A frank Ross Lyon has conceded his side was “lucky to be close” to Geelong after an off-script first half, however admitted he was proud of the Saints’ refusal to throw in the towel and give themselves an outside chance to pinch the four points.

The Saints trailed by as much as 22 points during the final term, however three quick goals in four minutes to Cooper Sharman, Max King and first-gamer Darcy Wilson put the visitors to within a point with less than two minutes on the clock.


A last-gasp steadier from Cats skipper Patrick Dangerfield snuffed out the comeback with 40 seconds remaining, which would have marked St Kilda’s first win at the venue since 1999.

But Lyon, although pleased in his troops’ late rally, ultimately chalked up the night as one of frustration.

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“I thought they were the better team of the night, but I really admired how we never gave up and ultimately gave ourselves a chance to win, really,” Lyon said post-game.

“We were disappointed with our method around the ball… we were just a bit cute. We felt every time we just surged it and got it from the inside to the outside quicker we looked dangerous, which I think ultimately the scoreboard told a little bit.

"I'll tell you what I do know; the phone in the coaches' box is very sturdy because it got a work-out. I haven't banged the phone like that in years. It was very therapeutic.

"But I was frustrated because this group's been very predictable in delivering what we want to and for whatever reason we were quite inconsistent with our method in the different phases of the game."

“Overall we walk away frustrated with our performance… I thought there was opportunity for us that we didn’t quite nail.”

Wilson was among the Saints who impressed on Saturday night, putting through two goals at crucial intervals to keep his side in the hunt.

“It’s the start of the journey for him, he’s got plenty to improve,” Lyon said.

“I thought he did some nice things and he’ll grow in stature physically and within the game with how he plays and runs.

“I’m sure he’ll enjoy the wide open expanses of the MCG… I think he’ll enjoy the extra width.”

Vice-captain Callum Wilkie echoed his senior coach’s thoughts post-game, and despite a second-half turnaround it was far from the Saints’ “best shot” to topple their seasoned opponents.

“It’s a bit of both. I’m proud of the boys for fighting to the end, but it was was a frustrating game,” Wilkie said post-game.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play, definitely in that first half. The points and preview that we went into the game with, we didn’t execute and they were probably harder than us.


“They were beating us around the contest and outnumbering us, and that’s not the way we play and that’s what was disappointing and frustrating.

“We turned that about a bit in the second half but not to the degree we wanted to. We know we didn’t give it our best shot in terms of contest, effort and execution of gameplan and the way we wanted to beat them.”

St Kilda will have just five days to assess and recover before heading into Thursday night’s prime-time Spud’s Game against the reigning premiers, Collingwood, at the MCG.

“Any Saints fan who can come down, it’s going to be a huge night for the football club,” Wilkie said.

“Spud’s Game means a lot to the players and it means a lot to the football club so we can’t wait for it… only five days means you don’t have to wait too long to rectify when you have a loss.”