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Richo eyes improvement

RD 9 | Richardson post-match Watch St Kilda press conference after round nine's match against Collingwood
There are periods in the game where we just go away from what's working for us and we've got to get better at that.
Alan Richardson

While wasted opportunities in front goal was once again of great concern for Senior Coach Alan Richardson, the loss of concentration in the fourth quarter fade out will be a greater focus at Moorabbin this week.

The Saints trailed by five points at the final break, only to concede 12 scoring shots – six of them goals – to one in the last quarter and lose by 41 points.

It was a dramatic swing from the second term, when St Kilda racked up 15 inside 50s in a row at one stage and had the ball in its forward half a competition season-high 75 per cent of the time.

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The difference was Richardson's men settled for long-range shots and missed gettable others – the teams each kicked three majors for the quarter – to somehow be five points in arrears at half-time.

"We're disappointed with ourselves. We thought we'd given ourselves a real chance," Richardson told reporters post-match.

"We played strong footy for three quarters and we had some really dominant periods but we weren't able to make the most of that on the scoreboard, which has been a bit of a story for us.

"I don't know the exact score, but it was something like 9.11 to 11.4 at three-quarter time, so they'd done a good job in terms of maximising their opportunities.

"Having said all that, at three-quarter time the game was up for grabs and the stuff that had given us the position to have the opportunity to win the game, we fell away."

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Richardson bemoaned a similar lapse late in the third quarter of last week's defeat to West Coast, highlighting a worrying pattern that has contributed to the Saints' four defeats on the trot.

"We need to make sure our guys understand there's a fair bit going right but you've got to keep going," he said.

"There are periods in the game where we just go away from what's working for us and we've got to get better at that.

"I think what we'll do there – in fact, I know what we'll do – is make sure there's real clarity for the players and it gives them the opportunity to get to work on the track and there is no other way, really."

St Kilda is behind in the win-loss ledger for the first time this season at 4-5, ahead of a winnable clash with bottom side Carlton on Sunday week.

There were positives individually, with Luke Dunstan, who spent time in the VFL earlier in the season, backing up his 26 disposals last week with 30 and nine clearances on Saturday.

Jack Billings (29 possessions) was also a strong performer, particularly in the second term, and first-gamer Robbie Young added some spunk with a pair of goals and four tackles.

 

Richardson said ruckman Rowan Marshall's performance served as an example to his teammates.

"Not unlike our team, (Marshall) did a really good job for three quarters," the coach said.

"(Brodie) Grundy was incredibly influential in the last quarter and it ended up getting away from us, but the way he set up the start of that and probably continued for all of the quarter.

"Rowan did a good job for a bit, but it's not good enough to just do a good job for a bit and he'll learn from that."