Saints’ Richardson seeks umpire clarity

Frustrated St Kilda coach Alan Richardson will seek answers from the AFL after several questionable umpiring decisions during the Saints’ loss to North Melbourne.

St Kilda’s finals chances all but evaporated with the 23-point loss at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night in Brent Harvey’s record-breaking 427th AFL game.

Richardson agreed his side had been deficient in a number of areas but also noted his discontent with some umpiring decisions.

“We’ll look to get a bit of clarity on the below the knees contact – that was costly tonight,” Richardson said.

“I reckon we’ve shifted a bit as an industry with how that’s adjudicated at the minute.

“That was really designed to stop people getting their legs broken from someone who slid in from a fair way away, not someone who is desperately diving on the ball and happens to hit someone in the knee.

“And I reckon that probably needs a bit of a look at and a readjustment given the way it was introduced.

“We’ll seek some clarity on that.” Jarrad Waite goaled from just such a free kick in a pivotal period of the game in the third quarter.

The Saints were ninth going into the clash and desperately needed a win against the eighth-placed Roos to keep their slim finals chances alive.

Richardson said he had briefed his players on how to approach a contest where so much was at stake on a night where an opposition player would be widely and loudly heralded.

“If we’re going to be any good as a footy team, and that’s what we plan to be, we want to be in these sorts of games where there’s a bit more than four points (on the line) … there’s a chance that you can prolong your season,” he said.

“We want to be in those games.

“Our guys need to embrace the opportunity and the challenge. Last week (against the Western Bulldogs) was positive but we had too many who didn’t get it done tonight against a quality team so we don’t get the result, but there was still some positives.

“We’ll either be losers or learners and we’ve got a lot to learn from here.”

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