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Benched: Richo gains new perspective on Saints

Richo: 'It's a frustration for us' St Kilda coach Alan Richardson laments his side's ongoing ball use concerns in a loss to Collingwood
We just need to persist. The alternative is to give up which we won’t do as a footy club

SAY THIS much for the beleaguered Saints. They are not sitting still in their efforts to turn their season around.


In Saturday night’s clash at Etihad Stadium, St Kilda coach Alan Richardson chose to abandon his usual perch in the Level Two coach’s box to instead watch from the back of the boundary line dug-out.

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From a spacial perspective, he didn't see as much but as he explained after the 28-point loss to Collingwood, “when things are not going well I just wanted to make sure they can hear from the coach”.

And it was poor Rowan Marshall who copped the coach’s wrath. Midway through the third term, he coughed up the ball with a dreadful kick across half-forward, from which the Pies pounced and swept the ball down the ground for a goal that put them three goals up and which, in hindsight, was the sealer.

Marshall was immediately brought from the ground and was taken by the coach down the race behind the bench for a chat.

“I was annoyed at the time that he wasn’t backing himself,” Richardson explained afterwards. “He’s as good a kick as we’ve got.”

In addition to the coach’s new vantage point, other changes included pushing Jack Newnes towards goal from the wing and giving Jade Gresham more time through the midfield.

The jury is out on the second move, but the first at least was a winner. Newnes kicked a career-best four goals and for the brief part of the game when the Saints looked dangerous, the last 10 minutes or so of the second term, it was Newnes who was causing the Pies some anxious moments.

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Richardson said the Saints would continue to tinker at training and with personnel as they seek their first win since round one.

“We just need to persist. The alternative is to give up which we won’t do as a footy club,” he said.

“It’s a work in progress. We’re trying things and will continue to try different things.”

It will also continue to be a slog, particularly with the might of Richmond at the MCG next up. Injuries at St Kilda are really starting to mount, with key defender Nathan Brown set to miss at least a fortnight with a medial ligament strain.

The coach might have little alternative but to keep playing the kids. There were five of them with 10 games or less to their name against the Pies and what did please the coach was that they ran the game out, when after conceding seven goals to two in the third term, it could have become a blow-out.

“I was pleased for the players that they hung in there,” he said. “They kept having a crack.”

WATCH  Alan Richardson's full post-match media conference

But he conceded that he is no closer to solving the ills of his forward line, which again struggled. Not since the season opener have the Saints kicked more goals than behinds and while 10.12 was a slightly better return than some of the horrid inaccuracy that has plagued them all season, they needed more from their sole remaining key forward, Tim Membrey, who kicked 0.3 for the match.

When Jordan De Goey kicks six straight at the other end, the problems that come with a dysfunctional forward line really hit home.

“They took their opportunities, we didn’t, and we were disappointed with that facet of our play,” he said.