St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is imploring his confidence-sapped players to dig deep as high-profile recruit Brad Hill faces scans on an injured Achilles.
Hill was hurt as St Kilda's season slumped further into the mire with a nine-goal loss to Port Adelaide on Sunday night.
The Saints are in 16th spot after three heavy defeats in their past four games - to Port, Richmond (86 points) and Essendon (75 points).
Hill, lured from Hawthorn on a six-year contract reportedly worth about $900,000 a season, has been a lightning rod for criticism amid the Saints' early-season crisis.
The winger managed just 10 disposals last week against Richmond and only 10 again versus Port when he finished the game with an ice-pack on an Achilles.
"He has just got a bit of Achilles awareness, he is just a bit tight there, so he will be a test for next week," Saints coach Brett Ratten said.
"But especially after (Jake) Gresham snapping his (Achilles), we will not take any risk with that because that is a nine-month injury."
Gresham ruptured an Achilles three weeks ago and will miss the remainder of a season rapidly slipping away from the Saints.
"You go through wavers of form and confidence," Ratten said.
"And we have spoken a bit about it internally, the season is a marathon but you have got to get going at certain stages.
"You can't just sit there and say 'it's a marathon, we will get going'.
"You don't get to choose. Time will run out.
"For us as a group, we need to dig in a bit deeper and try and find a way pretty quickly."
The Saints, rated pre-season as top-four contenders, have won just two games.
"We are lacking a little bit of confidence to click and gel," Ratten said.
"Some of the strengths that we had last year are not showing.
"Our scoring efficiency has gone right down and our centre bounce was a real strength of ours but last week were minus-10 and this week we're minus-10 (centre clearances).
"It's the confidence of some of our players at the moment.
"Some of our ball movement is stagnant.
"We are not working hard enough to help the kicker at times so I think we have got to keep pushing that."