Saints buoyed by Baker return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints buoyed by Baker return

By Robert Grant 01/09/2010 04:29:48 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda are confident provocative tagger Steven Baker can be effective immediately against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

Baker will waltz straight back into the side despite spending nine weeks on the sidelines courtesy of a harsh AFL Tribunal suspension.

The feisty on-baller was banned on charges of misconduct and striking after banging the broken hand of Geelong's Steve Johnson.

While he has been absent for more than two months, he will provide them with a major boost on Friday, according to small forward Adam Schneider.

"We really do need him in our team, Steve, he's such a great player and he doesn't leave anything out there so he's pretty important to us," Schneider said.

"If he can do a job for us I'm sure it will help us in the end of the game.

"Steve is one of those players who gives everything on the track. He's been training really, really hard.

"He shows the way he plays his footy that once he's out there he's just focused on a job and he's so well driven that when he does something he'll get it done.

"He's got a very addictive personality and once he gets on the field he'll just let nothing beat him."

Meanwhile, midfielder Lenny Hayes says the club is undaunted by the prospect of tackling a side that has won two of the past three premierships.

"I think it's really exciting for this group," Hayes said. "You obviously want to test yourself against the best and that's where we see Geelong.

"We've got a lot of respect for them and every time we've played them in the last couple of years they've been really good games - really physical and tough - and they've gone right to the wire."

While St Kilda won their last meeting, in round 13, it is last year's grand final loss to the Cats which will spur them.

"I think every player would draw on it at some point," Hayes said. "You'd like to think when games are getting tough and tight you could draw on those feelings and use it to your advantage.

Hayes has predicted a close tussle if predicted wet conditions for the match eventuate but says they would be unlikely to favour either side.

"Geelong would see themselves going into the game confident if it's going to be wet as well," Hayes said.

"If anything, usually the games are a little bit closer, a lot of tackling, a lot of contested footy and most of the games we've played against Geelong are in that vein anyway."

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