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‘He wants to help us win, we certainly love him as our coach’ – Saints midfielder goes into bat for under pressure coach

St Kilda youngster Blake Acres says that the playing group is fully behind embattled coach Alan Richardson who seemingly goes into 2019 with his job in jeopardy after a 4 and a half win season in 2018.

Acres, who has played 53 games in six seasons at St Kilda says the players need to hold up their end of the bargain this year in order to take the pressure of Alan Richardson.

“He wants to help us win, he has a really good vision and as players we need to hold up our end of the bargain. We love him as the coach.” Acres told Rohan Connolly on the RoCo show on Wednesday.

Speculation was rife at the end of last season that Richardson’s job was on the line, with some saying he wasn’t going to see 2019. Saints footy boss Simon Lethlean publicly endorsed the coach, but many believe 2019 will be make or break for Richardson. Acres says he doesn’t really listen to any speculation.

“I don’t think he takes much notice of what people outside the club say about him. He only cares about what happens inside the footy club.”

“He has been a lot more relaxed. He has been able to take a step back with the new coaches coming in.”

Acres says he agrees with David Armitage’s comments that the Saints might surprise a few people this year, stating that last year was one bad season after nearly making finals in 2017.

“Last year wasn’t great, but if you look at the two seasons prior to that, we missed out on the finals by percentage in one season and finished just outside the eight in another, so we are confident we can get back to that level pretty quick. A lot of guys want to make up for what happened last season.”

The 23-year old who has battled injury and inconsistency in his six seasons believes the club recruited some great players in the off season with former Essendon VFL player Nick Hind impressing in pre season so far.

“Nick was in the defensive group the other day and he is quick. I worry that when I have the ball in match simulation he is just going to sneak up behind me and run me down. He is a great player.”

Acres says he has no intentions of returning to home state Western Australia to play his football as he has two years left on his contract.

“No, I have two years to run on my contract, I have no intention of returning to Western Australia, my mum always wants me to come home, but I am loving Melbourne and will be here for a while.”

St Kilda kick off their 2019 campaign against the Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium before tackling Essendon in Round 2 before tackling Fremantle in Perth and Melbourne at the MCG.

Listen to Blake Acres chat with Rohan Connolly below