An adamant Ross Lyon believes St Kilda’s 60-point loss to a determined and dominant Western Bulldogs on Thursday evening was an “aberration” and not a performance characteristic of the Saints’ march under his watch.

St Kilda’s homecoming to Marvel Stadium was soured by the a barnstorming Bulldogs brigade, who piled on 12 of the game’s 16 first half majors to run out victors in comprehensive fashion and even up their ledger after a well-documented week in the headlines.

“I’d like to think that’s not us. If I look at the group for… 30 games, we haven’t had one performance like that to be honest,” Lyon said post-game.


“Our worst might have been against Adelaide or Gold Coast (last year) and both of them we still sort of fought on. They really put us to the sword on the outside, their centre square bounce work was very good and (Tim) English was very good.

“I don’t want to make excuses because I want to give credit to the Bulldogs. Certainly with my group there was no angst after the game, but we’ve got to prove it was an aberration and a lot of mitigating circumstances that really challenged us.”

Tonight’s game was the club’s third match in 11 days, two of which against Adelaide and GWS were played interstate at Norwood Oval and Manuka Oval respectively.

The Saints have also had two four-day turnarounds within the first six weeks of the season leading into their matches against Collingwood and the Bulldogs, and although Lyon conceded it may be a contributing factor to his young side’s 2-4 start, it wasn’t an excuse for Thursday’s showing at Marvel Stadium.

“I don’t want to use excuses but certainly coming here I was cautious. I flagged even in a pre-game interview it’s our second four-day prep… our cumulative load for us and our experience and our youth, the physiological demand is extreme and that was the worry,” Lyon said.

“We need to regenerate and get going, because we’re not playing the way we want to. All year we’ve just been a little inconsistent, but we’ve played quality (sides) to be fair. We’ll take some heat, but we’ve just got to improve our capability in our footy and re-establish what we stand for.”

The Saints exit Marvel Stadium after Thursday's loss to the Western Bulldogs. Photo: AFL Photos.

While admittedly a night which gleaned few positives off the bat, Lyon was content with his side’s refusal to throw in the towel, especially with the margin threatening to tip into triple figures during the third term.

Tim Membrey bagged three majors in the final term to help push the Saints to the end, while Bradley Hill, Darcy Wilson and Ryan Byrnes ran the game out as strongly as they had from the opening bounce.

St Kilda faces Port Adelaide away next Friday night - its third interstate trip of the year - as Lyon expects a firm response in the lead-up to his side's Adelaide expedition.

“We’ll lick our wounds tonight. I really feel for our fans and our members. All they see is the performance and ultimately that’s all we’re judged on,” Lyon said.

I’m confident the playing group and the coaching group will respond, because that’s our job. We owe our Saints fans that. I think they’ve walked away for 30 weeks thinking we’ve never given up. Even tonight did we turn our toes up? I’m not sure we did.

- Ross Lyon

“All I know is this group, for myself and the coaches and each other, have given a lot and play with good character. If anyone can say that’s typical of us (to go down in tonight’s manner), I’d defy them strongly and really fight to the last breath to say that’s not true.”