Saints shock Tigers in AFL upset

Shayne Hope
Dan Butler (c) and Tim Membrey have booted three goals in St Kilda's 26-point AFL upset of Richmond

Dustin Martin's return failed to spark Richmond as their AFL premiership defence took another hit in a 26-point defeat to St Kilda on Saturday.

The Brownlow medallist collected 19 disposals after a week off with bruised ribs but didn't have a major influence as the Saints finished full of running in a 15.3 (93) to 10.7 (67) win at Marvel Stadium.

Jack Billings (25 disposals) and Jack Steele (21) starred in an engine room that humbled a star-studded Tigers midfield as Jake Carlisle marshalled the Saints' defence superbly.

Trade period recruit Dan Butler - brought in from the Tigers last October in exchange for the bargain price of national draft pick No.56 - kicked three goals in his first match against his old side.

Tim Membrey also kicked three majors as Jack Lonie, Rowan Marshall and Dean Kent chipped in with two apiece to spread the load.

A hamstring injury to Zak Jones was the only sour note for St Kilda, who stuck to their task with a run-and-gun game style and kicked their highest score of the season to date.

"(I liked) our application around the ball and the way we went about it right at the start," Saints coach Brett Ratten said.

"It was an area where we were poor last week (in the loss to Collingwood) and we weren't going to win every contest but we put ourselves in a position to win every contest and that was really pleasing."

The result left Richmond sitting outside the top eight with two losses and a draw since the season restart.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick axed premiership players Daniel Rioli, Marlion Pickett, Ivan Soldo and Jack Graham in a major shake-up after the smashing from Hawthorn in round three.

Richmond got off to the hottest of starts when Shane Edwards ran in to kick the first goal after just 10 seconds.

But many of the same issues that have plagued them since the season resumption were evident again as they failed to match their opponents' speed and intensity around the ball.

Edwards and Dion Prestia were strong contributors - combining for 49 disposals, 13 clearances and 13 tackles - but did not have the support they usually enjoy from their big-name premiership teammates.

"There's a weight of numbers of our better-performing players not playing well enough," Hardwick said.

"As a side we're always going to struggle when the weight of numbers suggests that we've got more players performing below capacity than what we should."

St Kilda suffered a blow pre-match when Paddy Ryder was a late withdrawal with back soreness, replaced by Kent.

In Ryder's absence, Marshall was a strong contributor in the ruck against Toby Nankervis.