St Kilda champion Nathan Burke says the struggling Saints are in desperate need of strong leadership in order to arrest their form slump.
The Saints haven’t won since Round 1 and are teetering near the bottom of the AFL ladder.
If Alan Richardson’s side are to return to the winners circle, the three-time best and fairest winner has put the heat on the clubs on-field leaders, urging them to galvanise what is a despondent group.
“They're really in the depths of despair at the moment,” Burke told SEN’s KB and The Doc.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see how they fight their way out of it.
“For me it has to be a leadership group lead thing from the club.
“I hope they’ve got somebody down there instructing those boys how to get themselves out of it, because the ones in it aren’t playing good football and what tends to happen is they become self-focused and not worrying about the group.”
Burke has also advised Richardson to allow the players to express themselves and select players who warrant selection based on form, not reputation.
“The coaches need to lead their way out of this as well. By bunkering down and battening down the hatches, that’s not going to work," he added.
“They need to play players on merit, regardless of reputation.
“They need to free them up because at the moment they’re a little bit too predisposed in terms of having to stand here and having to stand there.
“They’ve got to let the players play, allow them to make mistakes and play with a bit more freedom.
“Just see what that brings. I can guarantee it will bring something better than what they’re playing at the moment.”
Listen to Nathan Burke's chat about the Saints with KB and The Doc in the player