ST KILDA coach Brett Ratten has praised his side’s stunning response against the Eagles on Saturday, labelling the performance a “blueprint” for how he wants the team to play.
After getting smashed by 75 points against Essendon last week, the Saints responded with an inspiring victory against West Coast despite being 33 points down in the third quarter.
Key to St Kilda’s victory was its ferocious pressure around the ball, with the Saints laying 69 tackles – more than double its 32 tackle count the previous week.
Ratten said his side’s pressure and hunt around the footy was excellent.
"It was really pleasing to think what we dished up last week, to then play like that and stick to the task," Ratten said.
"We could have given up, but the players knew what they did last week; win, lose or draw, we have to bring that.
"That was a bit of a blueprint. We're going to lose games of footy, every team does, it's just how you go about it.
"We weren’t pleased last week and to see the response was really pleasing … [especially] the pressure and the hunt around the footy."
Ratten singled out his midfield group for praise, after they won the clearances 45 to 30 against an Eagles side boasting the might of Nic Naitanui in the ruck.
He also commended the tackling pressure of youngster Jack Bytel and recruit Brad Crouch, who combined to lay 19 tackles.
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"[Jack] Steele, [Zak] Jones and Crouch got pretty busy around the ball and gave us first use at times. Bytel is starting to show some signs as a young player," he said.
"[Crouch] has just come to a new club and tries to make sure he puts an imprint at St Kilda. We had a lot of players down last week but [it was great] for him to respond like he did."
Meanwhile West Coast coach Adam Simpson said there were no excuses for the Eagles' second-half fadeout, despite losing captain Shannon Hurn to a calf injury early in the game.
"There's no excuses for today, not for the second half," Simpson said.
"Whether we're home or away, we just didn't play a brand that stood up under pressure.
"We just couldn't match the intensity. They were just more desperate than us."