St Kilda used their trip to Albury on the weekend as an opportunity to practice their away game routine as the Saints look to eradicate poor interstate form, according to Maverick Weller.
Despite producing their best season since 2011 last year, the Saints struggled against some of the best teams in the competition and on the road, where heavy losses against West Coast, Adelaide and Gold Coast tarnished an otherwise impressive season.
Weller, who came from the ground with a corked leg in Sunday night's loss to Sydney is set to be fit for Round 1, revealed the club adopted a less structured pre-game routine to allow individuals to do what they would normally do before a game in Melbourne.
“We had a real focus on it. We tried some new things and I think overall it worked really well,” Weller told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“We just simplified everything and just allowed the boys to do what they do at home.
“If you do get up early and do your routine that’s what you do, there’s no pressure on or structure on game day; I think overall it worked really well.
“Personally it felt really good. It’s a weird scenario: away and also a night game. It’s a long day in your rooms. I think wherever it is you’ve got to keep things in a routine, the club's been really good in allowing us to do that.”
With the pre-season and JLT Community Series now complete, the Tasmanian is confident the Saints have laid the right foundations to launch from in Round 1 when they open their campaign against Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
“We do have momentum; we’re really happy with the way we’re playing and we’ve got a healthy list, so we give ourselves every opportunity to show up in Round 1 and play,” Weller said.
“On the whole, the JLT series for us has been really promising; we’ve started to build a consistent brand of footy.”
The inclusion of key defenders Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown, coupled with the injection of Jack Steele and Koby Stevens in the engine room, has significantly raised the level of depth and talent at Linen House Centre.
Weller believes the Saints bat as deep as they have since he arrived at the club at the end of 2013, months before Alan Richardson joined the club.
“I think it’s the first time in three years where we’ve really got 35-40 players to pick from,” he said.
“It’s exciting, there’s a real buzz around the club, I’m really looking forward to the season.”