Ross Lyon has credited his side’s conscious choice to dig in against Richmond and come away from Gather Round with the four points, however has implored his side to understand and learn from the consequences of complacency.

After registering just one goal in an ineffectual first half, the Saints rolled up the sleeves around stoppages to first edge into the contest, then in front on the scoreboard to come away from Gather Round seven-point winners in a heart-stopping finish.


“Our application to task wasn’t at the level. We said to the players to enjoy it (the win), but try and understand where the choices were in the first half to the second. I think it’s as simple as that,” Lyon said post-game.

“To Richmond’s credit, they fought right to the last second. Which I warned (about)…. I said I’ve watched them, they’re playing with spirit, their leaders and their top-flight players are playing good footy. Don’t fall for the narrative.

“They could have beaten Carlton easily, beat the Swans and fought in their other stuff. I knew, but sometimes maybe players fall into the narrative that they read.

“They’ve got a core of pretty good stuff that if you don’t respect and you don’t match for intensity will get you. Fortunately we found a way out.”

Lyon credited his side’s senior players - namely skipper Jack Steele, Callum Wilkie, Rowan Marshall and Bradley Hill - for elevating after the Saints’ scratchy first half and making the conscious choice to dig in, as well as his assistant coaches in Robert Harvey, Brendon Goddard and Corey Enright for getting the team back on the rails.

Although delivering a strong quarter-time address after his side conceded four goals without reply, Lyon was dismissive in claiming sole credit for the following turnaround.

"What happened is we actually landed a UFO in and walked out 22 aliens and put them in St Kilda jumpers and went out and played. We flipped the team," Lyon said with a grin.

"No, I was sharp at quarter-time, it's about the coaching panel. Players are going to do their thing, coaches come together – what are the three things, and you're banking on all the experience I've got, we're getting the right stuff, what are the KPIs and solution-focused, is it the right ones, and if it is, can they apply.

"Fortunately, it got glued together ok and we got a result, it doesn't always work like that.

I didn’t do anything to be honest. The players were responsible for the first half and they were responsible for the second half. They’re the facts, right? It’s all about choice, and they made the deliberate choice.

- Ross Lyon

“My assistants were outstanding at half-time. We felt we didn’t problem-solve as much as we wanted to as coaches against Essendon. We just changed things up, and not that it was complicated early, but we made it even simpler. Just get into a contest, lift our pressure, hit the last line a bit more and then that resulted in 21-odd entries... +17 contested ball and our pressure rating went from 1.7 to 2.16. In the last quarter when they were coming at us, we maintained our pressure.”

Despite being without key players Tom Lynch and Noah Balta through injury and Liam Baker through suspension, the Tigers breathed fire heading into attack.

Shai Bolton was supreme forward of centre bagging four classy goals to accelerate Richmond away to an early lead, before his impact was lessened in the second half after Liam Stocker was tasked with reining him in.

But Lyon says the way Richmond dynamically attacked the contest was far from a surprise.

“You really want to acknowledge Richmond. What we planned for, we knew they’d do with Bolton up and release him. He was just electric, wasn’t he?” Lyon said.

“He’s a pretty special and we knew that going in, but we fixed that. I thought Stocker did a very good job on him. Dusty, I’ve said he’s the best player int he last 10 years or whatever, you reckon we might pay him some attention, so we just closed him out a bit. And then their backs were great, which we knew. Brad Hill went forward and occupied Rioli, and our leaders Steele and Wilkie (stood up).

“What we knew with Richmond is their strengths are their strengths, without sounding stupid, but we allowed them to execute that.”

Lyon praised the late efforts of four-gamer Darcy Wilson from Sunday’s game, who had two big moments late to stave off Richmond’s late press.

A ground-ball knock off the deck and into space came up clutch with minutes to play, before a strong rundown tackle with a minute to play on Tyler Sonsie all but consolidated the result St Kilda’s way.

Darcy Wilson stood up with two big moments in defence late in the contest against Richmond. Photo: AFL Photos.

“He’s not a unicorn, right? But we’ve been very positive from the moment we’ve seen him train and play,” Lyon said.

“He got hit hard last week… cleaned him up… he got up. He’s really standing up to the rigours of AFL and we think we’re pretty lucky to have him.”