They’ve broken their Perth hoodoo and are sitting a game inside the top eight, but St Kilda coach Alan Richardson isn’t daring to dream about finals action just yet.
The Saints ended their six-match losing streak in Perth with a thrilling nine-point win over Fremantle at Domain Stadium on Sunday.
Consecutive wins over North Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Fremantle have improved St Kilda’s record to 8-6 heading into Saturday night’s crunch clash with Richmond at Etihad Stadium.
But with only one top-eight scalp to their name this season – a shock win over GWS in round seven – the Saints aren’t getting carried away just yet.
Before Sunday’s win in Perth, St Kilda had lost 25 of their past 28 matches outside of Victoria.
Now they have won two of their past three games outside of Victoria, boosting Richardson’s hopes that they are becoming a team that can start winning regularly on the road.
The next five weeks could make of break St Kilda’s finals hopes.
After taking on the in-form Tigers, St Kilda face Essendon, Sydney (SCG), Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) and West Coast.
“I won’t be focusing on the next five weeks, nor will our players,” Richardson said.
“We have Maddie’s Match against the Tigers. It’s going to be a really big game for our club.
“We need to play really strong. We know the Tigers are playing terrific footy.”
The Saints face a nervous wait to see if star midfielder Jack Steven is suspended for his punch to Hayden Ballantyne’s mid-riff.
Defender Sam Gilbert is also in doubt for the Tigers clash after being concussed against Fremantle.
Gilbert was stretchered off after his head was driven into the turf by a lingering tackle from Fremantle’s Cameron McCarthy.
Richardson paid tribute to Jack Steele, comparing him to St Kilda great Lenny Hayes after the midfielder laid 17 tackles against Fremantle.
“He comes from a rugby state. He’s a Canberra boy and his tackles are real tackles,” Richardson said.
“When he tackles, they stay in the tackle. Very rarely do they get rid of the footy. He’s a good size.”