As St Kilda’s 2021 campaign all but ended at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday, you could excuse coach Brett Ratten for a sullen outlook on a match – and season – that promised so much.
But while he was at a loss to explain the Saints’ ill discipline and sudden inability to win contested possessions as the Cats pulled off a 45-point turnaround for a 14-point win, he was equally buoyant about their future.
“I’m pretty flat. The thing you take out of it was that our effort and endeavour were pretty good,” Ratten said.
“But you don’t lose contested ball by (36) … you could have moments and lose a contest here and there, but we just lost contest after contest … some of that was being second to the ball and giving away free kicks.
“But the second quarter they just dominated stoppages and field position and made it tough for us to get out and they changed the game.”