MONDAY was the day for talking inside RSEA park after St Kilda was embarrassed by the Western Bulldogs last Friday night, losing for the fifth time in six games since the mid-season bye.
The Saints know they are running out of chances to resuscitate a season that once looked full of life at 8-3, but is now on life support at 9-8 after 18 rounds.
St Kilda key defender Callum Wilkie said the club's review focused on why there is such a big gap in effort and intensity between the Saints' best and worst, after Brett Ratten's side laid only 11 tackles in the first half at Marvel Stadium before losing by 28 points in a score line that wasn't reflective of the gulf between the two sides.
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"We had the weekend to think about it," Wilkie said on Monday.
"For myself, as a member of the leadership group, I spent most of the weekend thinking about taking responsibility for not just the back six, but the whole team.
"We spoke about that on Monday in our leadership group meeting, that we need to take responsibility for the lack of on-field effort and consistency that we're not showing. Then just try and put that back on the group to show that we care about this football club, that we care about taking it to a successful place.
"We had people speaking really honest and truthful about the effect it's having on the whole team. It felt like we got further than we have in previous reviews when you’re not just looking at the bad efforts, but delving deep into the why."
Wilkie said there is a belief inside the club the Saints can turn this season around while it is still possible, despite a feeling of doom and gloom hovering above Moorabbin right now.
St Kilda is level on 36 premiership points with eighth-placed Richmond and could feasibly finish this weekend inside the top-eight if they beat West Coast at Optus Stadium on Sunday and the Tigers and Bulldogs both lose.
"There are five games to go, we want to try and win some respect back, not just for ourselves, not just for our fans, to the wider community that we can play finals," Wilkie said.
"We've shown in the front half of the year that we can beat some good teams when the consistency of effort is there. That's dropped off for a number of different reasons.
"The confidence of the group isn't there throughout the whole game. We've had patches where we’re just too easy to play against and it’s just not good enough."
Veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder is facing a race against time to return before St Kilda's campaign ends after scans on Monday revealed the All-Australian has strained his calf.
Wilkie is hopeful the 34-year-old – who doesn't currently have a contract beyond this season – hasn’t played his final game.
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"There is still a chance he gets back (this season). I'll leave that up to the physios and docs. He is an amazing person and amazing player; he attacks his rehab better than anyone I've ever seen and he knows his body.
"He's been in the system a long time. He's in good spirits to attack his rehab and that's what he’ll do. Ever since he’s got to the club I’ve been amazed how well he treats his body. He is a true professional."