Saints see some good in Riewoldt absence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints see some good in Riewoldt absence

By Adam Cooper 03/07/2010 11:21:14 AM Comments (0)

Nick Riewoldt's pending AFL return is exciting everyone at St Kilda, but fellow forward Adam Schneider says the captain's absence has worked wonders for the Saints.

Riewoldt has overcome the hamstring tendon injury he suffered in round three and is close to returning, although the Saints will have to do without their key forward for at least one more game.

They will start favourites against Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Schneider said the hard work Riewoldt had displayed in regaining his fitness had impressed the club, but added the time the Saints had served without their best player would hold them in good stead for some time.

The Saints struggled in attack in the games initially after Riewoldt went out, but have since continually found ways to win and are currently riding a five-game winning streak after last week's impressive performance against Geelong.

"It's very pleasing to have come out and still be winning games of footy without Nick, Schneider said.

"We've quietly snuck under the radar and everyone was expecting us to lose and rely on Nick to come back and save us.

"So for us to have won 10 and (lost) three and be sitting second on the ladder, its a pretty good effort because we can't just rely on him to come in and win us games.

"We need the whole team to step up and do it, so it's been good to just get it done the past few weeks.

"We're happy with the way it's going and want to keep doing that, otherwise once we start relying on the one player were going to be in trouble."

St Kilda have filled the Riewoldt void in attack through regular goals from Stephen Milne (32 for the season), Schneider (21) and the midfielders (Brendon Goddard and Leigh Montagna have posted five-goal hauls in games).

They also unearthed another small forward last week in Jack Steven, who booted three goals against the Cats.

St Kilda's other challenge this year has been regularly dealing with crisis management.

The nine-week suspension imposed on tagger Steven Baker last Monday and the fallout from the ban was the latest challenge for the Saints.

Schneider said the players had developed a knack of not letting off-field matters become distracting, and instead using them as a motivating force.

"Everyone's sticking closer together, and we're a really tight team at the moment," he said.

"Once something does come up we talk about it, get it over and done with and focus on what were all about, playing together as a team and getting the job done.

"It's one of the great things we've done this year, whereas last year was pretty smooth sailing.

"This year we've had a few hiccups, but we've just done all our talking and done all of it on the field and not let anything bother us."

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