Footy great Nick Dal Santo has berated the current skill standard in the AFL following St Kilda’s embarrassing performance against the Geelong Cats on Friday evening.
St Kilda paid the price for a horror night in front of goal, living up to their reputation as the worst set-shot team in the competition.
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The side’s key forwards repeatedly missed easy set shots for goal at Marvel Stadium, three examples occurring inside the opening eight minutes of the first term.
Instead of taking an early 18-point lead and shooting out of the blocks, St Kilda only led by three, and despite their superior pressure and territory dominance in the first half, it ultimately counted for naught as they failed to translate it onto the scoreboard.
Max King ended up the biggest culprit with 1.5 – the most costly of his misses a set shot from directly in front late in the final quarter which could have cut the deficit to 11 points, but instead hit the post.
St Kilda’s first nine scoring shots were all behinds, and they finished up suffering a woeful 10.8 (68) to 5.17 (47) defeat.
Max King of the Saint.Source:News Corp Australia
Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, St Kilda star Dal Santo passionately called for a greater emphasis on fundamental skills in the sport, otherwise players risk “diluting” the product.
“I’m wound up,” Dal Santo said on Friday evening. “I’m emotional because that shouldn’t happen at this level. This is the top one per cent of the competition that can’t do the fundamentals of the game correctly.
“When will we learn? When will the industry learn? When will St Kilda learn? When will we give time and resources to the one part of our game that’s diluting the product — skills, but in particular, goal kicking?
“Five goals, 17 (behinds). Those numbers are off the charts. That’s the fourth time this year St Kilda hasn’t kicked more goals than behinds. It goes back to 2016, the last time as a competition we kicked more goals than behinds.
“This game is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and we’re diluting it with our inability to kick goals.
“We’ve gone so far one particular way — we love people who can run, we love pressure. How about you kick the damn thing straight? That’s a good starting point.
“Enough is enough. It is diluting a beautiful game.”
Saints coach Brett Ratten.Source:News Corp Australia
Despite the glaring goalkicking issue, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten believed there were plenty of positives to come out of the 21-point loss.
“There were a lot of things right, except for the last part, kicking through the sticks,” Ratten told reporters after the match.
“The real pleasing aspect is (King) played against some really good defenders, and he put himself right in the picture, and he got to great spots.
“He is going to keep looking but to have six shots at goals and give a couple off … he is going to put together, whether it is next week or in a month I’m not sure, he is showing everyone what he can do (and) he is not far off.”
St Kilda is currently 11th on the AFL ladder after registering four wins in the opening nine rounds.
Ratten’s side will next face the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, May 22.
— with NCA NewsWire
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