St Kilda taking care of business - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

St Kilda taking care of business

By Guy Hand 16/09/2010 06:36:35 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon admits he is proud of how his side has responded so far to the brutal ultimatum he delivered following their AFL grand final defeat last year.

Lyon told his players at the function after their loss to Geelong that if they couldn't lift their efforts for 2010, they should move on.

He also declared the Saints had "unfinished business" going into this season - something they have moved to address by marching to within one win of another grand final appearance.

Lyon said he was pleased with how the players had held up under a challenging season in which the team has been minus superstar Nick Riewoldt, and had several key players embroiled in the sacked Andrew Lovett's court case.

"We challenged everyone that you need to come back and do the work to give yourself an opportunity and as it sits, we've got an opportunity to go and play in a preliminary final," Lyon said on Thursday.

"The ability to step up, we've blooded a number of players ... I'm proud of a lot of things.

"But we're about trying to be a great team and to be a great team you've got to accept the challenges laid in front of you."

The Saints can book their shot at redemption by beating the Western Bulldogs in their preliminary final at the MCG on Saturday night.

Riewoldt believes he goes into the pointy end of the finals with a different mindset to last year and with mental freshness, having missed so much of the home-and-away season with his serious hamstring injury.

"Last year you're at the end of a long campaign," Riewoldt said.

"This year it does feel a little different probably mentally more than anything, having not played for a lot of the season and then all of a sudden playing in big finals.

"(Physically) I went into last year feeling pretty good and it's the same story this year.

"Once I played the first game and got that out of the way there hasn't been any concerns. It's just been a matter of building up."

Lyon is wary of the Bulldogs despite the feeling that they are undermanned with the loss of Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins for the season.

But they have rolled the dice with defender Dale Morris returning from a back injury - and he is set to get the job on Riewoldt.

"The Western Bulldogs were top four and I keep hearing that they're undermanned, but by my reckoning only (Adam) Cooney will miss and (Shaun) Higgins out of their best 22 theoretically," Lyon said.

"They're full of confidence after last week.

"We're really confident that our game plan stands up under the fiercest heat.

"We're fit and we're healthy and we're rested and we're ready to go."

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