MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Alan Richardson, Senior Coach of the Saints looks on during the 2018 AFL round 10 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 26, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

In the lead up to the 2014 season, Peter Summers, the President of St Kilda made a big call in front of all the players, supporters and all of the key personnel at the proud club.

Summers predicted the Saints would be a top four side by 2018 and win a premiership by 2020.

After they narrowly missed the finals in 2017, there was much optimism about the 2018 season and a finals berth was a real possibility with a top four finish not out of the question.

When two of their greats, Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna retired at the end of last season, experts still felt as though the Saints had the players to push for a finals berth in 2018.

The season got off to a good start with a 25-point win over the Lions and the fans were up and about and thinking this year was the year for the Saints to be a finals contender again.

A combination of injuries and lack of form from key players has meant the 2018 season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Saints.

The loss of these two superstars has hurt the Saints a lot more than people expected. Not only have they missed their on-field leadership and obvious class but their replacements have struggled both through poor form and injury.

Tim Membrey has been the shadow of the player he was last year, Josh Bruce has been dealing with injuries and hasn’t reached the heights expected of him and Paddy McCartin continues to be affected by concussion and other injuries.

One of their other marquee players, 2013 number three draft pick, Jack Billings has found himself in the VFL.

To his credit he did rack up 53 touches on the weekend but he is too good to be playing in the VFL.

You have to question if Alan Richardson has lost the players or have people underestimated the loss of Riewoldt and Montagna.

They are winless now in eleven games and since their round one win to Brisbane they have only managed a draw against the undermanned GWS Giants.

The Saints have slumped to sixteenth on the ladder and this Saturday afternoon at Metricon they face a battle for the wooden spoon with the Gold Coast.

After they won their first two games of the year, the Suns have struggled and currently sit in fifteenth position on the ladder.

Whilst the players should take responsibility, as is always the case with modern football, the man under most pressure is Richardson.

His frustration was clear last Saturday night when his side gave up the first nine goals of the game to the Swans and it resulted in Richardson giving his young side an almighty spray at quarter time.

The Saints showed glimpses after quarter time, however they still went down by 71 points and this Saturday afternoon is a huge game against the Suns.

Make no mistake this will not be an easy game either for the Saints, the Suns have slumped to two big losses in a row themselves and are at their home ground in Metricon Stadium. They will be just as desperate for a win.

Richardson still has another year left on his contract but if the Saints were to lose to the Suns this Saturday then the pressure will mount even further and the President’s job could be on the line as well.