Saints defend under-fire forward line

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson insists he is happy with his team's forward line set-up heading into the Good Friday clash against North Melbourne as he defended under-fire youngster Paddy McCartin.

Despite beating the Brisbane Lions by 25 points last week, the Saints' structure in attack, which features the tall trio of Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey and McCartin, came under scrutiny again.

McCartin, in particular, came in for criticism as he only managed seven touches, three marks and one goal.

Watch Paddy McCartin open up to 7 News on living with diabetes in the video player above

While Richardson refused to guarantee that he would use that set-up every week, he liked what he saw in round one.

"We kicked 107 points, I thought the guys did a pretty good job," Richardson said at Moorabbin on Thursday.

Paddy McCartin. Pic: Getty

"Paddy had to play a fairly selfless role, it was a pretty high role. 'Brucey' and Tim were able to get some pretty good looks at it.

"I thought 'Longy's (Ben Long's) work, (Jade) Gresham's work, (Jack) Billings' work, (Jack) Sinclair's work at the fall of the ball was good.

"There's areas that didn't quite go as well as we'd like, but by and large we were happy."

Jack Steven was the driving force behind the Saints' first-up win and Richardson was pretty sure that his star midfielder would come in for close attention on Friday, most probably from North tagger Ben Jacobs.

Richardson also anticipated that it would take a team effort from his key defenders Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown to nullify star Kangaroos forward Ben Brown.

"They're quality players, they'll have to be at their best," Richardson said of his backmen.

"The most important thing for us is that we get pressure on the footy so that it comes in (to North's forward line) ugly and then we can look to help each other."

Both sides head into the clash off a six-day break, but North Melbourne have had to fly to Cairns and back on top of playing on a waterlogged Cazaly's Stadium surface.

Despite all of that, Richardson doesn't believe it gives his side an advantage even though their first game was played in pristine conditions at Etihad Stadium and they didn't need to travel anywhere.

"The way that clubs, sports science (and) coaches can work with players to physically and emotionally get them in a really good space in a pretty short period of time these days is very consistent," he said.

Richardson said it was a "great honour" for his team to be involved in the Good Friday match and help raise even more awareness around the annual Royal Children's Hospital Appeal.

He expected to head into the clash with North Melbourne with an unchanged line-up.


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