St Kilda Coach Alan Richardson admits he is frustrated by his side's inaccuracy in front of goal, but says the amount of scoring shots and inside 50s are a positive from the first month of 2017.
Wayward kicking in front of goal cost the Saints a win in Western Australia and have slighlty taken the gloss off wins over Brisbane and Collingwood in the last fortnight, despite St Kilda evening the ledger at 2-2.
St Kilda is ranked No. 1 in the AFL for scores per inside 50 (55.4 per cent) after four games, but quickly fall to No. 14 for goals per inside 50 (23.0 per cent), firmly emphasising the Saints’ room for improvement. St Kilda is also ranked No. 5 for inside 50s differential (+4.0).
“We had 66 entries on the weekend and only ended up with 24 shots and of those shots we weren’t able to be overly efficient in terms of maximising scoring six-points each time we shot,” Richardson told reporters on Friday.
“So that’s frustrating, but in many ways it’s positive that we were able to get the shots, able to get the entries.
“66 entries when you lose clearance by 18 means your footy is going okay. We want to make sure that we can maximise a bit more going forward.
“There’s a bit of connect between our kickers and our catchers; some of that is ball use, some of that is field position. I think at times we got some pretty good looks in front of the ball but weren’t able to maximise.”
Richardson believes his players can take confidence from their most recent encounter with the Geelong, which took place at Sunday’s venue, Etihad Stadium.
When the sides last met in Round 14, 2016, St Kilda produced a dominant opening half before the Cats reeled in a four-goal half-time lead. Richardson’s men then responded in the final term, snatching a three-point win in a thrilling encounter.
“I think it certainly gives the players a bit of confidence given that we were able to get over the line the last time we played them, they’d been playing some really strong footy (when we played them),” he said.
“It was a period where we really started to get going as a team and had a pretty strong finish to the year, that game probably started it.”
Despite St Kilda winning their last two games after a winless first fortnight, Richardson said their best performance thus far came in Perth in Round 2. Now, the Saints are determined to put together their most complete effort yet on Sunday.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge; we think our footy has been reasonable without being great; we’ve been able to get a lot of opportunity in front of the ball without being able to capitalise,” he said.
“Probably our best performance so far was our loss over in Perth against the Eagles; we weren’t able to finish off our work there but the last two weeks have been building. We think we’re heading the right way.”