Jack Steele in action during the match between Richmond and St Kilda at the MCG in round 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA coach Ross Lyon concedes captain Jack Steele is struggling but is adamant a knee injury isn't behind his drop in form.

Normally a big ball-winner, Steele was limited to 21 disposals, four clearances and just 28m gained in Saturday's 20-point loss to Richmond, when the Tigers' midfield got on top at the MCG.

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The 27-year-old has averaged just 22.9 disposals this year compared to 27.1 last season, with his season interrupted by a broken collarbone, then a medial ligament.

Steele had his left knee strapped and didn't appear to be moving well on Saturday night but Lyon dismissed reports from earlier in the week he had been playing through knee soreness.


"I picked up on that in the media," Lyon told reporters.

"There's certainly no knee issue, that's for sure. I think he's had some general soreness.

"I actually asked (football manager) Dave Misson - I'm not sure where the knee issue came from, where that got reported from, because it's actually inaccurate.

"I think because he's had it strapped off his medial, maybe it's been inferred. But he's ok. 

"He's had a tough year with general soreness and had a bit of an achilles, so that's been an ongoing management issue. 

"But he's certainly declaring himself."


The Saints (8-5) sit fifth and are four points outside the top four after their loss.

"I would've thought our year's been solid," Lyon said.

"We didn't disgrace ourself tonight.

"We've had two poor performances against Adelaide and Hawthorn, even Hawthorn we were in a winning position.

"So it's been a short journey together. Once we learn from tonight, bitterly disappointed for our fans and our players and ourselves.

"The strongest interest is self interest, no-one wants to win more than me. But if you talk about effort, I can't question it. Execution - that's a different issue."


Lyon said the Saints would lean into a short turnaround against Brisbane on Friday.

"Our spirit and our efforts stand us in good stead," Lyon said.

"We've basically done our review, I don't need to show them any footage. 

"We get ready for the Brisbane Lions, off a short break Friday night which is where you want to be - at Marvel."