Form is behind Paddy McCartin’s inability to break back into St Kilda’s side to take on AFL front-runners North Melbourne on Sunday.
But rather than poor form of the 2014 No.1 draft pick behind his non-selection, it’s the impressive form of others in the Saints line-up keeping him out.
A tired McCartin missed their win over Melbourne last round and in his absence Tim Membrey kicked a career-best five goals.
Saints coach Alan Richardson he couldn’t leave out players that had performed so well.
“It’s not necessarily a form thing for Paddy, it’s probably more a form thing for the guy that replaced Paddy,” Richardson said on Friday.
“It may have been that he’d come back in this week but when Membrey’s done what he did and Brucey (Josh Bruce) kicked three and Rooey’s (Nick Riewoldt) in reasonable form, he just hasn’t been able to get back in the team we were happy with.
“That’s OK, that’s the life of a young player. You’ve just got to make sure you make the most of your opportunities.”
St Kilda are searching for successive wins for the first time this season but face a massive challenge against the unbeaten Kangaroos.
Richardson said his young side prided themselves on their contested football but would need to lift a notch at Etihad Stadium.
“They’ve been very impressive in the contest; we talk about our pressure and the fact that it’s the cornerstone to our game and they’re No.1 in the competition by a fair way,” he said.
“We’re going to be have to live up to our end of the bargain and dish a bit out.”
Richardson said young defender Hugh Goddard was still a chance to play as the Saints tried to thwart the goal-scoring threat of North’s three tall forwards, Jarrad Waite, Drew Petrie and Ben Brown.
“Hugh’s last couple of weeks have been really good and he’s building nicely so he’s a chance to come in,” he said.
Meanwhile, St Kilda’s veteran skipper Riewoldt is poised to re-sign for another season.
Richardson said that 33-year-old had been invigorated by the Saints’ progress this season.
“His own performance has been really strong,” Richardson said.
“There’s a lot of boxes that he’s already ticked and it’s probably really close that he’ll make the ultimate call.”