ST KILDA was "embarrassed" by its lack of hardness in a catastrophic third quarter against Brisbane in which it boasted "a lot of passengers", dejected Saints coach Alan Richardson says.
Seething after the Saints 56-point loss to the Lions in a critical clash at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, Richardson forecast that he would challenge "a lot" of his players when they dissect what went wrong during their review of the game.
The Saints are now 6-7 and in danger of losing touch with the top eight, given they face Richmond at the same venue next Sunday.
Richardson's key focus will be his team's horrendous third quarter in which they were outscored 9.3 to just 1.1 and were also trounced in several other key statistical categories: they lost the possession count by 44 (106-62), contested possessions by 26 (49-23), uncontested possessions by 27 (61-34), inside 50s by nine (18-9), clearances by six (14-8), marks by 14 (30-16) and contested marks by five (6-1).
It enabled Brisbane to turn a one-point lead midway through the third term into a 76-point lead early in the final term.
"(We were) smashed in the contest in the third quarter, whether it be in the air, whether it be on the deck, whether it be at clearance, in front of the ball, behind the ball. You try and support contest and lost shape," Richardson said.
"That's about us but they were outstanding. Their leaders really stepped up – (Dayne) Zorko, (Lachie) Neale in that third quarter in particular. They didn't have massive games but they had a massive quarter.
"We were embarrassed, really, in terms of our physicality in that quarter in particular. They outworked us, they were cleaner and tougher. It's pretty simple, really. They went to another level and we just didn't go with them.
"And we became really reactive. Our defenders then didn't help each other and didn't support each other, and (the Lions) were able to get good isolation.
"If we looked at our GPS (figures) I reckon it'll be the same but they just got going and were able to play on real instinct and our instinct became, 'Gee, I hope I don't get scored against,' or, 'I hope I don't get beaten to the ball.' We reacted and got really shown up.
"We got really strong feedback that if we're not physical enough, and not aggressive enough, and not bold enough, or (not) prepared to sacrifice enough, then we can be a pretty ordinary footy team.
"It'll be a review that'll challenge a lot of blokes, I reckon, in terms of the way that we got beaten."
Richardson could only think of three Saints who deserved a pass mark for their performances – midfielder Blake Acres for his physicality, second-gamer Nick Hind who kicked three great goals, and ex-Swans midfield star Dan Hannebery who, in his long-awaited first game for the club, gathered 27 possessions, 11 of them contested.
"There wouldn't be many more, I reckon … We had a lot of passengers today. We had a lot of passengers through that dominant period they had," the Saints coach said.
Richardson is looking forward to seeing what impact Hannebery will have on the team as he improves his match fitness.
"He wore the heat (and) was pretty composed when it was his turn … I'm pleased for Dan. He's had a frustrating time of it. As he continues to build his footy he's going to be exactly what we need," he said.