Jones praises new Saints coach
Jones praises new Saints coach

St Kilda's encouraging 2-0 start has come on the back of first-year coach Alan Richardson instilling incredible belief and demanding a relentless competitive mindset, according to WA midfielder Clint Jones.

The Saints were one of the favourites to finish last this season after losing Nick Dal Santo to North Melbourne and fellow star Ben McEvoy to Hawthorn following the retirements of Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke and Jason Blake at the end of last season.

But St Kilda have beaten Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney in the first two weeks to give them a perfect start to the Richardson era.

Saturday's match against West Coast at Patersons Stadium looms as a far sterner test, but Jones said Richardson's philosophies gave the team enormous confidence.

"Our motto at the moment is that we want to be involved in games for as long as we can," Jones said. "That gives us a chance to win.

"Our pressure, our contests and our tackles have been really strong and that's something Richo has been really strong on as well.

"If we keep doing those things, we should be in games right up until the end. He's come in and from day one has said that we are going to be a hard-working side."

Jones, 30, said St Kilda's pre- season, which included a camp in Colorado, had been one of the toughest of his career and one of the main reasons for his own fantastic form.

The former South Fremantle player had a career-high 39 disposals in round one and followed that with 26 possessions against the Giants.

Having made his name as a tagger, Richardson has released Jones to play more attacking football and he's relished the change.

"It certainly can be pretty tiring and pretty stressful tagging week in, week out," Jones said. "To be able to have a different role is refreshing.

"I spent a fair bit of the pre- season playing up forward. In today's game, you can't play as a mid for the whole game, so to be able to play forward and mid adds a bit of flexibility to my game."

Now a veteran of 135 games, Jones has marvelled at captain Nick Riewoldt's performances this season. The key forward has averaged 23 possessions, 13 marks and four goals from his first two outings and looms as a huge threat to West Coast.

"His first two rounds have been up there with his best footy," Jones said.

"It certainly can be pretty tiring and pretty stressful tagging week in, week out.""St Kilda's *Clint Jones *

The West Australian

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