Saints out to bury AFL goal-kicking woes

·2-min read

Expect any St Kilda player lining up for a set shot at goal during their AFL clash with Adelaide to use the majority of his allotted 30 seconds.

Hurried shots have hurt the inaccurate Saints over the last month and again proved costly in a narrow defeat to Sydney last week that left their finals hopes hanging by a thread.

It is a point coach Brett Ratten has rammed home with his players ahead of their encounter with the Crows in Cairns on Saturday night.

"We've done a fair bit of goal-kicking (practice) over the last month," Ratten said this week.

"We've put it in between drills, before training, post-training and even on days off players have come down to have a kick.

"We haven't done anything abnormal with it but we've just put a price on it."

Young key forward Max King was put under the spotlight when he booted a wayward 1.5 in a loss to Geelong in round nine and Jack Higgins posted 1.6 against Sydney, including two missed crucial shots in the final three minutes.

Ratten said it had become increasingly noticeable that players were not going through their pre-planned routines in the heat of battle.

"That's probably the big thing for us - you've got a routine there, let's make sure that you go and fulfil that and follow through," Ratten said.

"Sometimes we're not doing that and that's the thing that I think is hurting us."

Despite St Kilda (5-7) sliding down the ladder with three losses in their last four outings, Ratten hasn't yet given up on a finals appearance.

A loss to 15th-placed Adelaide (4-8) would all but put that dream to bed.

"Our consistency has been up and down throughout the season, not from week to week but actually from quarter to quarter," Ratten said.

"That's where we've been hurt at times and that's what we have to focus on."

Ratten declared Paddy Ryder fit to take on Reilly O'Brien in the ruck despite the 33-year-old veteran being on light duties at training during the week.

Paul Hunter has been recalled to provide Ryder with ruck support, while Ben Long and Jack Lonie also return for the Saints.

Jarryn Geary (shoulder) is out injured while Seb Ross and Tim Membrey are unavailable for family reasons.

O'Brien will play his 50th game for the Crows as young defender Josh Worrell makes his senior debut, while Sam Berry returns after overcoming concussion.

Veteran Adelaide spearhead Taylor Walker was named despite concern over a muscle strain behind his right knee.