Saints 'bubble' won't break - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints 'bubble' won't break

By Roger Vaughan 26/06/2010 04:43:21 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda's self-described "bubble" is more like an impenetrable force field.

Just as the AFL club referred to "Saints footy" last season on their way to the grand final, a succession of off-field distractions this year has them talking about that bubble.

They were outstanding again on Friday night, recovering from a tough second term to keep top side Geelong scoreless in the second half and win by 24 points.

The grand final rematch came only a couple of days after players Stephen Milne and Leigh Montagna were in the spotlight.

Complaints by two former detectives put renewed focus on a 2004 Victorian Police investigation into a rape accusation against Milne, where Montagna was also involved as a potential witness.

Milne and Montagna strongly denied the allegation.

Team-mate Farren Ray said the whole team made sure the issue did not affect their lead-up to the Geelong match.

"That should be highly written about, the St Kilda bubble - we always talk about that," Ray said.

"Ross (coach Ross Lyon) says it all the time, it just triggers our preparation.

"Whenever something happens, we just resort back to football.

"The other day ... what we did was, bang, we had a meeting, we studied Geelong and we got onto (the game).

"We don't let it affect us."

Ray said St Kilda's ability to cope with several off-field dramas this year, plus the extended absence of captain Nick Riewoldt, was testament to the strength of the club.

"When something happens at a club ... it brings a lot of focus onto them and the playing gets a bit harder," he said.

"There have been a few things that have happened this year, I won't talk about them, but the club seems to gel together.

"It's a great club, a great bunch of guys, it's just an amazing club."

One of the features of Friday night's win was the performance of lower-profile Saints players such as defender James Gwilt, who was nearly best afield.

He and Jason Blake were outstanding on Cats forwards James Podsiadly and Cameron Mooney.

Gwilt did not want to talk up his own game, but the win made it a memorable night.

"I'm just happy to do my role, but probably in terms of the win it was probably one of the best," he said.

"They're an awesome team, they've been a great side for the last three or four years, it's right up there.

"It's another stepping stone for me.

Gwilt was asked if the third term was the Saints' best football of the year so far.

"Collectively? it was I reckon - our game plan was working and everyone was doing their role, things just flowed," he said.

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