St Kilda players walk off the ground after beating Gold Coast in R5, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

SHOULD St Kilda go deep into September, mark down this match as the catalyst for change: Round 12, 2021.

A nine-point loss to Sydney at the SCG might not appear all that telling.

But the frank dialogue after that defeat may come to define the Saints under coach Brett Ratten.

Jack Sinclair – a player who has transformed over the past two seasons – says as much.

"It had to be had because we'd had some big losses in the first half of last year," he told


"We got pumped by Richmond, the Doggies, Port beat us pretty easily, and Essendon.

"It was more about trying to address the gulf in our performances.

"We had some really good wins at the start of last year early, but then we dropped off and had some huge losses. I think off the back of that we really found some consistency."

St Kilda players look dejected after the loss to Sydney in round 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

When it comes to his own form, Sinclair has been a model of consistency for the best part of 36 months.

Shifted into defence, the 27-year-old finished second to Jack Steele in last year's best and fairest. After five rounds this season, Sinclair has only enhanced his reputation as one of the League's most improved players.

"It was a quick decision to try me at half-back in a couple of match sim practices at the start of last year," Sinclair explained.

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"I was a bit unsure about it all. I hadn't played there before so I wasn't super high on confidence.

"I started to put some good performances together, build a bit of belief and trust and no doubt the coaches felt that, too."

Jack Sinclair in action during the R3 clash between St Kilda and Richmond at Marvel Stadium on April 3, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Sinclair has a genuine affection and connection to the Saints.

His maternal grandfather, Bill Gleeson, played 14 games for the club in the 1950s.

"Ever since I was very young I wanted to play for the Saints because of him," Sinclair said.

"He died when I was pretty young so I don't have too many memories, but he's definitely the reason I wanted to play for the footy club."

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Like Melbourne did last season, the Saints are daring to dream in 2022.

At 4-1, they've created a platform to make the final eight.

"It's obviously early and there's no doubt what our end goal is, but for us it's about trying to be consistent," Sinclair said.

"I think the last four weeks we have shown that. It's been tough, no doubt. We've been behind in a couple of those games and fought our way back in."

With the Demons breaking their 57-year flag drought, St Kilda now holds the unenviable mantle of the longest active streak without a premiership.

Sinclair is acutely aware of that history and wants to be part of the team that emulates the Saints' one and only premiership side of 1966.

"It'd be amazing," he said.

"There have been so many incredible players that have gone before us that haven't been quite able to get there.

"There's no doubt the next group who does that, they'll all be heroes. Hopefully it's not too far away."