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Saints insist Riewoldt will play

24/08/2009 06:59:16 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt is confident his knee will handle the rigours of the AFL finals after his injury treatment sent the Saints into damage control on Monday.

Riewoldt was a no-show at the Saints' morning recovery session and also skipped a club announcement in the afternoon as he underwent scans on his right knee, which was sore after Sunday's five-point defeat to North Melbourne.

As Riewoldt did his best to evade television camera, Saints football manager Greg Hutchison - speaking at the site of the club's $10 million training facility - said he was unaware where the side's best player was or if he was undergoing scans.

Amid speculation Riewoldt's injury was serious, the Saints later contacted a radio station and the star forward said he was optimistic his knee was fine.

"My knee feels really good," Riewoldt told SEN.

"In consultation with the doctors they just wanted to tick every box and make sure they ruled out anything, so I've been in for a scan this afternoon.

"I obviously don't know the results of the scans at all, but I'd be very, very surprised if it was anything at all.

"I'm walking fine, so I just wanted to put that to bed."

Riewoldt suffered a corked knee while trying to tackle North's Liam Anthony in the last quarter at Etihad Stadium, but played the game out and even had the last shot for goal.

But his kick from 55 metres was touched on the line.

The Saints, having lost two straight after 19 wins, will be fired up to punish bottom side Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday and Hutchison was confident Riewoldt would play.

"It's round 22, so it's pretty important that we get all the ones out there that we want playing in the first week of the finals," he said.

"As far as I know he has just suffered a corky during the course of the game in the last quarter.

"He played out the game and you would expect that where we rate him as a player if there was anything in doubt then we would not have played him."

Vice-captain Lenny Hayes expects to return after withdrawing from last Sunday's game because of illness.

Hutchison said veteran fullback Max Hudghton, who experienced hamstring tightness while playing in the VFL on Saturday, should also be available.

The Saints conceded some of their players had recently been thinking too far ahead to the finals, having been assured of winning the minor premiership since round 19.

"We've had that top spot stitched up for a while and I suppose it shows that in this game if you're a couple of per cent off, it doesn't matter who you play, you put yourself in danger," Hayes said.

"All year we've really focused on who we're coming up against the next week and I don't think you can afford to look too far ahead because if you do you get found out.

"We will be concentrating on Melbourne this week and having a really good performance going into the finals.

"It's important that we come out and we play some good hard Saints footy."

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