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'Our guys are really looking forward to it'

Josh Gabelich  August 12, 2017 4:44 PM

AFL 2017 Round 20 - St Kilda v West Coast

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Saints head coach Alan Richardson speaks to his players during the 2017 AFL round 20 match between the St Kilda Saints and the West Coast Eagles at Etihad Stadium on August 06, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media)2

They are the games you want to play well in as an individual and as a team. It’s really important.

St Kilda hasn’t played a final since 2011, but on Sunday they will get the opportunity to take one step closer to a return in a game that is as close to a final as they’ve played since their last appearance in September.

The Saints face Melbourne, who sit one spot ahead on level points but with a superior percentage, in their first game at the MCG since the penultimate round of last season in a season defining game. Win and stay alive; lose and almost face elimination.

St Kilda Coach Alan Richardson said Sunday’s must win game is the type of game players want to star in to help drag their team to victory and one step closer to September.

“We’re two teams in really similar positions fighting to keep our seasons alive. Our guys are really looking forward to it,” Richardson told reporters at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday.

“(Playing at) the MCG, (in front of what) you can imagine there is going to be a pretty crowd; they are the games you want to play well in as an individual and as a team. It’s really important.”

While a win on Sunday will make finals qualification more attainable, a loss won’t shut the door completely. Although, Richardson explains that a loss will take things out of St Kilda’s control.

“What tomorrow is, certainly for us given our percentage, tomorrow keeps it in our control. If you win 13 games, you’re very unlikely to miss,” Richardson said.

“Whereas if you lose tomorrow, it’s very much up to what other teams do. It doesn’t mean that you miss, but it means that we need a bit of luck with respect to what other teams do.

“With three weeks to go, it’s good to have our own destiny in our control.”