ST KILDA has declared off-contract coach Brett Ratten is "their man" despite the Saints dropping out of the top-eight during a concerning form slump.

After three-straight defeats, St Kilda has gone from a top-four contender to be in a battle just to make this year's finals series.

THINGS WE LEARNED Saints are proving the doubters right

The Saints (8-6) sit 10th with a challenging end to the season.

However, St Kilda remains in negotiations with Ratten about extending his stay at Moorabbin well beyond this year.

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"An out-of-contract coach is topical from pre-season onwards," St Kilda's incoming chief executive Simon Lethlean told SEN.

"We’ve taken our time with that process, we’ve been consistent in saying where we’re at now with our program and our list that 'Ratts' is our man.

"I doubt anyone would have challenged us on that a fortnight ago.

"Clearly, that’s a debate that can now happen on the back of our form.

"We aren’t as reactive internally, perhaps, as the external football world is and we’ll keep progressing down the path that we’ve said we will with Brett and his management.

"I spoke to Brett last night and told him that’s still ticking along but our focus and his focus is on arresting our form at the moment."

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It comes after St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt earlier this month said the Saints would be "derelict in their duty" not to call Alastair Clarkson.

The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach will more than likely lead a club again next year, after sitting out this season when he parted ways with the Hawks at the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Lethlean backed the decision to rest star veteran Paddy Ryder for Saturday night's 51-point loss against the Sydney Swans on Saturday night.

He hopes Ryder and playmaker Bradley Hill (personal reasons) will be available for Friday night's clash with in-form Carlton.