St Kilda's Dempster vies for AFL GF spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

St Kilda's Dempster vies for AFL GF spot

By Greg Buckle 20/09/2010 07:29:15 PM Comments (0)

It's not quite killing Bambi, but Sean Dempster's grand final week is going to be "awkward" as he competes for a spot in St Kilda's backline with club favourite Steven Baker.

Baker, the veteran hard man who was handed a nine-match suspension in round 13, has been overlooked by the Saints for the qualifying final and preliminary final.

"I suppose you can feel a little bit awkward, especially when you're replacing someone of Steven Baker's calibre," Dempster said on Monday.

"But in saying that it's probably something I tend not to think about too much otherwise it would do my head in a little bit.

"I'm never confident (of selection). I go into every Thursday crossing my fingers."

Dempster was fortunate enough to play in a premiership team with Sydney in his debut AFL season in 2005 and was also part of losing grand final sides for the Swans the following year and for the Saints last season, as a late replacement for Robert Eddy.

"It's a big occasion and fortunately for me but unfortunately for Rob last year I came in very late and was able to take part in the grand final," said Dempster, whose 12 games this season lift his career tally to 94.

I obviously felt for him (Eddy). It's not a great feeling to happen to anyone."

St Kilda's only flag was in 1966 and ex-Swans Dempster and Adam Schneider are the only premiership players in St Kilda's squad this week.

"With my first one I'd only played 20-odd games so it was a bit of a whirlwind," Dempster said.

"Now I'm lucky enough to play in a few more (grand finals) so with that comes a little bit more experience and I'm a bit more relaxed this weekend."

As the weeks tick by, the challenge for Baker to come back into the side and play well in a grand final after missing half a season seems massive.

But St Kilda team-mate and 2010 All-Australian Brendon Goddard says Baker, 30, is held in very high esteem at Moorabbin.

"Bakes has been an integral part of our team for 10 years now," Goddard said on Monday.

"The first one you'd go to war with would be Bakes.

"It's going to be a tough decision for the match committee to make."

Dempster joined the Saints in 2008, accepting a lifeline from coach Ross Lyon who was an assistant at the Swans before getting the top job at St Kilda in 2007.

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