Jason Heatley enjoyed a brief, but action-filled AFL career in the late 90s. He played 63 games – almost all of them with St Kilda – and topped the Saints goalkicking twice, including in their grand final year of 1997.
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St Kilda need to find some AFL form and they need to find it fast.
That was coach Alan Richardson’s frank assessment after the injury-hit Saints fell to a 15.13 (103) to 7.14 (56) defeat to Geelong at Kardinia Park on Sunday.
St Kilda are 16th with a 1-3 record after four rounds and have lost their past three games by an average margin of 49 points.
Richardson knows that doesn’t cut it for a team with finals aspirations and a fan base growing more impatient by the week.
“We’ve got too many players out of form,” Richardson said.
“We’re at round four and I’m not saying we’ve got plenty of time to turn it around – we need to turn things around quickly.
“And that’s our focus.
“We’re not playing our best footy and we’re not pretending for one minute that we are and that we’re (just) out of luck.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got blokes in a really constructive, aggressive head space.
“There’s enough talent in this group to be playing much better footy than we’re playing at the minute.”
The Saints lost Dylan Roberton in a frightening second quarter incident on Sunday where he collapsed without contact from an opponent.
But Richardson reported the defender was doing well at Geelong’s Epworth Hospital where he is undergoing tests.
“It looks like some sort of irregular heartbeat … (but) from all reports he’s alert and he’s eating,” Richardson said.
“He’s doing well but it’s obviously a bit of a shock. He shocked a few of his mates but he’s doing well, which is positive.
“I’ve never really seen anything like that so my thoughts were immediately with (him).
“But it was really comforting to get some feedback that he’s OK now.”
St Kilda were left with two fit players on the bench in the second half after ruckman Rowan Marshall was ruled out with concussion.