Saints holding on to hope of AFL finals

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson doubts he will mention the Hawthorn, North Melbourne result when he addresses his players at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

It won’t be necessary. There will be a buzz around the Saints’ dressing rooms if North lose to the Hawks at the MCG.

If the Kangaroos fall, St Kilda players will run out to face Sydney knowing victory will leave them just one win behind in the battle for eighth place on the AFL ladder.

“A few weeks ago, there was a similar situation with the Western Bulldogs’ game and there wasn’t a lot of noise from our perspective,” Richardson said.

“The guys are excited by the opportunity. We’re in reasonable form, we’ve been that way for near on two months now.

“Sydney at the minute are probably as strong on talent as anyone in the competition. They play really aggressive footy, they’ve got on outstanding midfield and they’re incredibly talented in front of the ball.”

Despite Sydney’s long list of talented stars Richardson remains confident his emerging team a capable of producing a boilover.

“We want to be in a position where we’re controlling our own destiny and not waiting and hoping for others to fall away,” he said.

“We need to be more consistent and we like what’s happening in the backend of the year, but we just need to control what we can control irrespective what the noise is.”

St Kilda will hope to stretch Sydney’s defence with the return of young key forward Paddy McCartin as a marking option to fellow tall targets Josh Bruce and Tim Membrey which allows captain Nick Riewoldt to play higher up the ground as a midfield-forward.

“He (Riewoldt) gives us some real versatility from that perspective.

“We know the Swans will be a real challenge to get the ball from one end of the ground to the other and Rooey can give us strong connection, either as a marking option and he’s a good kick. So, we’ll need him in the midfield and in front of the ball and he’ll play both those roles,” the coach said.

The young Saints have a lot of ground to make up considering they scrounged only four goals when the Swans smashed them by 97 points at the same venue in round 22 last season.

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