Dean Laidley spent only two years in St Kilda's coaching hierarchy, but that was enough for him to know how its on-field leaders will react to last week's 145-point obliteration when it faces his new club, Carlton, on Monday night.
"Nick Riewoldt and the [other] leaders at the St Kilda Football Club are outstanding people. You can talk about Nick and you can talk about Lenny (Hayes) and certainly 'Joey' (Leigh) Montagna. There's been a fair bit said over the past week or so about them, and I think it's so far from the truth and the way they've gone about it," said Laidley, an assistant coach at the Blues.
"What they've done for the football club, what they've done for the supporters of the football club, what they've done for the young players has been unbelievable. Quality men, and they've really bought into what 'Richo' [Alan Richardson, coach] is doing."
While St Kilda, which has stuttered after an unexpectedly solid start to the season, was smashed by Hawthorn in round seven, Laidley said he was bracing for the Saints to be "red-hot on Monday night – and they'll be led by those guys".
"They've got great pride, the three that we've spoken about, and they're great leaders. They'll be certainly stung by that performance," he said.
Laidley also made the point that the other time the Saints were smashed this season, by 86 points at home to Adelaide in round four, they followed that with a 16-point win over Essendon the following week.
In the past two years the Blues' defeat by St Kilda in this regular Monday-night fixture has dented their finals hopes.
Laidley was a party to both victories by the Saints, and in his new role played down the significance of those results on the outcome this time around. Instead, he said whichever team was more disciplined and better adhered to its instructions was likely to triumph.
Since Carlton was thumped by Collingwood a week and a half ago – an eight-goal final quarter cut the margin to 34, flattering the Blues – Laidley said the unusually long break had given it an opportunity to work on footballing drills the coaches are usually stymied from holding, due to fitness concerns.
"It's been really positive for us because we came off a couple of six-day breaks," he said. "We've used this week to regenerate, recover . . . we've been able to have a couple of really good footy sessions.
"In those six-day breaks we hadn't really trained a lot, but we've been able to have a couple of really good sessions this week, to get out on the track and practise some stuff."
Should the Blues win on Monday night they conceivably have an opportunity to win three matches in a row, as they will face Adelaide and Brisbane after their bye in round 10. Rather than focus on those upcoming opponents, however, Laidley said he was more encouraged by the possibility to regaining first-choice players from injury.
"The team's been a bit of a revolving door that if we do everything right to get a result on Monday night we can have a break, and after the break we should get back at least probably three or four players, which will be really good for the side," he said.
The most significant of those absentees, former captain Chris Judd, has resumed running after the hamstring strain he suffered in round five, and is progressively increasing his running intensity.
Laidley said he was hopeful the inspirational midfielder would be available to return against the Crows in round 10.
"If it's not that week it'll be probably the next," Laidley said.