Under-fire St Kilda to give King more help

Oliver CaffreyAAP
St Kilda have been focusing too much on big forward Max King.
Camera IconSt Kilda have been focusing too much on big forward Max King. Credit: AAP

St Kilda will seek to take the pressure off star forward Max King as the Saints attempt to snap a three-game AFL losing streak in a blockbuster clash with Carlton.

The Saints have tumbled from a top-four contender to be sitting 10th with a 8-6 record after disappointing losses against Essendon and Sydney.

St Kilda fought bravely against the Brisbane Lions as the Gabba a week before that but suffered a number of serious injuries during the contest.

They are coming off scoring just 4.8 in a concerning loss at the SCG but coach Brett Ratten is confident the Saints can still turn their season around and play finals.

But the in-form Blues (10-4) at Marvel Stadium on Friday night present arguably the biggest challenge of the last month for St Kilda.

"There's a few things that we're probably not doing as well as what we did in the first half of the year and we need to get back to that," Ratten said.

"We're still working on our offence.

"We're not the first team to lose a few in a row that are in the eight, there's been a few that have had mixed form.

"We need to get going, there's no doubt about it.

"Sometimes the forward success is how the ball is moved from the back half into the forward half.

"It doesn't have just to be Max, maybe we focus a bit too much on Max and we should start to use some of the others.

"I did feel for Max on the weekend, I didn't think he had great opportunity."

Veteran ruck Paddy Ryder (managed) and dashing defender Bradley Hill (personal reasons) will be crucial inclusions.

Ryder's combination with newly re-signed big man Rowan Marshall has been a big part of St Kilda's improved fortunes since 2020.

If the Saints can win the midfield battle, they could be able to exploit the under-strength Carlton defence.

Blues coach Michael Voss is preparing for St Kilda to come out firing.

"The Saints have been talked about a lot this week and what they need to be able to do," Voss said.

"We have to respect what they're going to come to the game like.

"It's very easy to put a lens on the last couple of weeks and going after that, but we tend to look at the body of work and the talent (at St Kilda) hasn't changed."

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