MENTAL training has played a major role in St Kilda’s come-from-behind wins this year, midfielder Shane Savage says.
On Sunday against Melbourne, a Leigh Montagna goal with 19 seconds to go secured the Saints their fourth victory of the season and Savage said the club’s never-say-die attitude in 2015 is the result of time spent training the mind.
"We’ve had a lot of mind training sessions this year which has helped our belief out on the field and it’s kept us in the game a lot more," Savage told Crocmedia’s Sportsday program on Monday night.
"I think it’s something that’s really underestimated in football these days.
"In the game of AFL I think 90 per cent of it is in the mind and it’s something St Kilda has really taken control of.
"We’ve had quite a few sessions where we’ve got together and we have a couple of guys who come in and get us in a circle and give us certain tools to help us refocus during the game and do what we need to do."
The Saints have trailed after half-time in their past three victories this season with Savage also crediting the playing group’s increased attention to detail off-field with helping them improve this season.
"The main thing is we are holding each other a lot more accountable around the club, and making sure we don’t let little things slip," he said.
"If a meeting starts at nine o’clock, be there five minutes before ready to go.
"Something that has been really important is our recovery protocol, we all hold ourselves accountable to that after sessions and games, but it’s also the little things like filling in your daily monitoring sheet when you arrive in the morning.
"We have a fines system where if you don’t do certain things you cop a fine and that’s our way of keeping each other accountable."
The Saints lost the lead with 41 seconds to play on Sunday when Demon Jeremy Howe converted his set shot but Savage echoed Melbourne midfielder Bernie Vince’s earlier comments when he said he didn’t realise how little time there was left in the match.
"I saw it was 25 minutes on the clock so I felt we had a couple of minutes to go so I wasn’t panicking," Savage said.
"The backs just got together in our group and spoke about locking down a bit more and taking the game on when we had the chance.
"So I had no idea it was only 40 seconds. That was unbelievable."