Proud Saints coach a happy man after win

IT was a nerve wracking finish to his side’s clash with Port on the weekend for St Kilda for Saints coach Nick Dal Santo. When asked how he was in the dying stages of the match, he said with a laugh “I wasn’t great”.

Upon further reflection on the game, Dal Santo said it was a mixed bag of emotions.

“There’s moments where you feel like you’ve got some control throughout a game, and there’s a lot of moments where you feel like it’s up to the players to the best they can possibly do, and it’s clear that we’re on a journey,” he said.

“We’re a young group that’s evolving and growing from week to week, and I was really pleased with some individuals today that I thought made some huge steps forward, and then even in that last five minutes, structurally not ideal, contest structure not ideal, but they just found a way. So I was really pleased, and that’s even without sending any messages out or having a great deal of control.”

Dal Santo was proud of his team’s resolve to get the win over Port Adelaide.

“It’s been a tough month, we’ve had close losses, we’ve been blown out in particular games, but I was really proud of our group’s resolve today, and our ability to just to keep pushing,”Dal Santo said. I think we were down by a couple of goals at half time, we just stayed the course, so obviously really pleased to get the outcome in regards to a win, but the way we went about it.”

Dal Santo noted how important Sunday’s win is for the morale of the group.

“Yeah I think it’s important. I mean I rarely if ever speak about the result, we speak a lot about the process and giving yourself an opportunity to win games of football, and it’s not like we’re tiptoeing,” Dal Santo said.

“We’re clearly here to win and we want to win a lot more, but there’s a process that to go through to give yourself a chance to win. But there’s no doubt it’s really nice to get a tangible outcome to say to our group, even just to have that feeling that if you do these certain things, you do it to a certain level, you can win a game of footy. So I thought that was a really pleasing aspect of today.”

A couple of Saints have played different roles recently, including Lucy Burke and Nicola Stevens, and their coach was pleased with ow they’ve gone in those new roles.

“I thought they were all great, is my honest answer. I mean, last week we asked Lucy Burke to be the number one ruck against the Western Bulldogs, and we had a bit of a chuckle post game about what we ask of players, and clearly that’s not her preferred position,” Dal Santo said.

“She’s trained predominately as a defender, and then she’s had moments as a forward to get a bit of balance, and other options for her to be a really good player. I mean she is a competitor, we saw that last week in the ruck.

“I thought she did that again today in regards to being a forward, and then Nic Stevens is able to play multiple position. I thought her match up with Erin Phillips who sitting on the bench I though “Erin’s actually trying to take over the game!” She went into the ruck and was fantastic at the start of the last quarter with her clearance work, but you pay money to see the best players go head to head. I thought it was a great contest between those two in particular.”

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