AAP AFL

Saints lose fourth-straight in AFL slump

By AAP Newswire

After a month of coming up short against the AFL's best, St Kilda must now put their season back on track.

The Saints again paid dearly for their problems in attack on Saturday as Collingwood belted them in the last quarter for a 41-point win at the MCG.

It was St Kilda's fourth-straight loss and left them with a 4-5 record.

Those successive defeats have come against sides who will shape the pointy end of the season - Adelaide, GWS, West Coast and the Magpies.

Carlton are next, followed by the Shanghai game against injury-plagued Port Adelaide, then the bye and winnable games against the Queensland teams.

If St Kilda can repeat what they showed for much of the first three quarters on Saturday, they will win those four matches.

If the last quarter against Collingwood comes to define them, their season will be in free-fall.

The Saints have well-documented personnel problems, with Jack Steven, Dylan Roberton, Paddy McCartin, Jake Carlisle, Jarryn Geary and Dan Hannebery all sidelined.

But coach Alan Richardson said St Kilda have shown they can match it with the best - just not for long enough.

"Given the circumstances - given some of the people who are not in the team - we think the blokes have persisted," he said.

"The guys have been able to execute what we've asked for big periods of games.

"The last four weeks have been against quality teams and you don't beat quality teams unless you make the most of your opportunity, or you stick at your method for 120 minutes.

"That's why we haven't ended up getting the results."

Richardson said it is also a case of picking the right players, noting Luke Dunstan has flourished since returning to the senior team a fortnight ago.

Robbie Young also impressed in his AFL debut on Saturday, kicking two goals.

But the Saints had the ball in their forward half for a whopping 75 per cent of the second term - the most by any team this season - and only kicked 2.6.

Instead of being four or five goals ahead, they trailed at halftime by five points.

Inevitably, against a team as talented as Collingwood, that came back to bite them.