St Kilda coach Alan Richardson has savaged his team after their 47-point AFL loss to Greater Western Sydney, saying there were too many passengers on the field.
Richardson did not mince his words after the Giants kicked six goals in 13 minutes at the start of the last quarter to ensure the 19.12 (126) to 12.7 (79) win.
As rival coach Leon Cameron praised the maturity of the Giants for withstanding the Saints’ third-term rally, Richardson laid into his players publicly and behind closed doors.
Rather than wait a day or two for the more detailed review, Richardson said the Saints assessed each player individually in the rooms straight after the match.
“When it was really tough we were found wanting,” he said.
“When they went to another level we didn’t go there – that was really disappointing.
“There was a little bit of – I’m going to generalise or exaggerate to make the point – there was a little bit of ‘I will let someone else do it and I might be able to get on the end of it.’
“We just had way too many passengers today.”
It followed the upset win over Collingwood and then last weekend’s near-miss in Launceston, where they lost to Hawthorn by only three points.
Richardson said what happened in the next month would show whether Sunday had been a setback for his developing team.
The third goal of the Giants’ rampage at the start of the last quarter was particularly damning.
The ball was kicked deep into the GWS attack and at least four Giants were on their own, with Toby Greene able to have a casual shot from the goalsquare.
It showed the Saints had given up.
It was also unexpected, because St Kilda had come back hard in the third quarter.
With captain Nick Riewoldt firing in attack, they reduced the margin to only 10 points.
Riewoldt then left the field for the rest of the quarter as an ankle problem flared again.
GWS also kicked the last goal of the term and it proved a crucial moment.
Riewoldt played out the game, with Richardson saying his captain was having ankle soreness.
Leigh Montagna was also taken off late in the game because of hamstring soreness.
Greene was best afield with 31 disposals and four goals, while Jeremy Cameron returned from suspension to kick five.
Steve Johnson also chimed in with four and Riewoldt was best for the Saints with 11 marks and four goals.