Saints aren’t inconsistent in AFL: Watters
St Kilda coach Scott Watters says his AFL side shouldn’t be branded as inconsistent as they desperately cling to their top-eight spot.
The Saints logged consecutive victories in rounds two and three, but have not won two in a row since.
But Watters, on the eve of a crucial away match against the Adelaide Crows, said the effort of St Kilda’s players had been entirely in contrast to their results.
“I don’t buy into the inconsistent line,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“On the surface, you can look at the win-loss-win-loss – I understand that.
“But our effort and ability to stay in games – even games we’ve lost, we have been right in those games into the last quarter.
“I think our effort and performance has been pretty consistent across the year.
“It’s not the win-loss ratio we would like but I can’t fault their effort.”
The rejuvenated Crows on home turf offer the Saints a firm challenge, with the coach in turn needling returning ruckman Ben McEvoy to make an impact.
McEvoy has missed the past six matches with a hamstring strain and will return to meet Adelaide’s influential tapman Sam Jacobs.
But Watters said McEvoy need only look to his Saints teammate Jason Blake, who filled the ruck void, for motivation.
“I have sung Blakey’s praises a number of times. He is an outstanding club man,” Watters said.
“Maybe it’s a challenge for Ben McEvoy to have a look at what Jason Blake has done over the last three or four weeks and elevate his performance as a ruckman and carry the ruck stocks.
“There is a challenge there for Ben to step up – it is first game back but I do expect big things for Ben going forward.”
St Kilda’s defence will also be strengthened by the creative Sam Fisher, who missed a month with a hamstring strain.
But the match could offer a book-end for Adelaide’s reformation – the last time they played St Kilda, in round 18 last year, the Crows lost by 103 points and then-coach Neil Craig departed.
Under his replacement Brenton Sanderson, Adelaide – currently fifth with eight wins and two losses – could take top spot with a triumph against the Saints.
While their status is lofty, Sanderson didn’t use the bye weekend to realign Adelaide’s goals for the season, veteran defender Michael Doughty said.
“You talk about the first 10 weeks and what we have achieved, but it’s only a starting point,” Doughty told reporters on Thursday.
“This group is pretty determined to keep improving throughout the rest of the year.”© AAP 2013