Despite an AFL win-loss record that is as barren as their old Moorabbin home, coach Alan Richardson is upbeat about St Kilda’s progress.
The Saints go into Saturday’s match against Collingwood on the back of a promising round-one performance away against Port Adelaide and last week’s 57-point loss to the Western Bulldogs.
Their past 10 games have yielded the rebuilding Saints only one win and a draw.
“We’re definitely on the right track,” he said.
“The way we’ve played, in terms of what we’re trying to do defensively, what we’re trying to do when we have the ball, what we’re trying to do in the contest, is a step in the right direction.”
But Richardson conceded they would have to improve significantly in contested work – an area where the in-form ‘Dogs found them wanting.
“We laid a lot of tackles, we’re pretty good in terms of laying pressure on opposition,” he said.
“But the opposition’s ability to get out of our tackles is not good for us.”
Richardson also concedes they still have some way to go before they are premiership contenders again.
This weekend the Saints will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their only premiership, when they downed the Pies by just one point in 1966.
Darren Minchington will come into the side after five goals in the VFL.
But emerging youngsters Blake Acres and Hugh Goddard remain out of the senior lineup.
“They’re heading in the right direction,” Richardson said.
“You look across the AFL, ins and outs this weekend … and see that young players go in and out.
“That is the life of a young player.”
Collingwood recruit Nathan Freeman will resume in the VFL reserves this weekend from his long-term hamstring injury.
“He’s playing seconds on the weekend – we’ll just see how he goes from there,” Richardson said.
The Saints are having occasional training runs at Moorabbin ahead of returning to the ground as their home base, following an unpopular move further away from the city to Seaford.