Saints coach still backing Koschitzke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints coach still backing Koschitzke

By Roger Vaughan 11/05/2010 07:54:37 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon will keep backing Justin Koschitzke, saying their attack was not to blame for the AFL shocker against Carlton.

Koschitzke has become a whipping boy at the Saints and he only kicked one behind in Monday night's 61-point loss at Etihad Stadium.

It was the Saints' biggest losing margin under Lyon and their worst performance since the 2008 finals thrashings from Geelong and Hawthorn.

There have been frequent calls for Koschitzke to go into the ruck and these will become louder after ruckman Steven King suffered a hamstring injury against the Blues.

The Saints will know more about the extent of King's injury on Wednesday, with Ben McEvoy likely to come into the side.

But Lyon wants to keep Koschitzke as a key forward as they try to cope without captain Nick Riewoldt, out for about 12 weeks after hamstring surgery.

"It's hard to judge our forwards, we didn't give them a lot of opportunity, we were smashed out of the centre square bounces, annihilated in there," Lyon said.

"A few of our forwards looked lively, we just couldn't get the ball to them.

It was about quality ball and momentum coming in, you wouldn't want to be a forward (last night)."

AFL sides analyse each other relentlessly, but the other 14 clubs will spend extra time going over their DVDs from Monday night.

Carlton smashed St Kilda's renowned team defence - a competition benchmark - and used leg speed to constantly throw them off balance.

The Blues coaching staff also deserve great credit for the matchups, particularly Andrew Carrazzo's tagging job on Nick Sal Santo and Jordan Russell's run off halfback.

But it will take a lot more than one bad loss to shake Lyon's faith in their game plan, which has been rock-solid for more than a season.

"I still think we're at where the game has gone, with team defences," Lyon said.

"I'm not really concerned - it's about application and execution."

Lyon put on a calm face at the post-match media conference and managed a smile, but admitted he was struggling to control his emotions.

While he was generous in his praise of Carlton, Lyon was undoubtedly fuming over his team's lack of effort.

"We really never looked like it - it was the last thing I expected, coming here, I haven't felt like that for a long, long time," he said.

"The aim is to turn it around quickly.

"They were, on that night, too good for us - their pressure and their stoppage work, their forwards were really good.

"I can handle skill errors, but I like to see real effort - it was unlike us, unlike the Saints."

The Saints only have a five-day break before playing Essendon on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

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