Tim Watson and Garry Lyon have hailed Jarryd Roughead’s impact in revamping St Kilda’s forward line and mentoring the club’s key position players.
The Saints are the number one team in the competition for kicks retained and marked inside 50 and scores per inside 50 and their efficiency in front of goal has improved out of sight.
Thursday night’s 18-point win over Carlton moved Brett Ratten’s side to 3-2 and temporarily into fourth spot on the ladder.
Roughead, a four-time premiership star at Hawthorn, joined the Saints’ coaching department in a wide-ranging role that includes working with club’s emerging key position prospects.
“Was it 10 marks that they (St Kilda) actually took inside their attacking 50 in one quarter of football? That is extraordinary,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.
“That doesn’t happen by accident, does it? That’s the way that they’re set up. That’s the way their players leave space or that’s the way players return to space. That’s instruction, that’s a coaching thing, that’s a teaching thing.
“It’s no surprise to me that Jarryd Roughead is there at St Kilda. What was one of the key hallmarks of the way that Hawthorn played their football and still play their football in terms of their forward structure?”
Lyon replied: “Separation. Not flying for the same mark.
“The best forward set ups are ones that are moving constantly and don’t allow opposition defences to get set on them. Once they get set then they can intercept then they can read the play, that means they know where you are.
“Running around the back of a defender makes him turn his head and then you’re back in the proactive position as a forward, and that’s what I’m seeing with St Kilda. I love it, I love every minute of it.
“(Tim) Membrey, (Jonathon) Marsh, the big guy (Josh) Battle came down and was an option and then they’ve got the smalls buzzing around. It was fantastic.”
St Kilda have been able to create space in behind opposition defences and score several counter-attacking goals as a result.
“There always seems to be players that have stayed back in some way or they beat their defender back into that space. But that’s coaching and instruction, isn’t it?” Watson said.
Lyon responded: “It is. Not too often they look up and there’s no one there.
“Or if they do go into a forward line that’s been vacated it’s because it’s (Dan) Butler running back onto the footy or it’s (Dean) Kent running back onto the footy.
"It just seems that there’s system.”