St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt said there had been "question marks" for 18 months before Saints coach Alan Richardson was sacked on Tuesday.
Richardson's six-year relationship with the Saints ended with the club languishing in 14th spot on the AFL ladder and highly unlikely to play finals for an eighth straight season.
Riewoldt speculated there could have been a weight lifted for St Kilda's senior players on Tuesday, due to the drawn out process of the axing.
"I wonder for the more mature players if there's even a pressure release today, because the build up has been so long and protracted and so relentless really, the question marks had been there for 18 months," Riewoldt told AFL360.
"The more senior players would be aware of the noise and aware of the pressure and aware of the struggles.
"I think it would have been eerie today (Wednesday), it would have been eerie."
Western Bulldogs legend Bob Murphy had four coaches sacked throughout his playing career and said each experience was different.
"The older you got, you felt it far more deeply," Murphy said.
"Plough (Terry Wallace) got dropped in my second year so there was no real relationship there but there was almost the shock, the shock of it being news ... you're almost watching it from afar.
"Peter Rhode gets sacked a few years later and I remember Chris Grant stood in front of the players after and said we should have a sense of guilt and that was a moment that stays with me to this day - of it's not he's out of the room and now we have a clean slate, it's like we have a level of responsibility of what has just happened and we need to feel that.
"When Rocket (Rodney Eade) was moved on it felt like the end of an era. Then I was 32 and Brendan McCartney is moved on and there was a sense of shame because of that responsibility you'd taken on."
Riewoldt agreed club's faced a more difficult task sacking a coach during the season because of the spotlight it put players under.
"The mid-year one is different. You've got to come out and train the next day and prepare for a game and go out and play and reputations are still at stake," Riewoldt said.
"The end of the season is an entirely different situation because you're not on show, out there putting your reputation at risk in terms of your performance."
Australian Associated Press