St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said his side, filled with six new players, were wasteful and lacked bite when they allowed North Melbourne to overcome a 29-point half-time deficit and win their round one clash on Sunday.
The Saints shipped four goals in a lacklustre third quarter and then conceded two goals to makeshift forward Ben Cunnington to lose the match by two points at Marvel Stadium.
Brett Ratten’s side coughed up a big lead to lose the Roos on Sunday.Credit:AAP
“That is disappointing for us and that still sits in our guts, we are not very pleased with the way the game finished when we could have even won the game toward the end with some decision-making,” Ratten said.
“The way we used the ball … jeez it wasn’t very threatening [our ball use in the final term], it was wide, it was shallow, it didn’t put their defence under pressure.
“The signs in the first half were really encouraging the way we went about it. To have virtually 12-13 shots at goal … we matched the Kangas inside in the way we went about it.
“Cunnington, these types were very good. We thought the contested game we got right.
“Twelve shots to four in the first half and we just didn’t capitalise, the gap should have been bigger. When you give a team a chance and they get on a roll they capitalised in that third quarter.
“To score five points in the third … the Kangas pinned us in and we couldn’t get out.”
Ratten said Jade Gresham had a knee injury and would not have been fit to play in the coming weeks had the season not been postponed.
North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw lauded the fight his side showed. They finished the game, and staged their comeback, with only one player on the bench.
Josh Walker (concussion) went off in the first term and Paul Ahern (hamstring) and Jack Ziebell (knee) went off in the third term. Shaw did not know how bad their injuries were.
“Our players just grit their teeth. We knew we were better than what we produced in the first half. We probably fell asleep at the wheel a little bit … and we just wanted to get back in the contest,” Shaw said.
“It was out of necessity [that Cunnington moved forward and kicked two final term goals]. Because we didn’t have anyone on the bench. Checked him forward, ‘Cunners’ loves playing midfield.
“For him to go forward and have an impact was really pleasing for as. We have worked on it during the off-season but it’s all turned out pretty well today.”
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