St Kilda’s finals chances may have been quashed on Saturday night at the hands of Sydney, but Coach Alan Richardson believes his side has grown during this period where the Saints have fought for a shot at September.

With only two games remaining in the home and away season, St Kilda sits in tenth position, still two games adrift of eighth placed North Melbourne but with a far inferior percentage.

Melbourne has leapfrogged the Saints into ninth position and loom as a potential finals contender now, although they must win both games and hope the Kangaroos lose their final two.

Despite being bitterly disappointed with the second-half fadeout against the Swans, Richardson expressed his pride at the way his side has dealt with the noise and pressure in the last month.

“There’s no doubt that our guys in this last period when there has been a really slight chance, and that’s clear it’s all it has been, have really been strong and wanted to stay alive as often as possible,” Richardson said after the Saints’ 70-point loss on Saturday night.

“So from that point of view we’ve been pretty proud about the way they’ve embraced it and challenged themselves to be as strong as they can irrespective of the opposition.”

St Kilda may now be out of the finals race, but Richardson views the last two games of 2016 as important growth opportunities for both individuals and for the team.

“There’s still 10 per cent of the season to go from our perspective. We need to continue to learn and grow and improve both collectively and individually,” he said.

“It may be that given a few of the guys have been knocked around tonight that others will get opportunity that perhaps haven’t been in the team for a while so that will be good for them. They’ll get the opportunity to potentially finish off strongly in the AFL team.

“Whilst I mention there’s only four hours of game time, we’ve still get a fair bit of footy in terms of learning and educating and growing from our players and our program.”

St Kilda faces Richmond at the MCG next Saturday afternoon, before rounding at the season against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium in Round 23.