Ross Lyon and his players look dejected after the R6 match between St Kilda and Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on April 18, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ROSS Lyon has pointed to St Kilda's "cumulative load" as a factor in his side's 60-point loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Playing their third game in 11 days, including two trips out of state, the Saints were on the back foot early against the Dogs, conceding seven goals in the opening term and their highest score against since round 10, 2021 – incidentally also against the Bulldogs.

SAINTS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

"I'd like to think that's not us," Lyon said after the match.

"Our trend, if I look at the group for… 30 games, I mean we haven't had one performance like that to be honest."

Noting that he didn't want to use the short turnaround as an excuse, and crediting the Western Bulldogs' impressive performance, he pointed out that "the physiological demand is extreme" and that he was concerned pre-game.

"I don't want to use excuses, but I certainly came here, I was cautious," Lyon said.


In recent weeks the Saints have been able to overcome slow starts to challenge teams in second halves, but on Thursday night the hill was simply too far to climb.

"There's no magic potion to find your legs and your energy," Lyon said.

Souring an already difficult night was a hamstring injury to sub Dan Butler, who played just a quarter of the game before hobbling from the field.

"The indications are it's torn. They'll let it settle, he'll go and get an MRI which will tell us what signals are there, they'll grade it … so we'll know more and update the market tomorrow," Lyon said.


For winning coach Luke Beveridge, it was an encouraging bounce back from a tough week after losing to Essendon in round five.

"Obviously (we were) on the canvas a bit during the week after what happened last Friday night, so to start so emphatically was encouraging," Beveridge said.

As a result, getting the group to work as a cohesive unit was the key message throughout the week.

"After last week we had a good chat after the game and there's a real closeness within our football club and the theme, really, from the players was stick together," he said.


Aaron Naughton dominated in attack, kicking six goals for the game including three in the opening quarter.

"We're all pleased for him. He doesn't covet necessarily kicking half a dozen like he did. He does all the team things, he competes like there's no tomorrow and I love the fact that he's able to get some reward for himself," Beveridge said.

"He's such an important player for us."


Beveridge was unable to provide a timeline on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's return to the field, after missing Thursday's clash due to personal reasons, but was optimistic about Tom Liberatore's availability for next week's game against Fremantle over in Perth.

"I think Tom's fine," Beveridge said.

"The thing about post-game last week, and this is the challenging thing with delayed effects (of concussion) … you hesitate to comment really, because at the time even though he's sort of been cleared, if something's happened you're probably better off saying 'oh, let's give it a couple of days and report back to you'."


Beveridge has suggested such will be the case for Laitham Vandermeer, who was subbed out of the game in the third quarter after copping a head knock.

"We thought he was fine, he thought he was fine. He got hit pretty hard but he bounced up pretty quickly, so they just wanted to check him out," Beveridge said.

"They needed to test him and that's why we subbed him out, because it was going to take 15 minutes … as it stands, he passed the test, but Tom passed the test last week. So all I'll say is he's passed the test."