Saints coach keen to follow Cats' lead - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints coach keen to follow Cats' lead

14/04/2009 06:18:39 PM Comments (0)

Before St Kilda try to beat Geelong this season, coach Ross Lyon wants his Saints to become them.

Lyon refers to the Cats as the AFL's "benchmark" team and is using them as an example for his players.

St Kilda made last year's preliminary finals, but there was a widespread speculation that they would falter this season.

Instead, the Saints have started with three impressive wins and now Lyon is demanding they maintain their intensity.

The Saints will start strong favourites this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium when they host winless Fremantle.

"All coaches, no doubt, want their players to perform with intensity week-in, week-out," Lyon said.

"What we've spoken about is clearly the benchmark team is Geelong and they were able to tick that box off last weekend against Collingwood, in another big game.

"Where we want to head to as a team is towards the benchmark and we've spoken about our ability to reproduce that intensity consistently and what you've got to be able to do, to do that.

"We believe it comes from preparation and preparing the mind and the body, each week the same."

Lyon also wryly noted that three weeks is a long time in football, adding that the hounds will be baying for his blood in three weeks' time should the Saints go without a win in that period.

"All I know is the best team of the last two years is undefeated, they're still the benchmark team," he said.

"Is is any coincidence that three of last year's top four are undefeated and Hawthorn have had significant injuries? I'm not sure it is a coincidence."

Lyon is looking forward to the big tests against those top-four sides, starting with the Western Bulldogs on May 3, but he is also acutely aware not to look too far ahead.

Lyon described Fremantle as a team under siege and said his players had to be wary of how that situation could galvanise the Dockers.

The Saints are unlikely to make any changes this week as they try to build on their solid start.

"We are pretty keen to promote the 22 who are delivering for us," he said.

"There are a few pushing up (through the VFL), but they will have to bang down the door if everyone (in the senior side) keeps delivering on what they need to do for the team.

"It's not really a dilemma, it's a position we've worked hard to create."

Ruckman Michael Gardiner is certainly a reason the Saints have improved with his impressive start to the season.

But Lyon has no intention to give the big man special treatment through the season, despite his history of injuries.

"I hope the lacquer bands hold him together - Michael and I had a laugh about that today," Lyon said.

"I'd rather him wear out than rust out."

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