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Richardson: The issue for us was the start

Josh Gabelich  August 13, 2017 5:53 PM

Post-match: Alan Richardson (Rd21) Watch St Kilda's press conference after round 21's match against Melbourne
The issue for us was the start of the game. 32 points (down) at the end of Q1, ended up 24 (at the final siren).

On a day where so much was on the line, St Kilda Coach Alan Richardson said his side was left to rue an error riddled first quarter that led to a loss that all but extinguishes the Saints' season.

The Demons booted four goals in an eight-minute burst early in the opening quarter, capitalising on a plethora of St Kilda turnovers to open up a five-goal lead by the first break, before extending that to 40-point midway through the second quarter.

Richardson said that the game was lost in the first 30 minutes where he described St Kilda's ball use ‘as bad as I’ve seen us use the footy’.

“The issue for us was the start of the game. 32 points (down) at the end of Q1, ended up 24 (at the final siren) – we got within four (points),” Richardson told reporters after the loss at the MCG on Sunday.

“So for our boys’ to fight and get back in, the pressure and the effort and all that stuff was there. But it was as bad as I’ve seen us use the footy.

“We’re disappointed we weren’t able to defend our turnover, but some of those turnovers are challenging to defend. It’s as poorly as we’ve used the ball going forward.

“There were some real fundamental errors, not necessarily a reflection of pressure from the opposition, just really easy stuff that we butchered.”

With a spot in the top eight slipping through St Kilda’s hands, the Saints must now win their final two games of 2017 and rely on other results to fall in their favour. Mathematically, the Saints are still alive. But realistically, the Saints’ finals chances are over for another year.

Richardson said not only the players, but the entire club is disappointed by the missed opportunity to take a step closer to returning to September for the first time since 2011.

“It was a big game for the club, it was a big game for the group; they’d given themselves every opportunity to really keep our season alive. We weren’t able to execute,” he said.

“As a coach, you get really disappointed with any game where you don’t execute what it is you want to do at the start of a game. I’m disappointed, the players are incredibly disappointed.

“To their credit, they were able to get themselves back in the game; some individuals really lifted, but as a team we lifted and if you can park the first quarter, which is impossible to do really, it was an even game. We are a disappointed footy club there’s no doubt about that.”