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Push for Saints' Goddard up front in AFL

By Adam Cooper 17/04/2010 11:49:52 AM Comments (0)

Expect St Kilda's forwards' coach Leigh Tudor to be more forthright in his wish for Brendon Goddard to play in attack for most of this AFL season.

Goddard, St Kilda's star utility, will be in demand more than ever over the next few months, as the Saints pursue how best to replace superstar forward Nick Riewoldt, who is sidelined indefinitely through a hamstring injury.

St Kilda must not only cover the loss of Riewoldt, but fellow tall forward Justin Koschitzke against Fremantle on Sunday night, when the two unbeaten sides clash at Etihad Stadium.

Koschitzke has one more game to serve of suspension, which means the Saints will field a makeshift attack against the Dockers.

Although Goddard plays most of his football in the middle of the ground, his mobility, long kicking and knack of taking a strong mark means Tudor would like the 24-year-old at his disposal regularly.

"It's always interesting at match committee because (defensive coach) Stephen Silvagni wants him in the backline, (midfield coach) Tony Elshaug wants him in the midfield and I want him in the forward line," Tudor told AAP.

"He's so versatile that he can play a variety of different positions, and last year when we played Freo, he kicked four goals early in the first quarter.

"He's able to do that, so he's definitely one who will be considered for playing forward again."

Tudor expected the Saints to piece together an attack most weeks while Riewoldt was out, although he said they prefer two big men as marking targets.

That means No.1 ruck Michael Gardiner is an option deep in the forward line, while untried big man Rhys Stanley and former Tiger Adam Pattison could also be used there in coming games.

Tudor said regardless of who played forward, the Saints needed everyone to work harder to cover the loss of their skipper, just as they did in the second half of last week's win over Collingwood.

"I've got no doubt they can do that, they're a really good group to work with, they're really dedicated to playing the way that (coach) Ross (Lyon) wants them to play," Tudor said.

"Even last year when we went down to Tassie and played Hawthorn with quite a few of our handy guys out, the way the boys played that game is what we expect from them.

"Anyone who pulls on a St Kilda jumper is playing that style, so we'd like to think in the next few weeks and few months, we can still play that style of football."

Tudor rated Fremantle "a big test" as the Dockers have improved their kicking and defensive skills in the year since the sides last played, when St Kilda won by 83 points.

The game is also a big one for goalsneak Stephen Milne after the ugly spat he had with Magpies' coach Mick Malthouse at quarter-time in round three, an exchange that incurred a fine for both men.

Tudor was confident Milne's "bubbly personality" had ensured the fallout would have no impact on his performance.

"His record's outstanding, there's not too many small forwards playing the game with a record like his (191 games for 382 goals)," Tudor said.

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