Saints coach gets behind Koschitzke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints coach gets behind Koschitzke

By Greg Buckle 21/08/2010 07:02:23 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has leapt to the defence of Justin Koschitzke, saying he has been behind the key forward all season and it has only been media critics who have been on his back.

The inconsistent big man booted five goals in an entertaining double act with skipper Nick Riewoldt (three) as the third-placed Saints scored a 21-point win over Richmond in their round-21 clash at Etihad Stadium.

Koschitzke had kicked only 19 goals in his previous 15 AFL games this season and Saints fans among the crowd of 33,944 would have been thrilled with the Riverina product's performance on Saturday, two weeks out from a finals campaign.

However Lyon gave the impression the 197cm Koschitzke, who had 13 possessions and took seven marks, had been flying high all season and why the fuss?

"I thought he was solid. You'd rather kick them than not kick them," Lyon said.

"Let's put this two-way conversation into context, I've been okay with Justin.

"It's been your side of the fence (the media) that hasn't. To me coming here and leaving, nothing's really changed for me.

"I've been pretty consistent all year with Justin.

"He did the same as previous weeks, enough to retain his spot in the side and help make us function. He kicked a few more obviously."

Lyon was a little more enthusiastic when discussing the likely return of Lenny Hayes, Clint Jones, Zac Dawson and ruckman Michael Gardiner next week, and tagger Steven Baker for the finals series following suspension.

St Kilda travel to Adelaide to play the Crows next Saturday.

"We achieved what we wanted," Lyon said.

"We exposed (eighth-gamer David) Armitage and I thought (debutant) Luke Miles was a real bonus for us.

"I liked what I saw there to provide some clarity going forward with our list, I think, without offering any guarantees.

"They get some game time if we need to draw on them but in a perfect world, Hayes and Clint Jones and Dawson and Gardiner will certainly be back next week with a view to Baker, potentially, the next week."

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said the third-placed Saints would be premiership contenders.

"They're right amongst, I reckon," he said.

"People are talking about Geelong and Collingwood but the Saints are a very, very good footy club.

"They're a side we think will go a fair way in September so for us to compete for as long as we did was a good effort. We're still disappointed to lose."

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