Saints reap benefits of investment - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints reap benefits of investment

By Guy Hand 25/09/2009 05:20:49 PM Comments (0)

With six grand finals and three premierships between them, St Kilda's foreign legion has elevated the club from AFL nearly-men to potential flag-winners.

While the Saints haven't been to a grand final since 1997 and haven't won a flag since 1966, four of their players have played in premiership deciders with other clubs.

Adam Schneider and Sean Dempster were premiership winners at Sydney and also played in the 2006 grand final defeat.

Ex-West Coast ruckman Michael Gardiner played in the Eagles' losing 2005 side, while King played for Saturday's opponents Geelong in the Cats' 2007 flag win.

All were recruited under current coach Ross Lyon, and St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt said their addition had provided exactly what the club needed.

"They've added some real depth, they're all experienced hard bodies and played in big games and achieved some very good things at other clubs," Riewoldt said.

"To come across and bring a level of professionalism and hard work, I think it's really complemented some younger guys we've got as well.

"We had a bit of a gap between the younger guys who came into the team a couple of years ago and the more senior players.

"They've bridged that gap."

The Saints' knack of recycling mature-age players from other clubs also extends to getting the best out of those maligned at their previous homes.

Ex-Western Bulldog Farren Ray and dumped Hawthorn defender Zac Dawson have improved markedly at St Kilda - both now firmly entrenched in St Kilda's best 22.

Lyon, an assistant to Paul Roos in Sydney's 2005 premiership, has also surrounded himself with coaching staff from winning cultures.

Former Carlton great Stephen Silvagni, ex-Geelong assistant Leigh Tudor, former North Melbourne assistant Tony Elshaug and ex-Sydney fitness conditioner Dave Misson all have been part of successful premiership campaigns.

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