Dual North Melbourne premiership player David King has urged St Kilda to “purge the time wasters” on the side’s list after its elimination final exit.
The Saints didn’t drop out of the top eight for the entire season, but were defeated in the opening week of the finals by Greater Western Sydney, losing by 24 points in front of nearly 70,000 spectators at the MCG.
In his first year back at the helm, Saints coach Ross Lyon has labelled 2023 as a year of discovery for the side, as he and his team come to grips with the list.
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A focus on the middle of the ground was one Lyon hinted would be prioritised this off-season.
“Our weakness came to the fore, which we know and understand what we need to try and build out in there,” Lyon said post-match.
“It was never going to be a one-year build. We’ve got to build it out over a period of time.
“I think we’ve grown a lot. I’m proud of our growth. I’m proud of our mindset and our fight.
“We‘ve just got to keep building our player list, style of play. There’s a lot to like. We’re trying to bridge the gap and we know that.”
King said the Saints, while admirable in their efforts this year, had work to do this off-season on its list.
“Purge the time wasters. I think St Kilda has hung on to the same type of player for a long period knowing that the outcome is going to be a relatively poor return year upon year,” he told Fox Footy’s The First Crack.
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“If they are not taking you anywhere, get them out of your joint. Get ‘em out, start again, get some youngsters in.
“The challenge is they’ve got to find some kids now deep in the draft because they finished so high up the table they’re not going to get the absolute elite picks in the pointy end.
“Get what you can for those that have got some sort of currency – they’re going to have to pick the lights out of the draft for the next couple of years.”
Quizzed on adding more midfield power to the side, Lyon mused: “I can’t head to Woolworths on Glen Huntly Road and buy one, I know that. None of them are the half price special. The mechanism is trade, draft, free agency. We’ll explore all those things.”
As well as targeting other players, the Saints have decisions to make on their own list, headlined by mid-forward Jade Gresham, who remains without a contract for 2024 and has received rival interest.