Infotainment Factory: Lloyd: How Slater can save Saints

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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Lloyd: How Slater can save Saints


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AFL legend Matthew Lloyd says Billy Slater's appointment in a coaching role with St Kilda might be the innovative appointment that helps Alan Richardson save his job.

The Saints' senior coach is yet to lead his team to a top eight finish in five seasons at the helm and after facing huge scrutiny on the way to 16th this season Richardson survived as three of his assistants got the chop.

Another poor season will almost certainly cost Richardson his job.

While he'll have plenty of fresh faces in his support staff to lean on in search of winning football in 2019, Lloyd said Melbourne Storm legend Slater's history as a winner could provide the club with the x-factor it needs to get a dramatic lift in performance.

Slater set for Saints switch

"To hear the announcement of Billy Slater, it's just great to think outside the square and get ideas from people outside the sport of AFL," Lloyd told Wide World of Sports.

"He's one of the most respected sportsmen in Melbourne, even though AFL's the number one sport.

"Alan Richardson, he's under pressure for his position, he needs a good season, so I think having Billy Slater there to talk about some of the things that Craig Bellamy did to get his players going and the systems and how he handled them day-to-day, that could be a massive positive for the Saints."

St Kilda have got one of the least imposing leadership groups in the AFL and Lloyd said it would be important for captain Jarryn Geary and his lieutenants to soak up as much as they could from Slater.

"The St Kilda leadership group, the senior group, they've got an unassuming captain in Jarryn Geary and it's not as though they've got a strong senior core of players who lead well, because I don't think any of them have had too much success over time," Lloyd said.

"So I think that's where Billy's going to be worth his weight in gold because like I said, they don't know what success really is at St Kilda, so I think that's where he becomes really important."

At the other end of the spectrum is the kids arriving in an environment where excellence hasn't been achieved for a long time.

Lloyd said if Slater could help even a couple of them understand what it takes to succeed at the highest level the flow-on effect could be huge for the club.

"He might speak to 40 blokes and some guys will never change but there might be one bloke who listens to Billy Slater where it just triggers something for them," Lloyd said.

"Whereas Alan Richardson could have told him 10 times but it might just be the way Billy delivers it, or Billy's coming in from the outside and it just triggers something off in them.

"If he can improve a handful of guys he'll have a big win, because as I said there are some guys you can never help.

"Billy just walks in with instant impact because of the aura and the respect he's got here in Melbourne, so I just look forward to seeing what he can do with the team."

AFL introduces new set of rules

While Slater's appointment is the first example of a Storm player taking a coaching role with an AFL club, Lloyd said the rival code had been awake to the lessons the Storm could deliver for the last three or four years.

It's why coach Craig Bellamy was invited to address Collingwood in the week leading into their preliminary final upset win over Richmond.

Such is the respect for the Storm as a sporting organisation, Slater's appointment may not end up being unique.

"In Melbourne there's a lot of talk about the Melbourne Storm being just about the most successful sporting organisation in Australia," Lloyd said.

"They've said that about the Storm for about 4-5 years. So between iconic names like Craig Bellamy, obviously Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, the names roll off the tongue and they've just got nothing but respect.

"So when a guy like Billy Slater retires I think it's a great initiative by St Kilda to think about bringing them into their environment because a lot of clubs only think about AFL people."

AFL legend Matthew Lloyd says Billy Slater's appointment in a coaching role with St Kilda might be the innovative appointment that helps Alan Richardson save his job.

The Saints' senior coach is yet to lead his team to a top eight finish in five seasons at the helm and after facing huge scrutiny on the way to 16th this season Richardson survived as three of his assistants got the chop.

Another poor season will almost certainly cost Richardson his job.

While he'll have plenty of fresh faces in his support staff to lean on in search of winning football in 2019, Lloyd said Melbourne Storm legend Slater's history as a winner could provide the club with the x-factor it needs to get a dramatic lift in performance.

Slater set for Saints switch

"To hear the announcement of Billy Slater, it's just great to think outside the square and get ideas from people outside the sport of AFL," Lloyd told Wide World of Sports.

"He's one of the most respected sportsmen in Melbourne, even though AFL's the number one sport.

"Alan Richardson, he's under pressure for his position, he needs a good season, so I think having Billy Slater there to talk about some of the things that Craig Bellamy did to get his players going and the systems and how he handled them day-to-day, that could be a massive positive for the Saints."

St Kilda have got one of the least imposing leadership groups in the AFL and Lloyd said it would be important for captain Jarryn Geary and his lieutenants to soak up as much as they could from Slater.

"The St Kilda leadership group, the senior group, they've got an unassuming captain in Jarryn Geary and it's not as though they've got a strong senior core of players who lead well, because I don't think any of them have had too much success over time," Lloyd said.

"So I think that's where Billy's going to be worth his weight in gold because like I said, they don't know what success really is at St Kilda, so I think that's where he becomes really important."

At the other end of the spectrum is the kids arriving in an environment where excellence hasn't been achieved for a long time.

Lloyd said if Slater could help even a couple of them understand what it takes to succeed at the highest level the flow-on effect could be huge for the club.

"He might speak to 40 blokes and some guys will never change but there might be one bloke who listens to Billy Slater where it just triggers something for them," Lloyd said.

"Whereas Alan Richardson could have told him 10 times but it might just be the way Billy delivers it, or Billy's coming in from the outside and it just triggers something off in them.

"If he can improve a handful of guys he'll have a big win, because as I said there are some guys you can never help.

"Billy just walks in with instant impact because of the aura and the respect he's got here in Melbourne, so I just look forward to seeing what he can do with the team."

AFL introduces new set of rules

While Slater's appointment is the first example of a Storm player taking a coaching role with an AFL club, Lloyd said the rival code had been awake to the lessons the Storm could deliver for the last three or four years.

It's why coach Craig Bellamy was invited to address Collingwood in the week leading into their preliminary final upset win over Richmond.

Such is the respect for the Storm as a sporting organisation, Slater's appointment may not end up being unique.

"In Melbourne there's a lot of talk about the Melbourne Storm being just about the most successful sporting organisation in Australia," Lloyd said.

"They've said that about the Storm for about 4-5 years. So between iconic names like Craig Bellamy, obviously Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, the names roll off the tongue and they've just got nothing but respect.

"So when a guy like Billy Slater retires I think it's a great initiative by St Kilda to think about bringing them into their environment because a lot of clubs only think about AFL people."

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