St Kilda coach Alan Richardson has slammed the Saints players after a 96-point drubbing by Geelong.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson says the challenge for his players is to earn back respect after putting in their worst performance of the AFL season in a 96-point drubbing by Geelong.
The 20.13 (133) to 5.7 (37) loss was the seventh on the trot by the Saints and sent them tumbling to last spot on the ladder.
After kicking the first goal of the match inside the opening 13 seconds, St Kilda only managed one more until three quarter-time as the Cats did as they pleased, prompting Richardson to deliver some home truths to his players.
“It was a time to give some really blunt feedback with respect to what’s required when you turn up to play and represent the AFL team,” he said.
“You need to bring significant effort, and at times we were well and truly off the mark.
“We’ve certainly had margins not unlike this one, but in terms of our ability to be able to get the ball back just through having a crack and digging in and finding your man and getting on your man, that was certainly the most disappointing (loss of the season).”
Richardson said the Saints now had to battle to regain respect, starting with next Sunday’s clash with West Coast.
“We let our fans down, we let each other down, we let our footy club down in terms of what is expected when you pull on the Saints’ jumper,” he said.
“Your commitment to defend and want to get the ball back, particularly with respect to applying significant effort and physicality needs to be a given and that was not the case.”
Key forward Tom Lee lasted only until midway through the second quarter before being substituted off, while skipper Nick Riewoldt ended the opening half playing as a loose man in defence.
Tom Hawkins, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Josh Walker kicked three goals apiece for the winners, who now boast a 9-3 win-loss record.
The scoring dried up somewhat for the Cats in the second half, although full-forward Hawkins was more potent late in the game, finishing with 13 marks to go with his three-goal haul.
The Cats’ best players included Mathew Stokes, Steven Motlop, Jimmy Bartel and Hawkins.
“Focusing on our game and not worrying about the opposition too much, we thought we implemented some of the things we worked on during the week,” said Geelong coach Chris Scott.
“I thought some of our offence was pretty good.
“I thought Tom Hawkins was really good, he just didn’t convert.”
Only last-quarter goals to Cameron Shenton, Jack Billings and David Armitage spared St Kilda the ignominy of recording what would have been their lowest score against Geelong in more than a century.
Former skipper Lenny Hayes and Seb Ross tried hard for the visitors.