K rock Football

Saints playing for their season

St Mary’s co-coach Travis Robertson. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

WITH just one to its name in the opening five rounds, St Mary’s co-coach Travis Robertson admits last year’s runner-up is making life difficult for itself if it wants to qualify for a fourth consecutive finals series.

In a tough opening month of the season, the Saints’ lone victory came against Colac, by four points, in Round 4.

And it doesn’t get any easier, with St Mary’s hosting fourth-placed South Barwon at Anthony Costa Oval on Saturday.

“At the start of the season, you want to play finals; that’s the aim,” Robertson said.

“And certainly as a club that’s played in the last three grand finals, you probably expect more than that.

“We’re going to have to play on the edge. South Barwon will be looking for a scalp.”

Robertson revealed he and co-coach Glenn Keast had a frank discussion with the Saints during the break for interleague.

“We’ve had a pretty honest conversation with the playing group about the reality of the numbers,” he said.

“We go into the (South Barwon) game trying to solve a few things, but, in some respects, you just keep it pretty normal.

“We’ve been able to prove we can mix it with the best, so we just need to get back to some basics.”

St Mary’s looks set to be boosted by the return of captain Jacob Welsh (calf) and assistant coach Ben Moloney (hand) for the clash with the Swans.

Both haven’t played since the Round 2 loss to Bell Park.

“That will give us a little bit of leadership out on the ground, and just a little bit more grunt,” Robertson said.

“We’ve certainly missed a few of those guys. It wasn’t ideal getting Ben to the club and only getting the first two rounds out of him.

“We’re hoping he comes up and adds little bit more class to our team.”

Jesse Travaglini (hamstring) is set to play his first game since injuring a hamstring in Round 1, while key defender Ryley Hall (ankle) and Dylan McMahon (knee) are also expected to be right

However, former Geelong midfielder Josh Cowan (arm) remains in doubt, while a foot issue could sideline young gun Jack Blood for at least a fortnight.

“He’s had a bit of rough trot lately,” Robertson said. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back soon, too.”

Twitter: @tom_king79