St Kilda players after their loss to Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA is in the midst of a pressure crisis. 

The Saints hung in the game against a depleted Port Adelaide last week to only lose by 10 points at Adelaide Oval, but the result didn't tell the tale of a trend that has pervaded Ross Lyon's side throughout this season.

St Kilda was thrashed in the pressure stakes again by Port Adelaide, losing the pressure rating 197-171 on Friday night in the sixth biggest pressure differential recorded by Champion Data this season.

St Kilda weren't up against chumps in this area either, with Port Adelaide ranked No.1 for pressure differential this season (averaging a rating of 14 more than their opposition, which is five ahead of the next best).

But St Kilda's pressure woes have been central to its best and worst already this season. The Saints rank 16th in the differential for the season, with only Hawthorn (an average differential of -12) and West Coast (-13) behind them.  


Even worse, the Saints' pressure rating over the past two weeks against Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs sits at a combined -56. 

Champion Data notes that this is the eighth worst two-week stretch on record (with the pressure rating first being recorded in 2010) and the worst back-to-back combined rating by a club since 2021. 

St Kilda has been winners in the pressure stakes in three of its seven games this season: against Collingwood in round two, Richmond in round four and the Giants in round five. The Saints' two wins this season have been over the Pies and Tigers while the premiership-contending Giants beat them by one point in round five. 

Jase Burgoyne kicks under pressure from Marcus Windhager during the match between Port Adelaide and St Kilda at Adelaide Oval in round seven, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

St Kilda's competitiveness in results has been seen for the most part of the year – four of their five losses have been by 10 points or fewer – but the Saints' dramatic pressure drop-off in the past fortnight will need to be overturned quickly for Lyon's side to catch the gap between the top-eight contenders.