Saints will be ready, says Hayes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints will be ready, says Hayes

By Roger Vaughan 19/09/2010 07:24:48 PM Comments (0)

Lenny Hayes has rejected Rodney Eade's claim that their bruising preliminary final might count against St Kilda in the AFL grand final.

The Saints pulled away from Eade's Western Bulldogs in the third term on Saturday night to win by 24 points and reach their second-straight premiership decider.

A year after losing an epic grand final to Geelong, the Saints will start outsiders against minor premiers Collingwood.

Eade conceded that the Saints' famed ability to deny the opposition clean ball use gave them a chance against the Magpies.

But he also wondered whether fierce physical nature of Saturday night's match might take the edge off the Saints.

"It was just one of those games, it was a really tough contest, there will be a few sore boys," Hayes said on Sunday.

"But Collingwood would probably be no different, it's just like any other game, it always takes you a day or two to get over it.

"It was probably a really good foundation going into this week ... it was really tough and physical and we'll take a lot of positives out of the result."

Saints captain Nick Riewoldt had a nasty-looking head clash with team-mate Justin Koschitzke, but starred in the decisive third term as his team won 13.10 (88) to 8.16 (64).

The bigger concerns for the Saints would be Nick Dal Santo (lower back/hamstring) and Jason Gram (groin).

Hayes said the pair had pulled up well and Dal Santo was buoyant on Sunday.

"I'm right to go, I ran out the game, I could have kept going if they really wanted me to," Dal Santo told Channel Nine.

But Eade said Saturday's match could become a grand final issue for the Saints.

"If anyone can stifle Collingwood, it will be St Kilda," Eade said.

"But what the concern is, and what it would have been for us next week, is the attrition rate of (last night).

"They have some sore bodies and they had two or three of their key players off at some stage, seeking medical assistance.

"Both teams were running a bit empty at the end.

"That's the main rider, how physically fit they are and how they recover."

Another big issue for the Saints this week will be whether to recall tough defender Steven Baker.

He has not played since round 13, when he received a nine-game suspension.

"If anyone can, Bakes can - the most mentally tough, hard player that I've ever seen and ever played with," Hayes said.

"I don't envy the coaches at all this week.

"What I do know is if he does come into the team, he'll do his job."

Collingwood blew away reigning premiers Geelong in the first half in Friday night's preliminary final and led by 81 points on the way to an easy 41-point win.

The 18.12 (120) to 11.13 (79) win confirmed the Magpies' favouritism as they aim for their first premiership since 1990.

Their major concern is midfielder Luke Ball, who left the field with hamstring soreness.

TAB Sportsbet are quoting Collingwood at $1.45 and the Saints at $2.65 as the Saints chase their first premiership since beating the Magpies by a point in the famous 1966 grand final.

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