At a glance:
- Brett Ratten and the Saints were left to rue a 'bits and pieces' match that saw them cough up a guaranteed finals berth.
- The Saints were outmuscled by West Coast in the second quarter before falling short in the last.
- St Kilda will face Greater Western Sydney next Friday at the Gabba.
St Kilda won't have any room for another "bits and pieces" performance heading into next week's clash with Greater Western Sydney, according to Brett Ratten.
The Saints stumbled in their hunt for a guaranteed finals berth, with a costly second term against West Coast on Thursday night laying the groundwork for a 15-point defeat, despite edging in front during a rousing patch to begin the last.
“The mood of the rooms was sombre, as it should be,” Ratten said post-match.
“That second quarter where we got beaten around the ball, whether it was in the air or on the ground, they flipped the first quarter into the second quarter their way and that really changed the momentum of the game and gave them a huge advantage.
“We just got beaten in the contest, and that’s where the game flipped on its head.”
After shooting away to a 10-point lead at the first change, the Saints were completely outmuscled in the second as the Eagles dominated the air (16-3, contested marks 9-1), forward movement (inside-50s 14-5) and contested ball (39-29) to slot an unanswered 3.5.
“That’s a space we’ve been pretty solid in, but it’s another thing that’s happened in our year where we’ve been inconsistent through games and it’s hurt us,” Ratten said.
“We can rebound from that loss, but we just can’t be inconsistent for long periods of the game. Momentum might shift, but it doesn’t have to last a whole quarter and that’s what we did in the second quarter.”
The Eagles were also a man down after losing Premiership defender Jeremy McGovern (hamstring) on the stroke of half-time, who was temporarily sidelined earlier in the game after being sandwiched in a marking contest.
“It was just virtually ‘here you go, here’s come confidence, West Coast’ and we gave it to them,” Ratten said.
“To their credit, they were doing a lot of things right and we didn’t match it, so hats off to them, they did a good job, but we let ourselves down in that space.”
St Kilda’s place in the top-eight now hangs in the balance as it looks to break a nine-year finals drought with one game remaining against Greater Western Sydney.
A win next Friday night at the Gabba will consolidate their place. A loss will have the Saints’ fate up in the air as GWS, Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Carlton eye off a spot in October.
“We spoke about that after the game. We just need to do what we have to do to get up and put a performance in that’s one that we like, not one that we play in bits and pieces.
“Today we played in bits and pieces against a team that were undermanned and lost players in the game. It was disappointing.
“We’ll be back here on Friday week and we’ll find out where our fate is. Our destiny’s in our own hands.”