This weekend towards Richmond, Alan Richardson will change into the second longest-serving coach in St Kilda’s historical past, surpassing Grant Thomas’ 123 video games.
It may be his final recreation as coach. He’s one loss away from shedding his job.
A efficiency just like the one St Kilda dished up towards Brisbane on the weekend can’t be tolerated by followers or sponsors for for much longer. In contrast to different video games, the Saints had no excuses on this recreation. It’s turning into a working theme of Richardson’s tenure: the workforce can’t win the necessary matches. And never solely do they lose, they lose badly.
In 2017, St Kilda have been on the point of enjoying finals after they met Melbourne in Spherical 21. A win would have put them within the eight. However they ended up shedding by 4 objectives.
In 2018, St Kilda met North Melbourne on Good Friday in one of many membership’s solely marquee video games of the season. After the abysmal first half, North ran away with the sport, and the Saints misplaced any likelihood that they needed to preserve this fixture long run.
And this weekend the Saints had the chance to put themselves solely share outdoors of the eight, with what has been described as the best run house of all golf equipment. A win would have put finals proper on the agenda. Even a detailed loss would have left the door open. However the ten-goal margin and the way of the defeat have principally killed that chance. The proportion loss alone is nearly irreparable.
There was an excuse for each different loss this yr. Be it accidents or sickness or just the opposite facet being a lot better. However the Saints have been at the least in these video games, besides towards Port Adelaide, and that efficiency undoubtedly had excuses behind it.
However permitting a workforce resembling Brisbane – who ought to be across the similar stage as St Kilda – to attain ten objectives in 1 / 4 is solely unacceptable. Particularly when there aren’t any excuses.
It was a house recreation and two necessary gamers in Dan Hannebery and Jake Carlisle returned to the lineup, making it arguably one of many strongest sides that the workforce has performed this yr. Certain, 4 gamers from final yr’s prime ten in the very best and fairest have been out, however that also doesn’t excuse the efficiency.
And sadly, because it’s change into a sample, the coach should take final duty.
So, why not simply flick the swap and sack Richardson this week? As a result of the membership and the coach want yet another alternative to make amends for the weekend.
Towards a Richmond facet that has not precisely been setting the world on hearth, St Kilda have one final alternative to shake up the finals make-up.
Win and the draw out of the blue opens up, with video games towards North Melbourne, the Bulldogs, Carlton, Melbourne and Sydney all being winnable. Win these and the workforce are on the cusp of finals.
Nevertheless, a loss towards the Tigers on the weekend and never solely will the door on finals be slammed shut, however these winnable video games out of the blue look much less winnable.
It’s a cliche to say that there aren’t any unhealthy groups, however this yr it’s undoubtedly true. These winnable video games are all 50/50 prospects, however the confidence hit from a giant loss to Richmond will decrease these odds even additional.
If the Saints lose to the Tigers on the weekend, be it a giant loss or a small one, then the membership should look to the long run.
And that future can’t embrace Alan Richardson as coach.
However, if the workforce and the coach can lastly show that they will win an necessary match, then Richardson is protected for every week at the least.
His reign as coach stays very tenuous. With two different golf equipment already looking out for a brand new coach, the merry-go-round of coaches throughout this low season guarantees to be dramatic. And the Saints can’t be final out of the blocks if they’re to seek out the alternative that they need.
It’s true that Richardson has led the Saints properly by a troublesome interval for the membership, but when St Kilda are to make significant progress, one thing has to provide quickly.