FORWARD Dan Butler and veteran James Frawley loom as big-name Saints under the microscope this week as coach Brett Ratten prepares to swing the axe ahead of a date with North Melbourne. 

The Saints waved the white flag against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, going down by 111 points in a performance Ratten labelled "unacceptable".  

Butler was held to five disposals against the Dogs and has now kicked two goals in three weeks, while Frawley was part of a backline that leaked 21 goals and has medical sub Tom Highmore and emergency Darragh Joyce waiting in the wings. 

Others in the selection gun are likely to include last week's inclusion Shaun McKernan (11 disposals), wingman Bradley Hill (15) and small forwards Jack Lonie (15) and Jack Higgins (13).

However, chief operating officer Simon Lethlean moved to praise the performances of youngsters Jack Bytel and Ryan Byrnes in recent weeks. 

"It's a pretty thirsty industry for making statements. We'll make the best decisions for the balance we need to beat the Kangaroos this weekend," Lethlean said on Monday afternoon. 

"If that's a big-name player so be it, if there's a replacement that's going to field a better performance this weekend."

Lethlean detailed parts of an in-depth meeting with the club's leadership group on Monday just two days after Ratten threatened mass change

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Ratten: 'You can't just drop off the face of the earth'

Watch St Kilda's press conference after round 10's match against the Western Bulldogs

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The Saints' 2021 leadership group comprises co-captains Jarryn Geary and Jack Steele, vice-captains Tim Membrey and Dougal Howard, plus Seb Ross, Jack Billings and Callum Wilkie. 

"It's a leadership group that's in reasonable form... there's varying personalities in there," Lethlean said.

"Howard and Wilkie, who were a bit under-siege on the weekend down back, wanted to have a conversation about how that makes them feel when the mids aren't doing their job. 

"Some mids like Steeley and Ross that are in reasonable form that want to talk about how it makes them feel when they're letting down their teammates as well. 

"It's a pretty open and honest conversation. We've got some pretty good people in that room now with our club psych Ben Robbins and (head of football) David Rath who are encouraging much richer conversations than we used to have in those groups."

The Saints will consider handing an AFL debut Leo Connolly against the Roos with the second-year speedster the carryover emergency against the Dogs. 

Leo Connolly in action against Port Melbourne in the VFL in round two, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Former top-10 pick Nick Coffield and inside midfielder Luke Dunstan were names raised by Lethlean, while Paul Hunter (42 hitouts, 20 disposals) and Mason Wood (26 disposals, two goals) also impressed in Sandringham's VFL win over Aspley. 

Fringe defender Ben Long is another in the frame after playing seven AFL games this year, including three as the sub. 

Lethlean confirmed the Saints would go to the draft with their first-round pick this November and that the club would likely use only one pick in next week's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft despite having up to five list spots available.