Jack Sinclair speaks to the media during a St Kilda training session on April 30, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

GRUMPY Ross has shown his face and Jack Sinclair concurs as St Kilda tries to rally from its stuttering 2-5 start to the season.

While the Saints appear set to regain Max King and Mason Wood and will start favourites for Saturday's twilight game at Marvel Stadium against North Melbourne, they are in trouble.

In particular, their defensive pressure and contested work is off.

Much has been made of Ross Lyon's more upbeat public face since returning to the club last year, but Sinclair said the coach is making his points clear as St Kilda tries to gain traction.

"There have been some things that haven't particularly gone down well with him," Sinclair said.

"He's very calm. He's been super patient for the last few weeks ... it's good, we need him driving us, being super hard on us.


"That's why he had such a big impact last year, because he came in and he was so strong. He just makes things really simple.

"Whether he's grumpy or not, he spells things out really clearly. 

"It's really simple fixes for us – we know what we need to work on, but he's just frustrated that while we know that, we're not really bringing it."

The Saints' midfield has struggled at times and Sinclair admitted he would rather stay in defence than be called in to firefight when a game is not going their way.

"Whatever the team needs, I'm happy to go in there, of course," he said.

Jack Sinclair celebrates a goal during St Kilda's clash against Essendon in round three, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"Hopefully when we're fit and going I won't need to go in there, because it feels a bit like when the game goes the other way, then I have to go in there and try to give us a lift."

While St Kilda has suffered only one blowout loss – to the Western Bulldogs – Sinclair said Port Adelaide last weekend had 10 more scoring shots and it was a much more comprehensive defeat than the 10-point margin suggested.

"We're not defending particularly well," he said. 

"When the ball is live, our pressure is poor and when oppositions are getting some time to pick us apart with their kicks, we're not defending that particularly well either.

"We're working hard, there's no doubt. Our GPS numbers are through the roof, but we can be a lot smarter and work better together."


The two-time All-Australian defender added St Kilda remains upbeat about its prospects.

"There's some pretty obvious stuff with our contest, just being second to the ball," he said. 

"Our pressure has been really poor and defensively, not bringing the system to life that we brought last year."

In good news, young gun Mattaes Phillipou has signed a two-year contract extension and Jimmy Webster is about to return from his seven-game suspension for a high pre-season bump on North's Jy Simpkin.

"He's ready. I'm not sure if he comes straight back in," Sinclair said of Webster.