Jack Sinclair remains positive St Kilda can turn itself around after a 2-5 start to the season, with the potential influx of experienced players for Saturday’s match against North Melbourne a timely boost to get back on the winners list.

Key forward Max King, wingman and ex-Roo Mason Wood and prospective club debutant Paddy Dow shape as possible inclusions for Round 8, with the latter coming off a successful 22-disposal VFL outing after several months sidelined with bone bruising.

Ben Paton (pectoral) and Matthew Allison (knee) also returned via Sandringham over the weekend, with Liam Henry and Brad Crouch closing in on their respective comebacks.


“It’s exciting with a few guys nearing their returns after some stints on the sidelines. Hopefully over the next few weeks we can get a few of those guys back who can easily slot into our best 22,” Sinclair said at this morning’s press conference.

“Obviously there’s Thursday('s training) to get through, but it’ll be a big boost if we can get some guys back like Mason, Max and a few others knocking the door down.

St Kilda is midway through an eight-day break as it readies to take on the currently winless North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, affording additional time for Rowan Marshall and Jack Steele - who took part in a lighter session this morning - to properly refresh heading into the weekend’s action.

But the nose is firmly to the grindstone in Sinclair’s mind as a focus on upped pressure and defensive effort permeates the week’s preparation.

“We’re not defending particularly well - when the ball’s live our pressure is poor and when oppositions are getting some time to pick us apart with their kicks," Sinclair said.

“We’re working hard, there’s no doubt. Our GPS numbers are through the roof but I think we can be a lot smarter and work together a lot better, so that’s been a big focus of the past couple of days.

“We’re really positive we can turn it around. As I said, we feel like we know what we need to fix: some pretty obvious stuff with our contest just being second to the ball, our pressure has been really poor and defensively not bringing the system to life like we did last year.

You only have to look to last year to see the Giants and Carlton just get a bit of form, a bit of confidence and belief and you never know what can happen.

- Jack Sinclair

While small forward Jack Higgins will face the Tribunal tonight as he and the club appeal his three-game sanction, the Saints have been buoyed by the re-signing of youngster Mattaes Phillipou, who has committed to the club until at least the end of 2026.

The 19-year-old has played every game since joining the club with pick No. 10 at the 2022 National Draft, headlining a young core to help drive the Saints into their next era.

“It’s always exciting when a young guy who’s shown so much in such a short amount of time signs on and has recommitted to the club,” Sinclair said.

“He’s someone who works really hard. Obviously got a little bit to work on, but he’s always in there trying to get better physically and with the coaches upstairs working on all parts of his game.

“We see the big marks and he kicks the goals but he’s still trying to work on his defence and things like that which is what we really value, but it’s awesome to have him recommit.”