‘That is hurting us’ – coach pinpoints massive issue

St Kilda forward Max King is still working out how to balance the burden of expectation with his drive to be successful according to coach Brett Ratten who said his young star was under more pressure than most second year players.

King is expected to front up against Adelaide in Cairns on Saturday despite playing through the pain of a back issue in last week’s narrow loss to Sydney, an effort which drew praise from the coach.

Ratten said his own expectations from King, who is yet to play 30 games, were simple, and just about getting to contest after contest.

But he said the 20-year-old key forward, who has kicked just one goal in his past three matches, was still learning how to balance internal, external and even his own expectations.

“I think there is a fair bit of expectation on him, where he got drafted and what people have seen he can do,” Ratten said on Thursday.

“There is some external pressure that he has and probably for himself he’s got very high standards, he wants to make sure that he’s the best every week and can play and perform at the level he is after and I think he does put a fair bit of pressure on himself.

“He’s working with people to make sure he gets that balance right.

“The outside pressure is probably higher on him, as a second-year player, than probably most.”

Saints forward Jack Higgins did everything except convert today! Tough day, but he'll bounce back 💪 pic.twitter.com/bKzURbYk75

The pressure is also on the St Kilda goal kicking after wayward individual efforts in recent weeks cost the team.

Last week Jack Higgins, who kicked 1.6 against Sydney, missed two set shots inside the final two minutes in a heartbreaking nine point loss.

Ratten said the players had been putting in the work at training, but then lost their way in games, and had to be better at concentrating on goal kicking routines under pressure.

“We’ve done a fair bit of goal kicking over the last month, in between drills, before training, post training, even on days off the players come down and have a kick,” he said.

“The thing that was noticeable with our goal kicking, you watch on a Tuesday or Thursday the players go through a routine … but then on game days they forget about the 30 seconds and they are rushed or they play on and they don’t go through that routine.

“They’ve got a routine, go and fulfil that, 15 seconds, seven steps if it’s seven steps. We are not doing that, and that is hurting us.”

Ratten also revealed speedster Brad Hill‘s grandfather passed away the night before the Round … clash with North Melbourne, putting some perspective around the six disposals he had – while being tagged – which earned some criticism.

Hill left training track early on Thursday to be able to watch the funeral online.

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