ST KILDA will look to draw inspiration from this weekend's preliminary finalists Melbourne and Port Adelaide as it plots its own rise up the ladder in 2022.

Both the Demons (2020) and Power (2019) enjoyed strong finishes to failed seasons before embarking on a jump to play finals the following year.

The Demons won six of their last nine games in 2020 and are now favourites to win the flag, while the Power won three of their last four games in 2019 before making back-to-back preliminary finals.

Now, having missed finals following a semi-final exit in 2020, the Saints are aiming to use their own form in the back half of 2021 to follow the example of others.

St Kilda players celebrate a win in the elimination final against the Western Bulldogs on October 3, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Coach Brett Ratten has instilled a 'why not us?' mentality for his players this off-season having won five of their last nine games to finish their 10-12 campaign. 

"Teams that have bounced back the following year have usually had a pretty solid second half of the year and performed to a pretty good level," Ratten told this week.

"Hopefully we can ride that part of 2021 into 2022. But there's no guarantees with that.

INSIDE TRADING Saints expecting dual club champ to stay

"That's why the message was to make sure we stay motivated and stay focused on what we're trying to do as a footy club.

"When players have their best years, they usually talk about what they did in the off-season and pre-season and I think we have an opportunity with the age profile of some of our talented players, they're still young.

"For them to get the work in pretty much now and get moving will be critical for their success."


Rounds 1-13

Rounds 14-23

Points for

70.6 (16th)

80.7 (7th)

Points against

90.2 (13th)

69.3 (6th)

Scoring accuracy

51.2% (17th)

63.9% (1st)

Ladder Percentage

78.3% (17th)

116.4% (7th)

Goals per I50

16.3% (17th)

20.4% (4th)

Inside 50s against

54 (12th)

47 (4th)

The Saints completely flipped the script on their season after the mid-season bye which came off a brutal internal review while on the road in Sydney.

Players' effort was called into question, while senior players were asked to deliver more by their inexperienced teammates.

They instantly became more efficient in front of goal and were able to defend the ground better, something Ratten hopes can be leveraged into 2022.

Max King and his St Kilda teammates look dejected after losing against Geelong in round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's (mid-season honesty sessions) dangerous when you do it in that period and are open and honest. There is some risk with it, there's also some reward," Ratten said.

"We didn't make it (finals) and we didn't deserve to make it and some of the lessons learned will put us in good stead for the future. You can fall, but it's how high you can bounce.

"Maybe last year with COVID, Noosa (hub) and coming back and starting a bit later (in pre-season, were we up and about early? No, we weren't.

"As a team, we had a year we haven't enjoyed. We finished strongly in the back half of the year, but our first half wasn't that enjoyable with inconsistencies we had. So, the 'why not us' is about getting moving individually and the effect that'll have collectively.

"It (off-season theme) was trying to get more of a purpose in this down period of what players are doing … to think, what they do today is going to help us for tomorrow.

"I've already started the text messages and the phone calls (to play) about how they're going. It's an interesting time, some players are trying to get back to their home state and they can't get back there and they're waiting.

"We want to have a break, have some time off but we've got to get going because the time waits for nobody."

The Saints will hold their Trevor Barker Award for the club's best and fairest on Friday, September 17 with co-captain Jack Steele an overwhelming favourite to go back-to-back.

Hear more from Brett Ratten on and the AFL Live Official App on Sunday.