Saints 'can challenge' in AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints 'can challenge' in AFL finals

By Robert Grant 25/08/2008 03:15:58 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda can be a force in next month's AFL finals despite a season of patchy form, according to classy on-baller Nick Dal Santo.

The Saints sealed their place in the top eight with a big win over Adelaide on Sunday and are poised to finish as high as fifth, with the prospect of a home final.

For the first half of the season they were battling to remain in sight of the pacesetters.

But a revitalised team has charged into the September play-offs on the back of a string of healthy wins.

And now Dal Santo says they are not there to provide fodder for rivals intent on moving towards the grand final.

"We've got as good a chance as everybody else," Dal Santo said.

"Obviously there's a couple of teams that are top that have dominated the competition for the last 18 months.

"We give ourselves every chance and as long as we prepare right, we'll take it as it comes."

He warned there was more to come from the Saints, who are now playing their best football of the year.

"We probably haven't put a full game together which we've been really happy with but there's definitely three quarters or half a game which is how we'd like to play our football.

"And I think we've been putting some good scores on the board and also stopping the opposition so if we can do that for four quarters we'll give ourselves every chance to be successful.

"We were obviously a little up-and-down towards the start of the year and I think with two breaks this year we've come back pretty well and won seven of our last nine games.

"So it's definitely positive and hopefully we've got a little bit more improvement in us.

There is a remote chance, depending on other results, that St Kilda could finish fourth and earn a double chance

"I don't know a lot about our position and what we need to happen but I think we need a few teams to lose and for us to have a pretty comfortable win."

But before that is this week's final home-and-away game against Essendon at Telstra Dome on Sunday.

Dal Santo said the club still needed to win to ensure it's best possible position for the finals.

"We're in no position to take any week for granted," he said. "This week's obviously nice and we know where we are but we've still got a big game ahead of us," he said.

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