Saints dig in to find AFL recovery route

Ben McKay

St Kilda assistant Henry Playfair has endured his share of tough times through his AFL playing and coaching career.

The versatile big man was around Geelong in 2006's stormy season, before the premiership pay-off the following year,

And after switching to Sydney, he was part of the coaching set-up that saw the Swans lose their first six games last season - before rocketing to the finals in unprecedented style.

On both occasions, he says hard work was the antidote - and it's what he's pledged the Saints will bring as they look to exit their current rut.

"We're focused. Focused on the work at hand and we don't get caught up in the noise," he said.

St Kilda haven't won since a round one date with Brisbane and have with six points from six matches.

They host Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a contest as close as you can get to 'must-win' in round seven.

Senior coach Alan Richardson has been exasperated by his club's output to date, questioning his players' commitment after their last-up loss to Hawthorn.

Playfair was eager to point out some of the positives.

"We've had a number of solid contributors and should acknowledge them," he said.

"(Defenders Nathan) Browny and Jake (Carlisle) have had consistent years, so has Shane Savage.

"Jimmy Webster had a week off came back and slotted straight back in.

"Paddy McCartin has started to mark them up forward and kick goals. Tom Hickey has been excellent, Seb Ross has been pretty consistent too.

"There's some good stuff there. Some shining lights."

The Saints have made three changes for the match while Melbourne have returned Christian Petracca to the side in the place of injured Christian Salem.

The Demons have turned their own form around since a torrid loss to Hawthorn, responding with a respectable showing to premiers Richmond and a defeat of Essendon that has their season back on track at 3-3.

Playfair said he'd draw on his previous experiences to help the club salvage its season.

"We were 0-6 last year at Sydney so we're in a better spot than we were up there," he said.

"That was reasonably new territory because that club has had a lot of success. I lived though 06 when things were very poor at Geelong too.

"Each scenario is different. Each situation is different, different coaches, different players, different personnel.

"What we do is we work as hard as we can to get good results."