St Kilda coach Alan Richardson says a lack of late-game intensity probably cost his young troops an upset win over premiers Hawthorn.
The Hawks claimed a narrow 13.9 (87) to 13.6 (84) victory in Launceston on Saturday but were uncertain victors at times and carried an 11-point deficit in the final term.
However the Hawks’ experience shone when it counted.
“It looked like we’d run out of legs,” Richardson told reporters.
“The last quarter, we didn’t take the game on as much as we needed to.
“And then when we got behind we got a bit more aggressive again, so that’s something that we need to address.”
Overall it was a positive performance, the coach said, making special mention of young forwards Paddy McCartin and Jack Billings and emerging midfielder Seb Ross.
Turnovers were costly at times for the Saints who also fell down in defence later in the game.
But Richardson was unapologetic for the latter.
“We want to be bold from defence, we don’t want to just kick down the line,” he said.
“We wanted to go after our kicks – clearly there were facets of that which worked for us.
“But the last quarter it really hurt us and the guys in front of the ball weren’t working hard enough to give easy options.”
Jarryn Geary left the backline late in the fourth quarter after a head clash but Richardson is confident he’ll be fit for next round against the GWS Giants.