans, with narrow losses against Sydney and Adelaide and the season looking all but over. We seem to find new and interesting ways to lose each week. Against the Swans we had the chance to win it in the dying moments but couldn’t kick straight. Against the Crows we were out to a huge lead but went to pieces in the final term to go down. There was a common theme again in the two matches and that was goal-kicking, our ongoing Achilles heal. We missed simple chances in both matches which would have led to victory.
The losses have led to bad press, a membership Q and A and talk of a full review. It appears some of our issues are above the shoulders, leading to games or periods of games where there is a lack of effort and our players missing easy shots at goal.
So with the bye weekend having come and gone, the question is can we turn it around? Can we get some semblance of form back in the second half of 2021? If we are going to win many games we will certainly need to, because our tough draw now rears its ugly head which means trips to Perth for the Eagles, the GABBA and Kardinia Park, and of course this week’s Friday night “blockbuster” against the Tigers at the MCG.
So have the Saints freshened up over the bye and gotten themselves ready for a second-half-of-the-season-miracle-run-to-finals? It seems unlikely, but here may be some ways we can have a crack this Friday night:
Injuries have been a huge hurdle for the Saints this year, but this weekend we should severely strengthen our side. I expect Membrey, Ross, Marshall and possibly McKenzie and Frawley to come in. Those first three names will definitely make us more competitive. I also think we have missed McKenzie for his run and grunt.
Marshall’s return will provide some support to King in the forward line, and strengthen up our ruck division for the contest against Chol. The Tigers are without Nankervis, who always seems to play well against us.
Ones to Watch – Our Young Newbies
It was great to see young Tom Highmore play a breakout game last weekend. He will certainly be a player to watch for the remainder of the season, he looks brave and great at reading the play.
At the other end, Jack Higgins has been playing some great football. He has struggled with his goal-kicking the past fortnight, but his strong hands and run up and down the flanks have given us a great focal point and he looks like he could become a fantastic player for us.
Max King is fresh of signing a new deal and will relish the return of Rohan Marshall to the side. Hopefully he is over his back complaint and can find some good form over the second half of the year, starting this week.
Again, all eyes will be on our goalkicking. Despite some horrible losses and a frustrating season in general, you could argue that had our goalkicking been tidier this year we may even be in the eight. No matter what happens, it is an area of our game that we must improve if we want to be a contender in the future.
The Tigers are coming off one of the games of the year against West Coast where they went down at the death. They are playing some fantastic football, led by Shai Bolton who has been outstanding through the middle and dangerous going forward. Despite their good form, they sit at the lower part of the eight and will be desperate to win. At the MCG they are a scary prospect, although due to crowd limits it will be a smaller version of the dreaded Tiger Army in the stands.
Leadership & Effort
There has been a lot of talk about leadership and effort. The members Q and A this week called out the regular lack of effort by our players. It is a rather disturbing thing to really think about, players failing to give full effort, although it must be more complicated than that. Tim Membrey even admitted that sometimes you think you’re giving full effort, but deep down you know you’re not.
This question around our effort needs to be addressed immediately. There just can’t be games where the players don’t try hard enough, and if this group of players are really serious about being a good side into the future, that really has to be the first thing we see, starting this week.
I can’t remember being as desperate for a win as we are this week. It feels like we have been in the crosshairs of the media for the past month, that fire only fuelled by insipid performances. There is nothing like a win to make everything ok again, and beating the premiers on their home turf would be the ultimate tonic.
I believe we will have an improved performance this week on the inclusions alone. I hope the players have taken the time off over the bye to focus on their effort, and that we see a dedicated St Kilda side each week for the remainder of the season. If that is the case, I believe we will record some really good wins in the back half of the year which will set us up for 2021.
Having said that, the Tigers this week looks like a bridge too far.
Tigers by 12 points.
Tigers by 12 points.