Maguire still on the radar, say Saints - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maguire still on the radar, say Saints

By Robert Grant 26/06/2009 02:53:44 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon says the Saints won't leave defender Matt Maguire on the scrapheap, despite a run of injuries Lyon describes as "horrific".

Maguire has played just 14 games in the past two AFL seasons and, despite impressive form in the reserves this year, he has been unable to break back into a solid backline.

His past few years have been soured by a broken leg in 2006 as well as stress fractures and a separate broken bone in the same foot last year.

Lyon said on Friday Maguire was still a part of the side's plans but he would not alter a successful combination without good reason.

"He's playing quite good football in the VFL, he's carrying himself really well Monday to Friday," Lyon said.

"He's continually improving his body after what is a well-documented and horrific (leg) injury and it has taken time.

"The team is obviously playing very well - and there's not only Matt waiting for opportunities. I've got David Armitage and Jack Steven and Raf Clarke in the seconds.

"There are a number of players in the same position who are fighting to get a spot in the seniors.

"(But) while players keep delivering I'm just not going to make changes for the sake of it."

Lyon said the club made a special effort to ensure those on the sidelines remain motivated.

"I think it's honest feedback and letting them know where they need to improve," he said.

"Everyone on the list, particularly over the next 10 weeks, has got a real opportunity to improve their football to improve us collectively.

"It comes down to the individual's ability to persist and persevere and Matt has shown over a period of time now that's a great strength of his.

"He understands clearly where he's at and what he's go to do.

"We do have some empathy. I've been a player and we do understand how much work they invest into themselves and their football.

"We respect all that but by the same token the team comes first."

Veteran Max Hudghton is set to retire at the end of this year and Lyon said the club saw Maguire as an important tall defender in their future plans.

Meanwhile, former West Coast ruckman Michael Gardiner, whose career has been rekindled at St Kilda, if blighted by injury, will play his 150th game against Richmond on Sunday.

Lyon issued a vote of confidence in Gardiner despite his stop-start selection over the past two-and-a-half years.

"Certainly he has had challenges (but) he's built a lot of trust here," Lyon said.

"He's looked me in the eye and said, this is what I'll commit to.

"Looking back I think we sit with some satisfaction and some pleasure for Michael in that he's delivered on that.

"He's been able to grow and rehabilitate his body and he's playing some reasonable football," he said.

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