Skipper tips AFL road trip to steel Saints

·2-min read

St Kilda co-captain Jack Steele believes spending an extended period of time away together as a group could be the tonic to turn his struggling team's AFL season around.

The Saints relished hub life last year on the march to a semi-final appearance but have dropped off in 2021, limping to a 5-6 record at the halfway point of the season.

High-profile stars such as Brad Hill have performed below expectation and others, including Zak Jones and Rowan Marshall, have been cut down by injuries.

There has been an intense spotlight on young key forward Max King, who has endured form fluctuations in his second full season as the focal point in attack.

Even the wins haven't always been cause for optimism, with coach Brett Ratten particularly disappointed with a final-quarter lapse in last week's 20-point victory over lowly North Melbourne.

Now, the Saints face the prospect of being sent on the road for at least a fortnight as Melbourne grapples with its latest COVID-19 outbreak.

They will likely head to Sydney or Cairns to take on the Swans in round 12 and are scheduled to meet Adelaide in Cairns the following week.

The AFL is set to confirm the updated schedule on Tuesday.

"Getting the group closer together and getting a bit of connection back amongst us is definitely going to give us an opportunity to perform better on the field," Steele said.

"We can't really blame that for our performances this year, but I feel like (time away together) can only help us.

"Hopefully we can get up there and get a little bit closer together."

Steele backed Hill to find his way out of a form slump after the former Hawthorn premiership star and Fremantle best-and-fairest winner was tagged by Kangaroos youngster Bailey Scott, managing just six disposals.

First-year skipper Steele is also convinced the Saints have the right people in place to help King develop, after reports the 20-year-old sought out his former school coach Matthew Lloyd to help with his goal-kicking.

Despite their troubles, St Kilda could conceivably head to their bye in round 14 with a positive win-loss record and Steele feels another finals appearance is still within reach.

"It's still our goal to make the finals and we've got two very winnable games coming up before our bye," Steele said.

"To get ahead of the ledger by then would be really nice to get things on our terms.

"We still probably need to win an extra game on top of that with how our percentage is, but it's definitely still a goal of ours and we see it as a very achievable one."

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