St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has flagged mass changes after yet another embarrassing loss, this time at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.
After an encouraging fortnight in the lead-up, the Saints were blown off the park by the new ladder-leaders, who ran away 21. 18. (144) to 5. 3. (33) winners at Marvel Stadium.
Following the loss, Ratten was left searching for answers and admitted that he told the playing group that changes were incoming after the 111-point beating.
“Eight days ago we played Geelong here and a lot of the things that we wanted to do were on display,” he said.
“The gap between our best and our worst is just too big and it’s unacceptable. To think that we kept Geelong to 45 Inside 50s, but the Bulldogs got 69.
“Our pressure was enormous against Geelong, but really we got out-tackled and they won the contested possessions, so they won the ball and they got it back off us.
“We’ve got to do something about it, we can’t just keep going with this. Players that aren’t performing will have to go back to the twos.
“We’ve got some players in pretty good form in the reserves and we’ll have to make some changes because we can’t have that.”
The Saints had no answers for the Bulldogs’ explosive midfield brigade, with skipper Marcus Bontempelli starring with 26 disposals and four goals, while Jack Macrae added 41 disposals of his own.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the win was marred by a serious ankle injury to star off-season recruit Adam Treloar, who was substituted off in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs’ forward tandem of Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce were effective once again, kicking eight goals between them in the win, while Bailey Dale and Cody Weightman were the team’s other multiple goal-kickers.
The Bulldogs’ win sets up a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash against Melbourne next Friday night, while St Kilda will aim to turn its form around against North Melbourne.