Lyon hails mighty Milne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lyon hails mighty Milne

By Roger Vaughan 09/06/2010 08:08:55 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has praised small forward Stephen Milne for how he withstood plenty of pressure this AFL season.

Milne, 30, will play his 200th senior game this Sunday when the third-placed Saints play fourth side Fremantle at Subiaco.

The heat was already on Milne after last year's grand final loss, when he could only manage two behinds.

Then came the round-three win over Collingwood, where he exchanged insults with Magpies coach Mick Malthouse at quarter-time and Saints captain Nick Riewoldt suffered a long-term hamstring injury.

Milne dealt with the fallout from the Malthouse incident and has kicked 26 goals in 11 games this season, including two bags of five since Riewoldt's injury.

Lyon chuckled when it was suggested on Wednesday that the Dockers might target Milne in Sunday's game.

"I'd target him, too - he's kicking a few goals," Lyon said.

"This year you've seen Stephen targeted by a lot of people, haven't you? He certainly hasn't crumbled under any pressure.

"It's the way he's getting his goals, he's really coming up at the ball.

"It's not just a goal at any cost, it's a goal within the team parameters - leading, crumbing and pressuring.

"He's a real team player and a real leader of the forward line, he's stood up under real pressure."

Milne is known as "Yapper" and typical of many small forwards, he polarises opinion - Saints fans love him, opposition supporters loathe him.

He has kicked an impressive 403 goals in his 199 matches and Lyon said Milne ranks with the game's top small forwards.

"It's a feather in his cap - you can't beat your critics, you can't answer your critics, all you can do is persist and have some longevity in your career and keep producing," Lyon said.

"That's the ultimate revenge, isn't it?

"It's a pretty special effort to play 200 games - a small forward (role) is really tough.

"You try and identify the great ones - (Peter) Daicos, Brett Allison was outstanding, (Darren) Bewick.

"He certainly sits up around there somewhere ... obviously we value him internally."

Lyon also laughed off comments by Dockers coach Mark Harvey, who was critical of the AFL funding some teams' Perth charter flights.

The Saints are set to charter a flight home from the Dockers game but will pay for it themselves.

"Is he ever happy, Harvs? He's hitting up at short breaks, what else is he hitting up? He's hitting up a few things, isn't he? - drafting, injuries," Lyon said.

"I saw him at the Hall Of Fame (function last week), he was a bit happier there.

"We just looked after our own footy club and control what we can control.

"It's just a nice little topic there, isn't it? We're certainly not going to buy into that."

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