St Kilda stuck in reverse: Jones

ST Kilda champion Aussie Jones says the Saints need to get every decision right to pull themselves out of the mire – and the clubshouldstartby appointingMark Williams head coach.
Nanjing Night Net

Jones, the Bendigo Gold coach who played 226 games for the Saints, admitted he’s concerned about his former club.

Former coach Scott Watters’ sackingwas the latest episode in the Saints’dire yearand Jones said it’s tough to see the AFL club seemingly rudderless.

“I certainly don’t like it, I understand the messages coming from the club, but what the club needs to understand is the messages that we’re seeing,” Jones said.

“There doesn’t seem to be much leadership, or security, there atthe moment.”

Jones played in a successful erafor the Saints from1995 to 2005, which then led to heart-breaking Grand Final defeats in 2009 and ’10.

The dual-All Australian said the Saints seem to be heading backwards fast.

“When I first started the club rattled tins on street corners for survival, so I probably saw them go from that to certainly a much stronger club,” Jones said.

“And even after I left they got a lot stronger.They played some good footy under Ross (Lyon), and all that work seems to be undone at the moment.”

It was reported on Monday that St Kilda was preparing a shortlist of potential senior coaches, with Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams in pole position.

Aussie Jones says St Kilda should appoint Mark Williams as its new head coach.

“I think he’d be good,” Jones said.”I think he’s strong, I think he’s got a great blend of being able to deal with the elite players but being able to develop as well.

“I reckon the blend would be probably right for the club at the moment.

“He probably would be (my number one choice);I would have liked Alan Richardson actually, but obviously Port have built a culture within their club at the moment where people don’t want to leave.

“It’s what St Kilda have to get back to that once you’re in people want to stick around.”

Port showed the competition how quickly a club can turn its on-field fortunes around last season, but Jones doubts the Saints are in a position to follow suit.

“I can’t see the Saints doing the same thing in 2014, simply because the list is going the other way – they’ve gotten rid of some good players to bring in some youth,” he said.

Aussie Jones in action for St Kilda. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

“It can happen quick, but every decision from now needs to be the right one.”

Jones said he’d consider a role with the Saints if the club came calling, but also reaffirmed his commitment to the Gold.

“It would be very, very hard to say no,” he said.”It won’t be happening in 2014, that’s for sure, and I’ve committed to the club for 2015.

“But I’m still a passionate Saints man and even if it’s not in a role, if they asked me for advice or anything I’d certainly be happy to help.”

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