At halftime on Sunday at Etihad Stadium, St Kilda coach Alan Richardson wrote the number “22” on their whiteboard.
After their 36-point AFL loss to the Saints, Melbourne coach Paul Roos may well have written “not enough”
Richardson said he wrote that number to emphasise to his players that a solid team performance – all 22 players contributing – was going to be the difference.
That’s exactly what Roos felt cost them the match.
“It’s a continual reminder I guess about where we’re at,” Roos said.
“As a team, if we drop off in team performance and we don’t have a lot of good players, it makes it really, really difficult.
“We just didn’t have enough really good individual efforts, which make up a team performance, for us to be competitive for long enough.
“We don’t have a margin for error.”
It was the Demons’ 14th-straight loss to St Kilda and also means they have won just one of their last 25 games at Etihad Stadium.
They only trailed by five points early in the last quarter, but Roos felt that was a false dawn.
He played down the significance of two incidents involving Jesse Hogan either side of three-quarter time.
First, Hogan’s booming shot on goal was ruled touched on the line and the video review upheld the decision.
“It’s frustrating – I guess it’s one of those where if the umpire hadn’t have called touched, it would have been a goal,” he said.
“The video, at best, was inconclusive.
“It looked like a goal, but I guess in those situations you have to back the goal umpire because he was close.”
Then, with Melbourne within a goal, Hogan appeared to earn a free kick.
Instead, he was reported for striking and St Kilda kicked a crucial goal moments later.
“All I can say is … we thought Jesse was going to go back and have a shot at goal,” he said.
Jack Viney sparked Melbourne with some outstanding work late in the third quarter, but Roos said the midfielder did not have enough help.
“We just didn’t have enough of those individuals in order to make up a good team performance.”