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Dal Santo determined to lift in replay

By Greg Buckle 28/09/2010 06:49:41 PM Comments (0)

Nick Dal Santo admits he was "hesitant" in last week's drawn grand final because of a hamstring injury.

But he's over that now and determined to lift for Saturday's AFL grand final replay against Collingwood.

The two-time All-Australian knows he can do much better than his 18-possession game last week and Saints coach Ross Lyon has already told him so.

Lyon's stinging criticism of Dal Santo on television on Sunday didn't reach the star midfielder until Tuesday, when the coach did some straight talking.

"I had a chat to him today and he was really positive," Dal Santo said before Tuesday's open training session at Moorabbin.

"I told him where I was at and he told me where I needed to improve for the club. Hopefully, I can do that this weekend.

"I feel 100 per cent, no doubt. I'll train today and I'll be running at full pace and it will be good to go.

"If I pull up sore, so be it. But I have no hesitation in sprinting.

"I was just a bit hesitant (last Saturday). From the word go, I wasn't sprinting.

"But I feel better for it now. I'm feeling really good, compared to this time last week probably even better.

"I was disappointed with my game at the weekend, but I feel like this has given me another opportunity to have a go at it.

"Looking back on it, yeah I may have been a bit cautious.

"I feel like (Norm Smith Medallist Lenny Hayes) and a few of the other boys gave us the opportunity to play again.

"There's a lot of guys at our club who can give a bit more come this weekend so I'm thankful for the opportunity again."

The news was mixed for Saints ruckman Michael Gardiner.

The two-time grand final loser (West Coast 2005 and St Kilda 2009) was restricted to stationary handball drills at training on Tuesday and is almost certain to miss the replay because of a hamstring strain.

However AFL chief Andrew Demetriou says players from the winning team will get a premiership medallion this week, whether they played in one or both of this year's grand finals.

"The AFL deciding whether to give medals out to players who played (last weekend), I think that's a good idea," Saints winger Leigh Montagna said when asked about Gardiner.

"There's hard-luck stories for both teams."

Hayes says Gardiner, who spent the second half of Saturday's game on the bench, is still some hope to back up.

"I don't think he's been ruled out as yet. Gardi and myself don't tend to do too much on the first training session of the week," Hayes said.

"I think they're going to give him every opportunity to get up for the game so well have a closed training session on Thursday so I think they'll wait until then."

Zac Dawson, Justin Koschitzke and Hayes jogged laps at training away from the main group.

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