Saints thrive on adversity - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints thrive on adversity

By Greg Buckle 05/09/2010 06:52:34 PM Comments (0)

A little adversity goes a long way for St Kilda, galvanising the Saints in their pursuit of the AFL premiership which so nearly went their way last year.

Midfield wrecking ball Lenny Hayes says no one gave them any chance of upsetting Geelong in last Friday night's qualifying final and that's fine by them.

Mid-season dramas over skipper Nick Riewoldt's hamstring surgery, a court case involving sacked Saint Andrew Lovett and a nine-match suspension for provocative tagger Steven Baker haven't helped St Kilda's cause.

Or have they?

"We have had a lot more adversity with a few injuries and a few other things going on," Hayes told Channel Seven on Sunday.

"It probably has galvanised the group. We've always had that self-belief that if we play our best footy we can compete with anyone.

"That was proven on Friday night," added Hayes, who launched a huge bump into the shoulder of Cats hard man Paul Chapman in the dramatic four-point win which set up a weekend off and a preliminary final berth.

"Not a lot of people gave us a lot of hope going into Friday night and we came away with a win."

The fact the win came against their 2009 grand final conquerors made it even sweeter for the Saints, who now face a tricky selection decision on whether to recall Baker, who hasn't played since June 25.

"If it's possible for anyone (to perform well in a final after a long layoff), Stevie Baker's the man who can do it," Hayes said.

"He's so mentally strong. He's the toughest guy I've ever seen play the game."

Baker was due to return on Friday night but was a late withdrawal from the selected side.

"He's really fit at the moment. He trained really well yesterday," Hayes said of Baker, who is recovering from a broken toe suffered during his nine-match ban.

"I think he'll be available for selection. It's just going to come down to match-ups and team balance.

"We just keep going about our business, keep trying to improve our footy and hopefully it can take us deep into September."

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