Ratten not happy with Saints' AFL lapses

·2-min read

Disappointed St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has conceded his under-fire AFL side let themselves down when heavily outscored in the final quarter of a scrappy 20-point win over North Melbourne.

The Saints, still hurting after their 111-point thrashing from the Western Bulldogs a week earlier, did enough in the first three terms on Saturday to secure the result they so desperately needed against the competition's bottom side.

They led by 43 points at the final change, but dropped their standards and limped over the line in a 12.16 (88) to 10.8 (68) victory in front of empty Marvel Stadium stands.

"It was a pretty scrappy game with a lot of skill errors and it wasn't perfect, but to get the four points is really what we're after," Ratten said post-match.

"But the last quarter was not to our liking at all.

"We did some pretty good work and didn't capitalise, but to get outscored five (goals to) one, we've got to be better than that.

"We want to do our work and fulfil what we're after as a team, and that's to play four quarters."

Ratten hinted selfish attitudes had affected the Saints' output during the final quarter.

"Everybody towards the end thought the game might've been in our keeps," he added.

"They tried to just maybe get a bit of free ball and do what they wanted to do instead of what we (the team) wanted to do.

"The group's pretty good at adjusting and sticking to the plan but there were just bits towards the end where we went away from it."

Co-captain Jack Steele led from the front and had Brad Crouch and Luke Dunstan for company as valuable contributors through the midfield.

But high-profile speedster Brad Hill again struggled to have an impact, gathering just six disposals at half-back under close attention from Bailey Scott.

Key forward Max King was also kept quiet by Ben McKay.

Saints utility Mason Wood kicked a game-high three goals in his first encounter with the team that dumped him at the end of last year.

Jy Simpkin, Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell worked tirelessly for North Melbourne, while emerging players Tarryn Thomas and Luke Davies-Uniacke showed flashes of their ability.

But Kangaroos coach David Noble lamented his players' inability to apply the pressure that they had planned to.

"We won the second half but we're still chasing the consistency of that four-quarter effort," Noble said.

"That's obviously the frustrating piece."

Noble dismissed concerns over McKay's leg injury after the key defender finished the match on the bench.