Saints drop Ball for clash with Crows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints drop Ball for clash with Crows

By Adam Cooper 17/07/2009 06:23:23 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda have made a strong statement at selection in their bid to continue improving this AFL season, by dropping midfielder Luke Ball for the first time in his career for Sunday's twilight clash with Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

Ball, the player selected immediately before Chris Judd in the 2001 national draft and a former Saints captain, was axed after gathering just nine disposals in last Sunday's win over West Coast in Perth.

He had just 14 disposals the week before, in the win over Geelong.

Ball, who has played 137 games since 2003, is the first high-profile casualty of coach Ross Lyon's edict this season that St Kilda must keep the foot to the floor despite their unbeaten start to the season.

The Saints have won their first 15 games.

Lyon has ruled out resting players at this point of the season, and football manager Greg Hutchison confirmed Ball's omission was form-related.

"The coach has spoken to Luke about areas where he needs to improve, and we've taken a lot of things into account, and unfortunately in Luke's case, he's made way," Hutchison said.

"He's obviously disappointed, but he understands it's a team game and there's areas he's got to improve on and work on."

Fit-again goalsneak Adam Schneider replaced Ball, while ruckman Steven King, who has served his four-game suspension for his shirtfront on North Melbourne's Sam Power, replaced Ben McEvoy.

The Saints will be hopeful Ball can bounce back the same way teammates Nick Dal Santo and Stephen Milne did last year, when banished to the VFL in round 13.

But Ball must wait at least a week to make an impression in the VFL, as the Casey Scorpions have the bye this weekend.

Adelaide confirmed high-flying forward Brett Burton would make his comeback against the Saints, in what will be his first AFL game since round 15 last year, when he suffered a serious knee injury.

Burton replaced veteran midfielder Tyson Edwards, who is out of the game because of a hamstring injury.

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