Rowan Marshall looks dejected after St Kilda's round 18 loss to Gold Coast at Heritage Bank Stadium on July 15, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

ST KILDA coach Ross Lyon has torn shreds off his team following its loss to Gold Coast on Saturday, saying they don't deserve to play finals in their current form.

The 26-point defeat to the Suns was the Saints' fourth loss in their past five matches, leaving them precariously placed in the top eight.

SUNS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats

Despite having a favourable run over the final six weeks, including matches against North Melbourne and Hawthorn in the next fortnight, Lyon was brutal in his assessment of his team.

He described the performance against Gold Coast as a "fumbling, stumbling mess", said their offence was totally lost and bemoaned the lack of depth beneath the club's top-line players.

Lyon said there was no point dreaming about September the way the Saints were playing.

"I hear that narrative and to be honest, how we've been playing, particularly today, we don't deserve to (play finals) and we won't earn the right," he said.

"If we play like today, we won't challenge North Melbourne next week.

"Earlier in the year we earned it. At the minute we're not even thinking about it because how we played today you're not going to beat many teams to be honest.

"I just feel when our top flights aren't really going, there's not enough quality to step up and take the load off them, as harsh as that might be."


Lyon did credit the development of young players Marcus Windhager and Mitch Owens, while also saying the workload on Anthony Caminiti and Matteas Phillipou – who was subbed out against the Suns – had caught up with them.

He said there was no quick fix to some of the problems, saying the lack of skill was evident and would need to improve, along with the club's coaching program.

St Kilda was beaten around the contest at Heritage Bank Stadium, and kicked just two goals in the first half, finishing with eight from 49 inside 50s.

"Our offence has slipped from seventh, to ninth, to 12th, to 15th and the most inefficient team inside 50," Lyon said.

"We can't hide away from that. It's like we're hitting our head against a brick wall.

"Somehow our offence has become totally lost and confused and become unpredictable.

"Is it (being) off? Lack of skill? Lack of ball handling? Lack of technique, handballing at the feet?

"I've seen it for a long period of time now the same guys making the same errors, so we've just got to improve our craft.

"As a coaching group we've got to improve our coaching program, but a lot of it we won't be able to put an enormous amount of work into until pre-season.

"I'm bitterly disappointed for our fans and members.

"The players are flat as tacks."


It was a different scene in the Gold Coast rooms, with interim coach Steven King delighted to cap the toughest of weeks with a stirring win.

He said the victory showed resilience and mental resolve after coach Stuart Dew was sacked earlier in the week.

The Suns are still an outside chance of playing finals, and King said they had not given up.

"There's seven weeks, who knows what can happen," he said.


"Today was important to start that journey together. I think anything is possible, I certainly believe that with this playing group. 

"There’s an enormous amount of talent here and I was just rapt to see them enjoy the game today and play for one another.

"If they get some belief out of that, that’s great, but hopefully they feel that connection to one another.

"Sometimes, memories in this game aren’t always positive, there’s some stuff that punches you in the face sometimes, but that can make the group tighter as well.