St Kilda will explore all avenues to build out its midfield class after a year of significant growth under coach Ross Lyon that ended at the hands of Greater Western Sydney's star onballers on Saturday.

The Saints had no answer for the Giants' depth of midfield contributors, led by big-bodied onballer Tom Green, with a disappointed Lyon identifying scores from stoppages as a trend all year that bit his team on the finals stage.

While the Saints are committed to a long-term list build, the coach said all avenues would be explored to add midfield support for Jack Steele after the captain fought a "lone hand" for periods of Saturday's elimination final.


"Our weakness came to the fore, which we know and understand what we need to try and build out in there," Lyon said after his team twice rallied from seven-goal deficits to fall 24 points short at the MCG.  

"It was never going to be a one-year build. We've got to build it out over a period of time.

"I think we've grown a lot. I'm proud of our growth. I'm proud of our mindset and our fight.

"We've just got to keep building our player list, style of play. There's a lot to like. We're trying to bridge the gap and we know that."

Elimination Final v GWS

Asked how the Saints could address the need for more star power in their midfield, Lyon said: "I can't head to Woolworths on Glen Huntly Road and buy one, I know that. None of them are the half price special. The mechanism is trade, draft, free agency. We'll explore all those things."

While Steele stood up with a game-high 38 disposals (18 contested) and eight clearances, it was otherwise left to ruckman Rowan Marshall at ground level, with the big man winning a game-high nine clearances.

Lyon also praised the efforts of young midfielder Marcus Windhager, who played an accountable role on Josh Kelly after half-time, but the Saints were ultimately overwhelmed by their opponent's depth of runners.

"I thought we've got more in us than that. But you can only play as well as the opposition let you," the coach said.

"They put the challenge out there … we didn't respond and play with the energy and intensity that we expected and delivered for a lot of the year.

"We're going to have to keep improving.  But I think we should get some natural growth out of our dedicated first- and second-year players like (Matteas) Phillipou, (Anthony) Caminiti, (Mitchito) Owens, Windhager, (Nasiah) Wanganeen-Milera.

"I thought Cooper Sharman was a shining light. We've just got to build around them for the long-term and also try and get some near-term assistance."


As well as being beaten in the midfield, efficiency in attack was another trend this season that hurt the Saints on Saturday, losing the marks inside 50 (9-15) and failing to capitalise on their best attacking opportunities.   

"Is that youth? System? Just the ability to connect and continuity … even when we were coming, we were getting some A-grade looks that become B or C-grade opportunities," the coach said.

"We would have liked to have performed better, but it's a great audit, finals."