Saints set to go pretty strong: Lyon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints set to go pretty strong: Lyon

By Adam Cooper 07/03/2010 03:28:15 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has made it clear player management will top the pressure to beat the Western Bulldogs in the AFL pre-season final on Saturday night.

Although excited to play off for some silverware at Etihad Stadium, Lyon said the Saints did not need to impress as much as they did when they reached the pre-season final two years ago.

"In '08 we'd come off a poor year and missed the finals (in 2007) and we played Adelaide and it was really nice to get across the line," Lyon said after the Saints thrashed Fremantle in Saturday night's semi-final at Etihad Stadium.

"It was 38 degrees and we still managed our players, but it was nice to go interstate and get a win.

"This one's at home and I think as a club we've got a bit more momentum and a bit more confidence about what we stand for and how we play.

"I think we'll go pretty strong, but we'll have to balance up the risk versus reward at times, particularly with player management."

In contrast to the 2008 pre-season, St Kilda are coming off a great year, as they won the minor premiership in 2009 only to be pipped by Geelong in the grand final.

Captain Nick Riewoldt is expected to return along with fellow star Brendon Goddard after both were rested on Saturday night, while Lyon said ruckman Michael Gardiner was also a chance to return from knee soreness.

But midfield star Lenny Hayes will miss the clash after he injured his calf against Fremantle.

The Saints expect Hayes and utility Jason Blake, who was withdrawn before Saturday night's game as a precaution because of back tightness, to both be available for round one.

Lyon said the Saints were pleased to reach the final and play another top team in the Bulldogs, whom St Kilda beat in last year's preliminary final in the season proper.

"We're excited to be in a quality game and it can help with membership and some prizemoney and we stay in Melbourne, we don't travel and play in front of what should be a full house," Lyon said.

"So there's a lot of positives if you exclude the Lenny hiccup."

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