At a glance:
- Vice-captain Seb Ross says St Kilda's upcoming games are "mini finals" for the club as it looks to break its longstanding finals drought.
- St Kilda has two games remaining against West Coast and Greater Western Sydney as the race for the top-eight reaches boiling point.
- Ross was also optimistic in Tim Membrey and Max King returning for Thursday night's match.
St Kilda’s path to breaking its decade-long finals drought rests firmly in the players’ hands, according to vice-captain Seb Ross.
The Saints currently sit in sixth position on the ladder following Sunday’s 14-point success against Hawthorn, leaving season-shaping matches to come against contenders West Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
“For the rest of the season they’re basically like mini finals for us,” Ross told SEN.
“We’re not relying on other results or teams to lose or win games to see if we can scrape in. We’ve got the luxury of being able to concentrate on ourselves and winning games of footy.”
Thursday night’s prime-time clash against the Eagles is the latest mission as Brett Ratten’s men look to consolidate their standing in the top-eight.
With GWS (three games remaining) and the Western Bulldogs (two) locked up on 32 points and Collingwood (two) a whisker ahead on 34, the impact of a red, white and black triumph over the next fortnight can’t be overstated.
Victory in either of the Saints’ last two games will all but bank a spot in the 2020 finals series. Two losses could see them sneak into eighth spot, albeit with a few results swinging in their favour.
But Ross is determined not to let other teams vying for a spot in October distract the club’s mindset as it closes in on its all-important fixtures.
“In my career to date, I’ve sort of had to hope teams lose and hope teams win to sneak into finals,” Ross said.
“But this year it’s in our control and that’s what we’re able to focus on.”
Ross also had high hopes for a forward line boost ahead of Thursday night’s clash against West Coast, with Tim Membrey and Max King in line for a return under lights.
Membrey was ruled out of last weekend’s match against Hawthorn after undergoing finger surgery, while King was rested after playing every previous game in his debut season.
“Timmy had a run around (yesterday) morning to test the finger out, so I think he’ll be keen to play this week, but I’d imagine the coaches won’t let him if it’s going to be at any risk for the remainder of the season,” Ross said.
“Max, being a first-year player and carrying a big workload as a full forward this year, he was due for a rest on the weekend.
“Hopefully he’s all rested up and he can come into the side and provide a big marking target like he has all year.”