Spluttering Saints aim to get back in sync against Roos

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has called on his team's "spluttering" midfield to lift as he attempts to get his players back in sync with each other.

Last week's 10-point AFL loss to Port Adelaide left them nursing a 2-5 record ahead of Saturday's clash with North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

It's in stark contrast to last year, when the Saints won their first four games in Lyon's second coming at the club on the way to making the finals.

Although St Kilda were brave in losses to Geelong (eight points), Essendon (four points), GWS (one point) and Port (10 points) this year, their 60-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs a fortnight ago uncovered some glaring problem areas.

First and foremost, Lyon believes his players have gone away from playing as a team.

"It just shows if you don't work together, (if) it's just desperate individuals running around rather than working together, you don't get it done against quality," he said.

"We're not exactly sure (why it's happening), except to know we've put it on the table.

"We're working on teamsmanship and co-ordinated effort.

"Sometimes when the scoreboard or the win-loss builds, you think, 'I'll do it' and you get a bit reckless.

"You've just got to stay calm and work together and co-ordinate and bring the system to life."

Jason Horne-Francis.
Port midfielder Jason Horne-Francis avoids two Saints tacklers during their Adelaide Oval clash. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

Lyon also wants to see a significant improvement in his team's midfield.

"We're working hard to build out our midfield performance, which has been spluttering," he said.

"When we get moving in there, we're a better team.

"We want to be a bit fiercer in the contest. We haven't been happy with our strike around the contest and our join in. I mean, that's fundamental.

"Our ground ball numbers were pretty strong, but I thought Port broke a fair few of our tackles.

"We weren't as clean, we weren't as effective in the tackle, we dropped some marks - sometimes it's as simple as that."

St Kilda will be without forward Jack Higgins, who failed to overturn his three-match ban at the AFL Tribunal.

But the Saints have been bolstered by the return of defender Jimmy Webster from his seven-match suspension and Max King from injury.

Mason Wood and Jack Hayes were other inclusions, with the axe falling on Anthony Caminiti and Cooper Sharman.

North Melbourne (0-7) dropped Charlie Lazzaro, Bigoa Nyuon, Will Phillips and Dylan Stephens in favour of Toby Pink, Liam Shiels, Jackson Archer and Jaidyn Stephenson.